How to Plan a Swim-a-Thon

by Heather Leigh Landon

A Swim-a-Thon is a fundraiser where members of a group, sports team or organization join together to raise funds by swimming laps. Participants raise funds by collecting pledges for each lap they swim. Depending on facility availability, participants can be given a certain time limit to complete laps or a maximum number of laps.

Contact USA Swimming. Prior to hosting a Swim-a-Thon, your organization must complete a contract with USA Swimming that states certain conditions to follow. Once the contract is completed, you will receive a handbook about how to host a successful Swim-a-Thon, with forms and promotional materials. Swim-a-Thon is a registered trademark that is owned by USA Swimming.

Select date and location. Once you have a contract signed with USA Swimming, seek out a location to have the Swim-a-Thon. City, county and school pools may offer facilities for a small fee or free if used for fundraising events. Compare calendars with venues and pick a date to hold the event.

Hand out fliers. Use the promotional materials provided by USA Swimming to promote participation in your Swim-a-Thon. Hand out these items to members of your organization and others who would be interested in participating. Make sure to include the date, time and location of the event, instructions on how to collect pledges and your contact information.

Plan your Swim-a-Thon for an entire afternoon, offering different activities to encourage spectators to come out and watch. Collect donations from local businesses, such as gift certificates, gift baskets or merchandise that can be raffled. Offer food to spectators from a concession stand operated by volunteers or find a food vendor to set up during the event. Other activities for spectators can include music by a DJ and games for kids, such as water balloon toss, sidewalk chalk art and a sprinkler play area.

Give out awards. At the end of the Swim-a-Thon, offer awards to all participants and top performers. Hand out ribbons for participating, raising the most money and swimming the most laps.

Collect pledges. Once participants have completed the Swim-a-Thon event, have then collect money from friends and family who pledged. Give participants one week, or other amount of time you are comfortable with, to collect the money and turn it in to you.

Send out thank you notes. Write up a thank you note to send to each participant for helping raise money for your organization. If addresses are available, send thank you notes to those who donated to the Swim-a-Thon, such as vendors, friends and family.

About the Author

Heather Leigh Landon has been a writer since 1988 when she started her career as a stringer for "The McHenry Star News." Since then she has worked for newspapers such as "The Woodstock Independent," "The Northwest Herald" and "Press Journal." Landon graduated from William Rainey Harper College with an Associate of Applied Science in journalism.

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