Dunk Tank

It's difficult to beat the thrill and satisfaction of throwing a softball as hard as possible in order to dunk someone in a tank of water — it's a lot of fun to do and a great way to raise money in any location, particularly during the summertime.

If your group already has access to a dunk tank or you've used one at other events then you're all set. If you don't have one, they are available to rent (ask the rental agency to see if any discount might be available as a favor to your charity). Once acquired, a dunk tank can be positioned just about anywhere that sees a lot of passing foot traffic — this will help draw people in to have a go at throwing a few balls for a small fee.

You might want to speak to local businesses about setting up the dunk tank in front of their offices for a day. Try movie theaters, malls, big box stores, home improvement stores, restaurants and so on. One useful way of drumming up support for your fundraiser is to speak to a pool supply store or boat dealership about hosting your event on their grounds — what better way to get people thinking about swimming pools and boating than by watching participants splash around in the water?

Wherever you have your event, you're going to require reliable access to a water source to keep the tank filled and topped up (remember water will get splashed out through the day). Organize a group of volunteers for collecting money, giving out the softballs, and generally encouraging people passing by to have a go. If possible, rent out a party tent so that some shade is provided for your volunteers.

Of course you're also going to need some people who are ready to be dunked. Brightly colored, funky outfits can be worn by participants, who are allowed to heckle (in good fun!) everyone who has a go at dunking them. Check that there are plenty of towels on hand so that your volunteers aren't cold, wet and shivering when they're not in the tank — you should probably switch them around every thirty minutes or so. Happy dunking!

They're an icon at fairs, carnivals and fundraisers — dunk tanks. Test your luck and toss a softball. If you're skilled enough or lucky enough, you'll drop someone into a tub of water, to the delight of the surrounding crowd. A properly run dunk tank can be an incredibly lucrative fundraiser, especially if you put a much-beloved or much-maligned figure in the tank. How can you do a dunk tank fundraiser safely, making the most of the attraction while keeping everyone involved from harm?

Make Sure They Can Swim

The size of your dunk tank can vary dramatically depending on your setup, from a small tank that's only three feet deep to massive tanks where the dunkee will have to tread water to stay afloat. Regardless of the size and depth of your dunk tank, make sure all your participants can swim and are comfortable in the water. Dunk tanks should be fun for everyone. Don't capitalize on someone's discomfort to bring in new players. Keep any non-swimmers away from the tank at all times.

Dunk Tank Diving

Don't Let Anyone Stand on the Seat

Dunk tanks are one part skill game, one part interactive game. The person in the tank might playfully taunt the person throwing softballs at the target. Don't let standing on the seat become part of the taunting. These seats drop straight out from under people, dumping them into the water tank. If you allow people to stand on the seat, they could pitch forward and hit their head on the edge of the tank, creating a drowning risk if they knock themselves unconscious. Don't ever allow anyone to stand on the seat.

Have the Right Equipment

You'll always want to make sure your dunk targets are wearing proper attire before getting into the tank. Make sure they're wearing clothes they don't mind getting wet and non-slip shoes that will provide traction even when soaked. Offer goggles for those getting dunked to help keep the water out of their eyes. Pick a colorful set of goggles and make it part of the attraction. You can even give them a snorkel and flippers to add to the aesthetic.

Don't Leave the Tank Unattended

Dunk tanks can hold upwards of 500 gallons of water at a time. Don't ever abandon a filled tank, especially if there are children or non-swimmers around. An unattended tank creates a drowning hazard, and in addition to being a tragedy, it creates a liability for your fundraiser. If you find yourself unable to supervise the tank for any length of time, drain it to make sure it's safe for anyone nearby.

Mind the Weather

It might seem silly to shut down your dunk tank when it's raining — people in the tank are going to get wet anyway — but you must keep an eye on the weather. It's vital to do so if there's a thunderstorm in the forecast, because water and lightning are a dangerous combination. Plus, no one is going to want to come out and throw balls at a target if they're going to get wet doing it. If the weather is looking poor, consider rescheduling your fundraiser to keep everyone safe and dry.

Dunk Tank Launch Ball

Stay Away From Electricity

Lightning isn't the only source of electricity you need to be mindful of when you're setting up your dunk tank. Keep all sources of power away from the tank and your targets. Most dunk tanks are purely mechanical — the trigger and seat mechanisms don't require any power — so you won't need to plug anything in. Keep extension cords, lights and other electrical tools away from the tank to prevent possible electrocution, both of the person in the tank and anyone who is standing on wet ground in the surrounding area.

Pick the Perfect Targets

Here is where you'll make the most money for your fundraiser — by picking targets people want to dunk!  Choose people your audience loves or loves to hate. People in positions of authority, like a boss, teacher or school principal, make good choices, because who doesn't want to dunk a powerful figure when they've got the chance? The targets you choose will make or break your fundraiser.

Don't Make It Rigged

Almost everyone knows carnival games are usually rigged — it looks like you've got a chance, but the games take your money without giving you anything in return. Don't make it rigged. If you've got someone people want to dunk, they'll keep getting in line for another chance to dump them in the water, but if they're still dry after a long period, your participants will start to feel like the fix is in and stop trying their luck. One good rule of thumb is to have two throw lines — one for adults, and a closer one for children who might not be able to throw as hard.

Keep Everyone Comfortable

Finally, make it a point to keep everyone comfortable. After getting dunked repeatedly in a tank of cold water, people will start to shiver. Swap out your volunteers every 30 minutes or so, and keep plenty of towels on hand so they can dry off. Even if they're going back in the tank later, no one wants to walk around in dripping, sodden clothes while they're enjoying the rest of the fundraiser.

Have Fun and Get Dunked!

Whether you're raising money for a school, a nonprofit or some other organization, a dunk tank can be a phenomenal tool for fundraising. Make your event as safe as possible, both for the people in the tank and anyone trying to dump them in the water. There is something inherently satisfying about seeing someone you look up to — or someone you dislike — dropped into cold water after you hit a target with a softball. Making sure everything is kosher can turn this entertaining pastime into a lucrative fundraising opportunity.

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