How to fundraise for dance marathon


putting the fun

in fundraising

getting started

Every year, Dance Marathon at SDSU has a fundraising minimum in order to participate in our big event. While we finalize the details on exactly what that number will be for 2023, take a look below at all the ways you can get the ball rolling to ensure you hit it in time to participate in February.

Fundraising can be intimidating, but the possibilities are endless. There are the classic methods like creating a fundraiser on Facebook or posting an Instagram template, but you can also sell clothes or art, or utilize your talents or do challenges in exchange for donations. For a guide on how to do all this and more, keep reading!

Check out our fundraising resources Google Drive folder for templates.

reaching out


Email is one of the most effective, yet underutilized, methods of fundraising outreach for Dance Marathon at SDSU. Donor Drive has pre-loaded templates you can use to reach out to friends, family and co-workers, you can check out what we have pre-written in our Google Drive, or you can reach out to our Participant Relations Team at [email protected] for more advice. 


Who doesn't love to receive a physical letter in the mail? This method of outreach is very effective with family members who may not be active on social media or check their emails very often. Physical letters, especially handwritten ones, show that you're serious about fundraising for this movement and are willing to put the extra time and care into earning donations.

social media

Facebook Fundraisers

Did you know that the average Facebook fundraiser raises $202? That's more than the minimum to attend our big event in February. Facebook fundraisers connect directly to your Donor Drive account, so any donations you receive through the fundraiser will automatically be added to the total you see -- pretty neat! This is one of the most effective, yet lowest effort, fundraising ideas out there, and we encourage all of our Dance Marathon at SDSU participants to create one.

Tip: Invite every one of your Facebook friends to your fundraiser, people can't donate if they haven't seen it!


Here's a tutorial on how you can start your Facebook fundraiser today:

Instagram Fundraising Templates

You've probably seen them before -- one of the most popular ways SDSU students raise funds for causes is through Instagram fundraising templates. These are Instagram stories that feature dollar amounts that the poster is trying to collect from friends and followers. They usually add up to some kind of goal, and are themed for the cause the person is fundraising on behalf on. The donations are usually sent directly to that individual, usually through Venmo, who later deposits them into their own Donor Drive. Dance Marathon at SDSU has a plethora of such fundraising templates, and those can be found in the "templates" highlight of our Instagram.

Note: When hosting an Instagram fundraiser, make sure to transfer the money raised from your personal Venmo or CashApp to your Donor Drive page. These funds won't count and won't go towards the Hospital if you don't!


Have you tried Snapchatting everyone in your contacts telling them what you're doing and what you're collecting money for? Most people are willing to give at least a dollar and, if you're like the average college student, you probably have at least a few dozen Snapchat friends -- you do the math! Instagram-style fundraising templates can also be pulled off on Snapchat, but this is less common.

tips for effective outreach

fundraising ideas

  • Host a bake sale

  • Tell your friends you'll eat something spicy or disgusting and film it if you raise a certain amount

  • Ask 10 friends to donate $2

  • Offer to tutor a friend, classmate or neighbor

  • Be someone's personal Uber

  • Post silly or embarrassing photos on social media (middle school photos are always a hit)

  • Set up a coin jar in a high traffic area. E.g. your kitchen, office, residence hall or family car

  • Dedicate your birthday to the kids and ask for donations instead of gifts

  • "Rent" out your Hulu, Spotify, Netflix, etc. accounts 

  • Walk neighborhood dogs

  • Offer to run errands for neighbors

  • Sell old or unworn clothes to consignment stores or online on apps like Poshmark

  • Host a yard sale (especially effective during college moving season, June-August)

  • Got skills? Utilize your artistic talents to sell jewelry or art on Etsy or social media

  • Tell your friends you'll go a day without shaving for every $5 raised -- most effective for men

  • Coordinate a car wash

  • If you work in a restaurant, ask them to consider donating a percentage of their proceeds on one day

  • Shave your head or facial hair if you raise a certain amount

  • During the holiday season, go caroling for donations

  • Participate in a challenge, such as wearing a onesie on campus all day, if you hit a fundraising goal

  • Personalize your Donor Drive page. Pages with a photo of you are much more likely to receive donations!

