Budgeting for a school fun run fundraiser

While you don’t need a CPA or fancy accounting software to run a successful school fun run fundraiser, every PTA or fundraising organization will undoubtedly have some budget restraints. The goal of a fundraiser is simple: raise total event earnings that exceed the total cost of the event. To accomplish this goal, a fundraising budget needs to be planned out before you do anything else.

We’re sharing some insight as to what to expect and consider in terms of budget and profit when planning a fun run event.

Know What You’re Starting With

Early on in the event planning, you should talk with board members, volunteers and event leadership about how much they intend to give. When you know their intentions, it can help you better forecast your fundraiser results.

If you’re still a little in the dark about what to expect from your fundraiser, reach out to other local organizations that have put on similar events. Ask them where their budget started and how much they made in relation to the event costs. Then, you can objectively compare your fundraiser’s assets against theirs.

Consider Event Expenses

Sometimes an event sponsor will volunteer to cover all your expenses. But more often than not, you’re mostly on your own. Be sure to inquire about nonprofit pricing and let vendors know that your organization is tax-exempt.

Use a program like Microsoft Excel to keep track of your projected and actual expenses, as well as projected revenue, to help predict your profit. You may want to appoint a treasurer to lead this effort and keep the spreadsheet updated. Expected and unexpected expenses that should be considered include the following:

  • Location. While most school fun run fundraisers take place at the school, sometimes this isn’t an option. If this is the case, look into space rental costs and site use permits.
  • Safety Precautions. No matter where you’re holding your fundraising event, you need to hire security guards and set up portable toilets and tents. It’s also vital to have a fun run cleanup plan in place. These are basic necessities when it comes to running an event.
  • Insurance. It’s always a smart idea to take out liability insurance just in case someone is injured due to negligence on your part.
  • Promotion. Whether you’re hosting a public event or one just for students, you’ll need to promote it in order to get participants. Promotion materials could include save-the-date postcards, posters, invites, programs, newspaper ads, mail flyers, postage, and an event website with a ticket purchase and sponsorship option.
  • Production. When hosting a color run, you’ll need to consider costs for lighting and sound equipment, technical labor, a DJ, etc.
  • Office Supplies. Don’t forget about the costs you’ll incur on basic things like letterhead, paper, ink, website management, mailing lists, etc.
  • Travel Costs. If you’re planning on having a guest speaker, performer or special guest, be sure to take into account travel and lodging expenses.
  • Concession Permits. If you plan on selling or serving food and/or beverages at your event, look into your town’s permit requirements.
  • Catering Costs. If you’re having a caterer, be sure to confirm that all service and preparation charges are included in the cost. You should also account for tips.
  • Miscellaneous Costs. You should also take into account door and/or raffle prizes, rented equipment or furniture, banners, name tags, signs, t-shirts, etc.

Despite careful planning and projections, expenses always seem to arise unexpectedly, seemingly out of nowhere. Get ahead of this and prepare for these costs so you don’t exceed your fundraising budget.

Set Profit Goals

As mentioned above, you should also be tracking projected profits and actual profits for your event in a spreadsheet. School fundraisers that make the most money tend to be events that are easy to plan and offer the highest return on investment. That’s why a fun run is a perfect event for your school fundraiser.

When setting your profit goals, be objective and realistic. What amount of money do you plan to make? Remember your ultimate goal: to raise money for a good cause. Everything in your event plan should be geared toward raising funds to reach your profit goal. Be sure to design your event in a way that generates revenue quickly through several outlets. The following are some ways in which you can raise money through your school fun run fundraiser:

  • Ticket sales
  • Participant sponsorship
  • Group sales
  • Donations
  • Food and/or beverage sales
  • Tickets for raffles and/or door prizes
  • Sales of goods and/or services

Let School-A-Thon Help

When you pick a “thon” option from School-A-Thon, we’ll make it easy to keep track of your budget and maximize profits. And with our entrance fee-based events, you get access to our money management software—an easy-to-use tool to organize entrance fees. Have a question or need more information about School-A-Thon’s color run fundraising events? Contact us today!