Drives and -athons

Drives and -athons

Fundraising ideas and activities

A favourite among clubs is an ‘-athon’.  This could be a swim-athon, run-athon, read-athon, jump-athon, basically any activity you can think of that would suit your club!

An ‘-athon’ event involves your club community coming together to see how long or how many times they can do a specific skill and seeking sponsorship dollars from family and friends to support them.  For example, a child might take part in a swim-athon. They may raise money depending on the number of laps swum, time in the pool or just a simple monetary amount.

This is a fundraiser that involves everyone at the club pitching in and helping gain sponsors!  It is important to understand that not all families will have people they can ask to sponsor them. These members may need another way to help out to ensure they feel included and like they are helping the club.  This could be through organising the day, helping to run the event, or collecting the forms and money.

These kinds of events can be very successful as the people giving money to your club care about the individual they are sponsoring.

Some consideration could also be given about how to keep your participants motivated, such as prizes for collecting the largest amount of sponsorship dollars.

Why an ‘-athon’ event?

An ‘-athon’ event is a fairly easy fundraiser to organise and is generally low cost.  There is very little risk in terms of loosing money for your club.

Another awesome reason to have an ‘-athon’ event is that the target audience for this fundraiser is the families, friends, work colleagues and neighbours of sports club members.  This takes pressure off current members and supporters to be constantly donating to the club.

When should I hold this fundraiser?

This can be run at any time of the year but best when the club is busy and members are in and out of the club often.  This helps with the motivation to gain more sponsors.

Key Activities

These are the tasks you will need to consider assigning to volunteers at your club:

Before the Drive

  • Decide the date of your ‘a-thon’.
  • Decide what the activity will be.
  • Set clear expectations for your club members and volunteers and offer support to gain sponsors
  • Promote the fundraiser.
  • Organise any competitions that will be used to help motivate members and supporters to try to gain more sponsors.
  • Distribute sponsorship forms.
  • Organise any food and beverages that will be for sale or provided.
  • Organise any raffles, auctions or activities that might run at the same time.

During the ‘-athon’

  • Communicate with your members and supporters seeking sponsorship and keep them updated on how totals are going.
  • Run the ‘-athon’
  • Run any other raffles, auctions or activities planned
  • Ensure food and beverages are ready for sale.
  • Distribute more sponsorship forms if necessary.
  • Continue to promote and advertise the fundraiser
  • Collect and collate money as it comes in, ensure this is in a safe and secure location.

After the ‘-athon’

  • Count the final funds raised.
  • Publicly thank everyone involved.
  • Announce the amount of money raised in club newsletters, on social media, website and around the club.

Who can help?

The only way an ‘-athon’ event will be successful is if your volunteers, members and supporters are engaged to help your club.  You will need volunteers to help:

  • Organise the event
  • Sort out any food and beverages that will be for sale or provided.
  • Organise any raffles, auctions or activities that might run at the same time.
  • Collate the money and store it safely throughout the event.
  • Most importantly – seek sponsors!

You could also approach current club Sponsors for any prizes you plan to use if you are running a motivational competition.

Recruiting your people

It is important to create a culture of volunteering at your club to help not only with fundraising but also across the day to day running of your club.  For more on how to create this at your club, click here.

Using technology to make it easier

You may like to consider using technology to reduce the work load on your volunteers and increase your fundraising dollars.

Your club may like to use social media, email newsletters and your club website to promote the event.  You may also like to live stream the leaders who have raised the most money so far to help build friendly competition and to raise awareness about the event.

Financial Considerations

Potential profit for your ‘-athon’ event will be driven by your member’s and supporter’s ability to gain sponsors.

There are generally no upfront costs unless you are hiring a venue (for example if your club is not big enough for the event). Limit costs for any advertising your club chooses to do such as creating and printing flyers.

If you choose to have other stalls, food or activities available, you will need to factor these in.


Promotion for this event is generally low cost with a local focus.  If you are looking to promote externally there needs to be external places that people can donate.  Ideas for promotions and marketing include:

  • Promotions at club functions
  • Newsletters, email, social media
  • Match day promotions
  • Paid advertising (only if low cost)
  • Local papers or radio
  • Posters (photocopied)
  • Key locations – you might be able to place posters around the neighbourhood at places such as supermarkets and community houses.

Communication considerations

You may like to use social media and club newsletters to remind members and supporters to gain sponsors and also to build excitement, motivation and perhaps competition to get people gaining as many sponsors as they can!

What can go wrong? (Risk Management)

Low sponsorship

To ensure high sponsorship you might like to set up a competition within your club to keep your members and supporters motivated. 

Financial Risks

There are obvious financial risks if you don’t raise enough sponsorship dollars to cover the cost of running the event.


When food is involved ensure they are clearly labelled with ingredients. Allergies can be life-threatening and must be taken seriously. This should be taken care of by your supplier, but it is always worth checking!

Licenses and Permits

Your council or local statutory authority might require approval to ensure compliance with food safety regulations. We recommend you check with your local council.

It is also important to contact your insurance company to ensure your public liability insurance policies covers your fundraiser.

Additional Factors to consider


Offering prizes to those who gain the most sponsors is a great way to motivate club members. This results in some members selling many boxes, which negates the effect of some members not selling any.  Clubs can also encourage members to start selling as soon as possible by offering all those who sell a box in the first week entry to an early bird raffle.  Posting updates on leading sellers in the club’s social media is also a great encouragement technique.

Getting Sponsors involved

You could consider getting a sponsor on board for the day or utilising your existing sponsors and business supporters by asking if they would sponsor individuals.

Additional Revenue Opportunities

Additional revenue opportunities include; raffles, canteen revenue, bar revenue, side stalls and rides.



Treat this procedure as a guide only. Your club should seek advice specific to the needs of your club and event. Seek further details from authorities and service providers; especially in regards to insurance, licences, permits, spectator and participant safety.