  • Customize the "story" section of your Donor Drive. Dedicating your fundraising to one of our Rady miracle kids is much more compelling to a donor than a generic bio.

  • Remember, people donate to other people, usually not to causes. Make sure your donors know the money they give goes to your personal fundraising page.

  • Keep in mind the worst thing that anyone can say is no. Not everyone will say yes, but enough people will!

  • Be creative! No idea is too small, and sometimes some of the simplest ideas can yield the biggest gains

Fundraising Resources - Dance Marathon

Ways you can raise money

Five Hundred Dollars?! How can I raise that much money?! Raising your $500 is actually really easy, and there are several ways to do it! Probably the most common way is to ask your friends and family to make donations.

Online Giving Page

How to access your online giving page:

  • Go to www.
  • Click on Log-in section on the top right hand corner of the screen. 
  • A new page will appear prompting you to enter your user name and password. In the user name section type in your hawk ID. In the password section type in your hawk ID’s password. (If you ever need to change your hawk ID’s password your password to the online giving pages will change with your hawk ID’s password so they should always be the same as what you use to log in to Hawk Mail and ICON.) 
  • Click the log-in button. 
  • A new page will appear that will have an online giving link that should start with There will be numbers at the end of this URL. 
  • Click on the URL (This is the URL you can give to potential donors to ask them to donate to your page). 
  • Your online giving page will appear.


Canister Solicitation is one of the most profitable forms of fundraising for The University of Iowa Dance Marathon. There are four types of canning: neighborhood, downtown, football, and hometown. You should ask your morale captain about specific canning dates coming up. Remember that you must sign up in advance for each canning event, and a morale captain or another leadership member will organize these drives and go with you. Click here to sign up for Football Canning! (updated link coming soon)

Letter Writing Campaign

One of the most effective, easiest, and most traditional ways to raise money is to send personal letters or postcards. These letters should describe what Dance Marathon is, explain your involvement and simply ask for donations. You can do this all straight from the comfort of your home!

View an example template.

You can also use our online form where we send out the letters for you, all you need is an address for us to send it to. Check it out here.

Email Campaign

Another easy way to raise money is to send emails out to your contact list. You can check out a couple example templates here.

First Year Dancer Template

Returning Dancer Template

Generic Template

Thanksgiving Template

How does a fundraising email campaign work? Here is a breakdown of how you can master the email fundraising strategy!

  1. Download a template (links above)
  2. Insert it into a new email from your personal email account
  3. Use the extra space in each template to customize to your donors why you are involved in Dance Marathon, your fundraising goals and your experience at the University of Iowa
  4. Send it to your donors and make money in support of our DM kiddos! 

Winter Break Fundraising

Winter Break is a great time to sit down with family and talk to them about Dance Marathon. We put together an awesome guide to fundraising over break, so please take a look at it and make the most of your time at home with friends and family to raise as much money as you can for DM. You can find that here.

Matching Gifts 

Many businesses match charitable contributions of their employees. For example, if you have a family member who works at John Deere, and they plan to donate to you, John Deere may potentially match the donation to UI Dance Marathon.

All matching gifts for UI Dance Marathon are completed through the University of Iowa Center for Advancement (legal name State University of Iowa Foundation). All matching gifts should be filled out accordingly, however—the gift will go to UI Dance Marathon.

To learn if a company is eligible to match a gift to UI Dance Marathon through the UI Center for Advancement visit for a list of participating companies. Donors can then complete their matching gift form (some are hard copy and some are electronic).

What information should be indicated on the form?

  • Indicate the donation was made to the UI Foundation (since this is the entity processing the matching gift). NO MENTION OF DANCE MARATHON IS NEEDED AND IN MANY TIMES WILL NOT RESULT IN A MATCH.
  • The UI Center for Advancement address is 1 West Park Road, Iowa City IA 52242.
  • Checks must be out to the UI Center for Advancement or UI Foundation.
  • You do not need to fill out any portion of the matching gift form.

