How to Run a Swim-a-Thon Fundraiser
Swim-a-thons are extremely effective fundraisers since they benefit both your school and the participants. Swimmers get to stay active while supporting a good cause, whether it’s their school, extra-curricular, or club.
This page outlines the A-Z of swim-a-thons, including planning, tracking donations, and tips for organizing and promoting the fundraiser.
Table of Contents
What is an "A-Thon" & How Does it Work?
An “a-thon” can be a powerful fundraising tool (and a lot of fun, too!)
Swim-a-Thon Templates, Tools, & Resources
See how FutureFund makes managing swim-a-thon pledges effortless.
Start Your Swim-a-Thon With FutureFund
Our integrated pledge campaign fundraising tool allows you to collect donations (via cash, debit, or credit) and easily manage fundraising progress. Get started for free.
Swim-a-Thon 101: A Quick Guide
What is a Swim-a-Thon?
A swim-a-thon is a straightforward type of a-thon. It works similarly to any running fundraising event, except you’re swimming instead of running.
For PTAs, they’re simple organize, since all you need is a pool or body of water. For participants, they’re a bit more original than standard walk-a-thons or jog-a-thons.
How does a swim-a-thon work?
Like other types of a-thon fundraisers, swim-a-thons use a peer-to-peer fundraising model. Participants sign up for the swim-a-thon and ask their friends, family, and coworkers (or their parents’ coworkers) for support through donations.
Each swimmer participates in the swim-a-thon in exchange for the donations. The swim-a-thon itself is a set amount of swimming, either laps in a pool or a set distance in a body of water.
How long is a swim-a-thon?
Swim-a-thons are extremely customizable, which is one of the great things about them. You can choose the date, distance, theme, and more.
When choosing the distance, you’ll want to think about who is participating. An elementary school fundraiser, for example, should be on the shorter side. For a junior high or high school, you can make the distance longer.
When should you hold a swim-a-thon?
Swim-a-thons work for any time of year. In the colder months, you can hold them inside at a local pool. In the warmer months, you can hold them outside at a lake, pond, or ocean.
What do people need to participate?
Swim-a-thons require that participants be strong swimmers. That said, you can customize the distance and make it as easy or as hard as you like.To make the tournament as fair as possible, you should create some general rules for teams. Some factors to consider include:
- Number of players
For example, if the teams are open to all ages, you should make sure every team has a similar amount of children. So you can make a rule saying each team needs at least 2 players age 12 or under.
Are swim-a-thons good fundraisers?
Swim-a-thons make great fundraisers. They’re relatively easy to plan while being an original fundraiser idea.
What is an "A Thon"?
A Thon's Are Fun & Effective Event-Based Fundraisers
An “a-thon” is a peer-to-peer style fundraiser that involves participating in a certain activity and gathering donations for participating in said activity.
The activity can be almost anything, from reading to running to bowling. No matter what activity you choose, the premise is the same. Participants commit to doing the activity (reading a certain amount of books, running a certain distance) and ask their friends, family, and coworkers to support them.
A-thons work great because you reach a huge donor pool through peer-to-peer fundraising. People are also more likely to donate since participants are “working” in return for the donations.
What Do You Need to Run a Swim-a-Thon?
Use FutureFund to Power It
FutureFund’s built-in pledge campaigns allow you to easily collect money and keep donations organized. Since parents cover payment processing fees, 100% of the funds raised go to your school!
Easy for Everyone
Any good fundraiser needs to be easy to plan, participate in, and most importantly, get donations. FutureFund makes planning and running a swim-a-thon as easy as possible.
Instead of dealing with paper pledge forms and cash and cheques, take the process online. Donors can donate instantly online with their credit or debit cards.
Always know how the fundraiser is going. Easily view how much money has been raised and more with detailed reporting.
Using a Swim-a-Thon for Fundraising
Managing & Organizing Pledges
Each student will sign up as a participant in the fundraiser. Then, they can collect pledges individually by credit or debit card. These pledges will be recorded in FutureFund and will count towards the student’s total and the grand total for the fundraiser.
Paperwork & Donor Payment Management
It’s easy for students to sign up, especially if their information is already in the system. You can bulk sign up entire grades or classes.
All donor payments are automatically entered into the system, so you can instantly see each student’s total and the grand total.
