School Fun Runs

A school Fun Run or lap-a-thon is an easy whole of school fundraiser that can raise lots of money, but also promotes healthy activity. Lap-a-thons are ideal fundraisers for remote or rural schools, as the fundraising can be done entirely online. 

In a Nutshell

Fundraising Idea: lap-a-thon where students are sponsored for every lap they run of a pre-determined course during a defined period of time

Suitable for: Kindys/Pre-school, Primary schools, High schools, sports clubs, remote or rural schools

Profits: 60% of all money raised kept as cash, 30% goes towards student prizes

School Fun Runs

A Fun Run is a classic school fundraising event where children are sponsored to run as many laps as they can during a set time. The benefits are two-fold – raising funds and encouraging healthy activity. Fun Runs are popular because no selling is required, it’s over in an afternoon, and there is usually a very high level of support from parents.

Each child taking part in the Fun Run individually approaches family and friends to sponsor them for a set amount for every lap they run. The school can choose to have the Fun Run during school hours (recommended) or outside of school hours. At the end of the Run, the number of laps each child has run is added up, and their sponsors pay them based on that final number.

To learn more about the exciting new fundraising idea ‘The Big Show’ introduced in 2020, and which can make over $100,000 click here.


New alternatives to the standard Fun Run

School Fundraising now offers three alternatives to the original Fun Run – Community Day, Splash’n’Dash and Colour Day, all of which come with the same level of service and assistance.

You can also be creative when it comes to adding a theme to a Fun Run, and some of the great alternatives suggested by School Fundraising include a fancy dress theme, a walk-a-thon, turning it into an obstacle course or even making the kids dance instead of run.

How much can we make?

There is no limit to the amount a motivated student can raise with a Fun Run, and being a small school is not a disadvantage. In 2018, the top 100 schools performing Fun Run schools raised an average of $32,000. St Patrick’s College in NSW raised over $90,000 in 2018 with only 360 kids.

Schools keep 60% of funds raised, while 30% goes towards student prizes.


How much does it cost to hold a School Fun Run?

Holding a Fun Run with School Fundraising has no upfront costs, and therefore there is no chance you will lose money on the event.

At the conclusion of the event, two invoices are raised by School Fundraising: 10% (plus GST) of the total which covers all the support and promotional materials and staffing costs, and 30% (plus GST) to cover the cost of student incentives and prizes.

The remaining 60% of the total raised is kept by the school. Schools should be eligible to claim back the GST paid. Check with your School Accountant. This is important to keep in mind, as schools can usually claim back GST but P&Cs might not be able to.

What do you get for your money?

The 10% of the money raised which goes towards the fee ensures that your event is backed by the experience (30+ years of doing Fun Runs in Australia) of the School Fundraising team. Their goal is to make the event easy and stress-free for organisers and engaging for the kids.

The support package provided by School Fundraising is comprehensive and includes:

  • A full-time Fundraising Coach who will be available before and during the event to answer any questions and provide support
  • Full-colour sponsorship forms, promotional posters, co-ordinators guide and teachers kits
  • Pre-written letters to be sent to parents, media releases, newsletter articles and scripts for assembly
  • Access to the online Event Management System which can be used to track progress and order prizes
  • Help using the online fundraising program Everyday Heroes so that each student can have their own personal fundraising page (make sure you tick the ‘yes to online fundraising’ box when you register)
  • Participation prizes for all students plus top-quality incentive prizes.

Why do we need incentive prizes?

Prizes excite students – and the more money they raise, the bigger and better the prizes they are eligible for. Raising even $10 enables kids to be eligible for a prize. Because students are able to see what prizes each level of fundraising is eligible for before they start, they are able to set their own sponsorship and reading goals. Using the Everyday Hero website, they are able to track their own fundraising efforts and see what more is required to reach their goal. Many of the prizes are STEM-based and include items such as science and magic kits, balls and stationery, speakers and construction kits all the way up to Samsung Smart Phones and Xboxes for kids who raise over $1,000.

Prizes can now be ordered online by the students themselves after the fun run is over.


How does Online Fundraising Work?

Part of the package is providing support for your school to use the online fundraising platform Everyday Hero (check out my article here for more information about Everyday Hero for schools). Students who raise funds online can raise up to six times as much as those who don’t, as it allows students to reach out to family, friends and networks well beyond the local community. This is beneficial for schools in remote areas as it widens the pool of potential sponsors.

Students are able to create their own profile page which allows them to set their fundraising target and track their own progress.

It should be noted that there are some costs associated with using Everyday Hero – approximately 6.5% of the money raised goes towards the costs of maintaining and running the site, and all appropriate credit card fees are also passed on to sponsors.

Worth considering

The costs associated with running online fundraising is more than offset by the fact that schools raise significantly more money than relying on cash donations and sponsorship. In 2018, more than $6million of the $8million raised by schools doing Fun Runs came in online, and that is a lot of coins that mums and dads didn’t have to count.

Fun Runs can be held by any sized school in any Australian state. You should register your school at least five weeks before your planned start date (allow an extra week in WA for materials to arrive). This provides a couple of weeks to familiarise everyone with the materials, online sites and to promote the event and two to three weeks to fundraise.

National Health and Physical Education Day in Australia is typically in mid-September (in 2019 it is 12th September) and the Fun Run is a great event to tie in. Register early.

Author: Shannon Meyerkort

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