What are the next steps so I can receive credit for this matching gift as a part of my dancer total?

  • Scenario One: Hard Copy Matching Gift Form and Check: Turn both the check and the matching gift form into the IMU Business Office—do not submit check for deposit. It will be handled differently OR, you can also submit these same items during a dancer meeting at a matching gift table.
  • Scenario Two: Hard Copy Matching Gift Form and Online Donation: Turn both the check and a copy of the confirmation (most likely an email, like when you are online shopping and your purchase is confirmed) the donor received into the IMU Business Office OR, you can also submit these same items during a dancer meeting at a matching gift table.
  • Scenario Three: Donor Emails You Matching Gift Form and Donated Online: Send the matching gift confirmation AND a copy of the UI Dance Marathon gift confirmation (again, an automatically generated email) to DM-Finance@uiowa. edu.

Important things in order to receive credit for the Matching Gift

  • Forms must be filled out to UI Foundation or UI Center for Advancement—or your match will not be viable.
  • In order to receive dancer credit for a match, YOU are responsible for providing proof of the match (either the actual form, or a print out of the confirmation your donor receives—NO EXCEPTIONS). Please make sure to communicate that to your donors.

Questions? Please contact Katie Blakeley @ [email protected]

Community Days

Community days are a great way to raise money for Dance Marathon and promote the organization to local businesses and community members. With a little planning, it is easy to set up a community day in your hometown! 

Everything you need to set up your own community day. 

Questions? Contact Katie Canavan @ [email protected]

Note: Please refrain from holding community days in the Iowa City/Coralville area

Dance marathon - Teacher's newspaper

The Exemplary Educational Program emphasizes that education should be based on the principles of interaction, and the education process itself should be built through the creation of children-adult communities in the school that would unite students and teachers with bright and meaningful events, common positive emotions and trust.

Swipe right to see more images

Traditions are one of the means of creating communities between children and adults. At school No. 1317, she became a dance marathon. It was first held at our school in 2013 and was just one of the activities of the school plan of educational work. Over time, the teachers of the school, in collaboration with the parent community, managed to bring the marathon to the level of a key event in the aesthetic education of students.

Why did choreography and dance become one of the main events in aesthetic education, a good tradition that forms the unique features of the educational system? The answer is obvious: in order to solve the acute problem of a sedentary child, parents and teachers should create conditions for children from preschool age, offer activities with maximum physical activity.

On May 13, 2022, the most enchanting and spectacular event took place at the sports ground of school No. 1317 - the ninth traditional dance marathon-1317. It was attended by creative teams of students in grades 1-10, 37 grades, more than 800 students. Children who could not dance for various reasons formed support groups. Together with the children, parents, grandparents were involved in the preparation for the marathon, who, with cameras in their hands, merrily danced to their children.

“One movement does not make a dance” – says the proverb. So at school No. 1317, the dance presented at the marathon is a realized joint project, in which all students of the class, teachers, parents, consultants, experts become participants in different roles.

The dance marathon is held at the end of the academic year and includes the results of many creative events: the activities of the Komilfo club, the festival, dance changes. And the beginning of everything is laid in preschool groups. It is not the first year that our kids and students have been successfully performing at the Abris interregional festival, festivals and competitions Spring Drop, Children Dancing with Friends, Constellation of Talents.

The dance marathon is gaining momentum. It is known who knows how to have fun, he is not afraid of grief! During the years of the project "Dance Marathon" at school No. 1317, each child was able to show their talents and abilities, gained invaluable dancing skills! The tradition of using choreography, dance, mass dance events in the aesthetic education of children and youth at school No. 1317 is only growing stronger and becoming the basis for the community of the school and the family in solving the problems of educating and developing the younger generations.

Venera GLEBOVA, director of school No. 1317;

Lyudmila BORISOVA, methodologist at school No. 1317;

Maxim ELISEEV, teacher-organizer of school No. 1317;

Elena RYKOVA, Teacher Librarian, School #1317

Dance Marathons in the USA - US Embassy Moscow Blog - LiveJournal The students spend 12 to 40 hours dancing on weekends and vow not to stop.