Using FutureFund to Accept Online Donations
Donors don’t need to have cash or a checkbook handy to donate. They can easily donate through an emailable donation link and pay by credit or debit card. Any cash donations can also be noted in the system to be collected later.
Swim-a-Thon Goals & Rules
The main thing you have to plan for a swim-a-thon is the length or your route. Consider how accessible you want the event to be.
Typically, the shorter the distance, the more people who will be able to participate. You can make your swim-a-thon anywhere from 25 yards to 250 yards, which is 1 to 10 pool laps in most community pools.
Your swim-a-thon will have a pre-determined length, so the swimming goal for participants should be to complete the distance or number of laps.
If you want the swim-a-thon to be open to more people, you can allow participants to use swim aids. This can include things like floaties, flippers, and flutter boards.
Recommended Starting Rules
Follow these steps for a successful swim-a-thon:
Before you start telling students and parents about the swim-a-thon, you should decide the following:
Hold the swim-a-thon on a weekend, either Saturday on Sunday.
Because swim-a-thons work best on the weekend, tell people about the fundraiser at least 1 month in advance, so they can add it to their schedule.
Choose a distance between 1 and 10 laps.
Give participants ample time to complete the swim. If you’re using a pool, you’ll need to plan swim times for each participant.
Swim-a-Thon Templates & Resources
Sample Swim-a-Thon Event Description
Unsure of where to start? Use this sample student and parent messaging to get the ball rolling!
Set Up Online Pledges With FutureFund
Let parents and supporters donate online with FutureFund’s online pledges. Try it out for free!
Swim-a-Thon Theme Ideas
You can’t go wrong with a sea animals theme for a swim-a-thon. Participants can dress up as their favorite aquatic animals like fish, dolphins, or sharks.
For a fantasy theme, participants can dress up as fantasy sea creatures. Mermaids, Poseidon, The Kraken, and more.
You can do a swim-a-thon at any time of year and match it with upcoming holidays. In the fall, for example, you can do a zombie or monster swim for Halloween.
Swimming is one of the most popular events in the summer Olympics. For this theme, swimmers can dress up as Olympians and represent their country.
For this theme, anything goes! Get participants to add the wackiest, tackiest, and craziest accessories to their swimsuits.
Find Other Fundraiser
Ideas & Guides
How To Run a Move-a-Thon Fundraiser
Move-a-Thon fundraisers are great ways to be active together. See how a move-a-thon works in our fundraiser guide.
How To Run a Chess-a-Thon Fundraiser
Chess-a-Thon fundraisers are great ways to raise money & play games together. See how a chess-a-thon works in our in-depth guide.
How to Run a Volleyball Serve-a-Thon Fundraiser
Volleyball serve-a-Thon fundraisers are great ways to raise money & work together while also being active. See how a serve-a-thon works in our in-depth guide.
How to Run a Jump-a-Thon Fundraiser
Jump-a-Thon fundraisers are great ways to raise money while also being active. See how a jump-a-thon works & what you’ll need to run one in our in-depth guide.
How to Run a Spell-a-Thon Fundraiser
Spell-a-Thon fundraisers are great ways to raise money while also practicing academics. See how a spell-a-thon works & what you’ll need to run one here.
How to Run a Math-a-Thon Fundraiser
Math-a-Thon fundraisers are great ways to raise money while also practicing academics. See how a math-a-thon works & what you’ll need to run one in our guide.
Sample Swim-a-Thon Rules
To participate in the swim-a-thon, you sign up through FutureFund by [date]. The swim-a-thon is on [date], so make sure you block it off in your calendar! And don’t forget to tell your family that you’re fundraising, so they can donate (ask your parents for help, so they can ask their friends and coworkers too!).
All donations will be collected through FutureFund through this link: [link].
Sample Swim-a-Thon Event Description
Let’s make a splash! On [date], [school name] will be hosting a swim-a-thon to help fundraise for [cause]. You can help by joining our swim! Parents, each student will be collecting pledges online through FutureFund: [link]. Please spread the word to your family, friends, and coworkers to help make this fundraiser a success!
Set Up Online Pledges With FutureFund
Make your donation easily and instantly! Click this [link] to make your donation through secure credit or debit card payment.
If you prefer to donate by cash or check, just donate directly to the student you’re supporting. Thank you for your support!