Cutting A Rug With A Fundraising Dance

Break out those blue suede shoes—it's time to work up a sweat with a 24-hour dance-a-thon fundraiser. A dance marathon fundraiser calls to mind the sock-hopping teens from the 1950s and 1960s. Well, dance marathons are still very popular around the country, and they are an excellent way for schools and youth groups, and even adults, to raise money for their teams and organizations.

This high-energy fundraiser is one that most teens will be excited about. If your school only holds one large fundraiser, a dance-a-thon is most suited to school fundraising and large charity fundraising because it’s a social and entertaining fundraiser that will get the most folks out and participating, either in the dance as competitors, or in the audience as spectators and pledges.

A dance-a-thon is an easy and fun fundraiser to organize. Everyone loves to dance so you won’t have trouble finding people to sign up to participate. You can either choose to have singles sign up, or you can organize a couple’s dance contest where every participant needs a partner to join.

Dance-a-thons are a great fundraising money maker because they work by having participants raise pledges from the community. If you allow enough time before the actual event, contestants can request pledges from their friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers to sponsor them in the dance-a-thon. You can either accept flat fee pledges, or you can let pledges decide on the amount per hour. A good place to start is $2 to $5 for every hour the contestant or partners last on the dance floor. At the end of the dance-a-thon, participants will return to claim their pledge amounts.

Finding A Dance Floor

The main expenses for fundraising dance-a-thons are the venue and the DJ. However, if your dance-a-thon is for a school or church fundraiser, you can save the expense of a hall rental by using the school gym or church recreation facility. Regardless of your venue (rented or free), you will need enough space to accommodate a large group of spectators and dancers. This is why a school gym or a community center are ideal options.

Choose A Theme

A theme can add a lot of fun and the right atmosphere to your evening. You can go with a ‘50s sock hop, complete with poodle skirts and pompadours. Or choose the ‘60s and have everyone dress in bell bottoms and tie dyed shirts. You can also go way back and create a night of roaring ‘20s flapper fun. All it takes is a little imagination.

Providing The Music

For your music, a DJ is ideal over a live band because a DJ will be able to provide a wider variety of music. Be sure to choose a DJ with good references, a large music collection, and good equipment. Also, look for a DJ that specializes in music from the era of the theme you choose. If you're strapped for cash, never fear. Ask a volunteer to provide a stereo with a CD player, and ask dancers to bring in their favorite CDs along to spin for the evening. You can also download free music on your iPod and connect it to the stereo.

Tips for Dance-a-Thon Money Making

The primary way that a dance-a-thon makes its money is through pledges, but you can also use the following methods to add some extra dough to your fundraising pockets:

  • Ask each contestant or set of partners in your dance-a-thon to pay an entry fee.
  • Those not participating in your dance-a-thon can still come and watch, but audience members must purchase a ticket.
  • Provide beverages and light snacks to keep the dancers and audience members going for the full 24 hours.
    • Tips for dance-a-thon fundraiser success:

      • If the majority of profits will come from ticket sales, ensure your event is well attended by publicizing it well in advance. Market your dance-a-thon online, with local print advertisements, and via the local media up until the day of the event.
      • For your concessions, ask local theaters, restaurants, and bakeries to donate food and drink in exchanges for free advertising. Look for sponsors to donate popcorn, candy, chips, pizza, soda, cookies, etc. In exchange, the dancers can wear shirts adorned with sponsor logos.
      • Just because it’s a dance-a-thon doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate a raffle into the event. Raffle tickets can be pre-sold, and sold at the door of the event. Ask for sponsor prizes that people would really want, and use them as your raffle prizes. Local businesses may be willing to donate prizes or sell them to you at cost.
      • Another way to raise some extra money at your dance-a-thon is to sell “Shout-Outs” for a dollar. A Shout-Out is a dedication that’s read by the DJ to the crowd between songs. To ensure this is a success, advertise the Shout-Outs at the door of the event, and have slips of paper pre-printed so the Shout-Outs can be submitted to the DJ.