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December 14, 2018

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from the book "The Offical Soccer Fundraiser's Guide"
by J. Alden Briggs, Jr. and Jana Duffy

The "thon" special event is a clever way of combining fundraising with a participant activity requiring accuracy or endurance - primarily of the athletic variety. Variations on this theme include: walk-a-thon, jog-a-thon, bowl-a-thon, lift-a-thon, skate-a-thon, bike-a-thon, swim-a-thon, dance-a-thon, shoot-a-thon and dribble-a-thon.

At Ashland High School, Ev DeVaul conducts a very successful lift-a-thon to support the school athletic program. He provides the following suggestions for groups preparing for a "thon":

  1. Decide on activity that would best suit the group you are working with to raise money.
  2. Always establish a money goal for each individual and for the group of participants.
  3. Be sue to establish where the funds will be spent or if they will be used for a part of a special project.
  4. If working with an athletic group, your coaches are a key to the success of the project. They become the "force" to motivate the athletes.
  5. Develop information fact sheet, pledge sheet form, individual pledge forms.
  6. Meet with news media for articles and pictures to publicize the "Big Event."
  7. Have a person responsible for corporate or large business pledges.
  8. Along with students, encourage coaches, faculty, etc. to participate.
  9. Determine prize award for programs.

    • T-shirts
    • Trophies
    • Gift certificates
    • Patches
    • Fast food restaurant coupons

  10. Meet with entire group of participants to explain procedures and goals.
  11. Establish time schedule for pledges, dates of activity, and date for all pledge money to be turned in.
  12. Develop and display a "leader board" for the athletes that are the top three leaders. (Give gift certificate to the top boy or girl for most amount pledged on a daily basis.)
  13. Put announcements on school P.A. system of the top leaders.
  14. Encourage the public to attend and watch the activity.
  15. Draw a "Thermometer" that indicates amount of money pledges - athletes can see if goal is being reached.
  16. Never award prizes on pledges until money has been turned in.
  17. Encourage pledges of nothing less than one cent.
  18. Send Thank You note to all participants.
  19. Expect to collect 85-95% of pledges received.
  20. Keep good records and receipts of all payments made by participants.

Doug Clark's high school girl's team of Blaine, Minnesota, conducted a soccer marathon game. He reports: "The athletes collected pledges for each hour the game continued, up to 10 total hours. They then collected the pledge money afterward. We had tents set up to relax in, parents cooking hotdogs and hamburgers, many of the athletes brought "munches" and we had donated chilled orange drink on hand. We made the whole event a kind of exciting "day-long picnic". It seems like everyone is selling something. We've found marathon games to be a way to avoid being like everyone else.

Mike Freed of the Upper Bucks Soccer League, East Greenville, Pennsylvania, explains his team's soccer marathons: "The team is divided into 3 teams and they play indoor soccer matches for 6-8 hours, rotating a team every 15 minutes. Players get sponsors to pledge a set amount for each hour the player participates. We used this event for a team needing funds for a trip to Germany and for our league select team program. It is an excellent way to get a prolonged practice as well as a fundraiser."

Christain Marsh, when she coached the Simsbury Connecticut Internationals, ran a similar soccer marathon where pledges per hour of play were taken. Players would play for 50 minutes and rest for 10. The team raised $3,000.00 for ten hours of continuous to go to a regional tournament.

It's nice to include a post - "thon" celebration to praise the participants for their endurance and to provide refreshments to replenish lost energy.


Editor's Note: This article is from the book "The Offical Soccer Fundraiser's Guide" by J. Alden Briggs, Jr. and Jana Duffy and is reprinted with permission.

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