5 Tried-and-True Tips for Hosting a Successful Dance-a-Thon

A dance-a-thon is a useful and entertaining fundraising idea.

A-thon-style events have the potential to bring in significant fundraising dollars for any organization that takes them on. Whether you’re choosing to host a walk-a-thon, a hit-a-thon, or (our favorite!) a dance-a-thon, these sports fundraisers are fun and engaging events for your entire community.

At DanceStudio-Pro, we’re passionate about all things dance-related—including dance-a-thon fundraisers! That’s why we’ve put together this quick guide to help fundraising organizations bring their dance fundraisers to the next level. 

Specifically, we recommend that you take the following steps in preparation for your upcoming dance-a-thon:

  • Invest in the right software.
  • Assist fundraisers in securing pledges.
  • Determine whether it’s in-person or virtual.
  • Partner with local businesses.
  • Provide choreography for the event.

These tips range in scope from equipping your team with the right resources to ensuring effective student management—basically everything you’ll need to pull off a successful event. Ready to dive into each specific dance-a-thon best practice? Let’s get started!

1. Invest in the right software.

Just like the right dance studio software is important for running successful and well-managed dance classes, it’s a good idea to invest in top-notch pledge fundraising software ahead of planning your big dance-a-thon event.

Here are a few key considerations to keep in mind when making your software purchasing decisions:

  • Individual participant pages: Each dancer in your dance-a-thon should have their own individual donation page to share with family and friends, rather than a single page branded to your organization. Then, it should be quick and easy for participants to customize their pages to share their personal connections to the campaign and really make it their own. 
  • Easy giving experience: It should be quick and intuitive for donors to support your campaign—both while making the initial pledge and submitting the follow-up payment after the event. 
  • Low fees: For example, 99Pledges offers no startup or platform fees, collecting only an industry-standard processing fee of 2.9% + $0.30/transaction. This way, you’ll get to keep the bulk of your fundraising revenue for your mission.

Effective pledge software has been known to bring in more than 300% of your typical fundraising revenue. Make sure you do your research before choosing your solution to ensure you end up with a top provider that meets your biggest needs.

2. Assist fundraisers in securing pledges.

If you’ve ever hosted a dance-a-thon (or even its cousin, the walk-a-thon), you know that encouraging participants to solicit and collect pledges can be the most difficult part of your campaign. 

This can be especially true if your fundraiser caters to children. Of course, younger participants will likely obtain assistance from their parents for securing donations, but it’s important to do what you can to help them out as well. Here are a few ideas:

  • Provide assistance for setting up and personalizing individual donation pages. When you choose a top software provider, this should already be a fairly simple process. However, it’s a good idea to have a team of eager volunteers willing to help out anyone who has questions or trouble getting their page up and running.
  • Equip participants with social media, email, and text message templates. Once individuals have their personalized online donation pages ready to go, provide them with customizable templates to use when soliciting donations. This way, even if it’s Little Susie’s first time fundraising, she’ll know exactly what to say to Grandma to get her on board with the fundraiser.
  • Incorporate gamification elements to further encourage participation. Sometimes fundraisers need a little extra motivation to maximize their efforts. As the fundraising organizer, you might want to provide enticing prizes for top fundraisers, foster healthy competition between participants, and leverage fundraising thermometers and leaderboards to track progress throughout the campaign.

And when it comes time to actually collect those pledges after the event, it’s important to take a strategic and regulated approach. According to Snowball’s guide to pledge fundraising, “A standardized script for letters, emails, and phone calls will yield better results than an ad hoc or individualized process.” 

3. Determine whether it’s in-person or virtual.

Many fundraising ideas, including school-specific ones, can be held both online and in-person, depending on your preference.

While many organizations are hesitant to host in-person fundraising events at the moment, this guide explains how transitioning your fundraisers to the virtual sphere offers a fantastic alternative that still allows you to raise critical funds. Still, some schools are beginning to host in-person events once again, taking social distancing and other critical health guidelines into consideration during the planning process.

For an in-person event, participants (and viewers) gather in a physical location such as a dance studio, gymnasium, or park. For a virtual one, however, participants (and viewers) tune in from their chosen location using real-time live-streaming software and dance on their own. 

Even further, some fundraisers might choose to take a hybrid approach, meaning they’ll incorporate elements from both in-person and virtual events into their plans. In this scenario, you might host an in-person dance-a-thon while allowing other participants to join in the fun from home.

4. Partner with local businesses.

Partnering with businesses in your area is a great way to get some additional support for your upcoming fundraising event to supplement individual donations. Plus, these businesses might be looking for new ways to get involved in corporate philanthropy—a key aspect of corporate social responsibility. That means it’s a win-win!

Here are a few types of companies you might want to look into for partnerships:

  • Dance studios: Dance studios can make some of the best partners for dance-a-thons. For one thing, they likely have a number of dance-loving participants who will be inclined to volunteer to support your fundraising efforts. Your local dance studio might also be willing to donate free or discounted dance lessons as a prize to motivate top fundraisers!
  • Grocery stores: Grocery stores and other food-related businesses might be willing to provide your fundraiser with in-kind donations of water bottles and snacks. That way, you can make sure your participants stay hydrated and keep their energy up throughout the event without having to eat into your own fundraising revenue to do so.
  • Small businesses: You don’t want to exclude businesses from your potential list of partners just because they don’t fall into one of the above categories. Other businesses might be just as excited to contribute to your fundraiser, especially if they have distinct ties in the local community. Consider partnering with restaurants, shops, and other local vendors for prizes, sponsorships, and other agreements.

When exploring potential business partnerships be sure that there is a two-way transaction of value for both ends of the agreement. For example, you could accept donations (both monetary and in-kind) from local businesses, and offer them premium advertising opportunities in return.

5. Provide choreography for the event.

This is something that not every dance-a-thon has, but it’s a tried-and-true way to bring your fundraiser to the next level. By providing choreography for dancers to follow during the event, you can ensure an engaging, enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

Creating choreography is an important part of a great dance-a-thon.

If you’re partnering with a local dance organization for your dance-a-thon fundraiser, they’ll likely have some top-notch resources to assist with creating choreography for the event. For example, a dance studio mobile app, such as from DanceStudio-Pro, can provide access to an easy-to-use, comprehensive choreography store. Then, all you need to do is choose your favorite moves and get started!

With these top tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to hosting a profitable and effective fundraising event for your organization. Once you have the tools you’ll need, you can incorporate each of these best practices into your overall fundraising strategy. Before you know it, you’ll have pulled off a successful dance-a-thon fundraiser. Good luck!

About the Author

Tiffany Bellah, Dance Studio-Pro

Tiffany has been involved in the dance world at many levels – as a dancer, a dance mom, a studio manager, a virtual assistant to studio owners and now as the Customer Service Manager for Dance Studio Pro. She is the mother of 4 and lives in Southern California where she enjoys working remotely to support the users of the World’s Best Dance Studio Software. 

A decade ago, when her girls wanted to dance competitively she went to the studio owner to offer her skills in administration and knack for setting up and managing apps that would make that Studio Owner’s life easier. 

After researching all the options she discovered DSP and became an expert user – fast forward to the present, she has been with the company for a year and a half and she is thrilled to be a part of the constant improvements in technology that help us all connect around the art of dance.