Hold an “A-Thon”

What it’s all about

Put simply, an “a-thon” is anything you want it to be! Whether it’s a dance-a-thon, sing-a-thon or even a hula-hoop-a-thon, these events are all about pulling people together for a good time and a great cause.

An “a-thon” works by having participants perform an activity for an extended period of time or until they achieve a set goal (i.e., dancing for four hours straight or reading 10 books). Before they undertake that challenge, participants raise money by having friends, family or colleagues sponsor them for the event. So the more people who participate in the event, the more money you’ll raise!

Here are a few “a-thon” ideas that may work for you:

  • Walk-a-thon
  • Skip-a-thon
  • Read-a-thon
  • Bowl-a-thon
  • Swim-a-thon
  • Dance-a-thon
  • Hula-hoop-a-thon
  • Bake-a-thon
  • Sing-a-thon (or karaoke-a-thon)
  • Skate-a-thon
  • Boardgame-a-thon
  • Yo-yo-a-thon

Why it’s great

  • Everyone loves an “a-thon” because they can be anything you want them to be – and can involve almost any activity you can think of.
  • It allows people to participate either on their own or within teams.
  • It’s easy! People are familiar with “a-thons” so they tend to understand the concept right away.
  • It can become an annual event that participants can look forward to, and can grow year after year. 
  • It can create a great sense of community in your neighbourhood, workplace or school.

How to plan it

Here are a few things to consider that could make planning your “a-thon” event easier:

  • You’ll need to promote the “a-thon” in order to get participants to sign up. Your promotion could be something simple, like putting up posters or sending out emails, or it could be much larger in scale, like getting the word out to the media.
  • You’ll probably want to create a standard template form that participants can use to record pledges and information for tax receipting, including the donor’s full name, address and the amount they’ve donated.
  • It’s a good idea to ask your participants to collect donations from supporters at the time the individual commits to making the donation, rather than having to go back to them later to collect the money. 
  • If you’re holding a big event for your “a-thon” you’ll want to consider whether your venue has access to amenities like washrooms and food.
  • You may want to look for sponsors for the event who can help cover the costs of renting the venue or printing materials.

Need more help organizing your event? Visit our Planning and Promoting Your Fundraiser page.