What for? To raise public awareness and raise money for children's hospitals. The vast majority of dance marathons are directly supported by the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, which provide free, highly qualified care for children whose lives are in danger. This year marks the third time I have participated in the Knight-Thon, the University of Central Florida dance marathon and its largest student charity program.

When I took part in this event as a freshman, it lasted 16 hours, and as time went on, I realized that it required quite a lot of strength. Encouraged by the experience of the first year, in the second year I decided to join a moral support group. During dance marathons, the members (Moralers) are responsible for, you guessed it, maintaining morale not only during the event itself, but also during the fundraising year leading up to the marathon itself. We can be entrusted with any task - from asking passers-by to help with a trifle to participating in spontaneously organized dances in public places (in the USA this is called a flash mob). During such actions, members of the moral support group take the lead, distract and cheer the audience, without thinking about how much time they spent on their feet.

I have been a member of the moral support group for two years now. Last year I took part in an event with a broken leg. Unfortunately, I couldn't give it my all and had to take a break every few hours. However, this year I was in great shape. This event, which is getting longer every year, lasted 20 hours. It was extremely interesting, but at the same time it required a very large expenditure of effort and energy. Whenever I felt overwhelmed or in pain, I thought about the children and their loved ones who do not have the opportunity to take a break from the fight against the disease. They inspired me not to stop and endure all 20 hours.

The Knight-Thon Dance Marathon is usually held in late March or early April to give us a whole school year to raise money. Every year we set ourselves the goal of raising funds, and each participant must make an effort to achieve this goal in order to take part in the dance marathon. Last year we had to raise $365,000 to confirm that Knight-Thon is an all-year event. I still feel excited that we did more than we planned, collecting 392831 dollars and 65 cents. I have one more year left at the University of Central Florida, which means the last Knight-Thon. During my studies at the university, there were many important and fateful events in my life, but I am absolutely convinced that one of the most significant events was Knight-Thon.

Dance Marathons are a growing trend in high schools and universities across the United States. Students take anywhere from 12 to 40 hours of their weekend and take a vow to stay standing continuously. What's the point? It's to raise awareness and funds for children's hospitals. The vast majority of Dance Marathons directly benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, which provide free, high quality care to children suffering from life-threatening conditions. This year was my third year participating in Knight-Thon, the University of Central Florida’s Dance Marathon, and its largest student-run philanthropy.

When I participated my freshman year, the event was 16 hours, and I found it rather challenging as time went on. My sophomore year, inspired by my first year experience, I decided to apply for the Morale Team. In Dance Marathons, members of the Morale Team (or “Moralers”) are responsible for – you guessed it – keeping up morale, not only during the event itself, but during the year of fundraising that leads up to it. We are called on for anything from asking strangers for change, to randomly breaking into dance in public (known as a “flash mob” in the U.S.). During the event, the Moralers lead the dancing and keep people distracted and energized, so they don't think about how long they have been standing.

I have been on the Morale Team for two years, now. Last year, when I participated, I had a fractured foot. Unfortunately, this meant I could not fully participate, and had to take breaks to sit every few hours. This year, however, I was in perfect shape. The event, which gets longer every year, was 20 hours long. It was incredibly fun, but also very challenging. Whenever I felt exhausted, stressed, or in pain, I stopped to think about the children and their families, who don't get to take a break from their fights against these illnesses. They inspired me to keep going for the full 20 hours.

Knight-Thon always takes place in late March or early April so that we have the entire academic year in which to fundraise. Each year we set a fundraising goal and every participant is expected to work towards this goal in order to attend the event. This past year, our goal was $365,000 – to reinforce our theme that Knight-Thon is a year-long event. I'm still very excited to say that we exceeded that goal, with a final fundraising amount of $392,831.65. I have one year, and one last Knight-Thon, left at UCF. While I have had many impactful and life-changing experiences over my university years, I can say with absolute certainty that my participation in Knight-Thon has been among the most meaningful.

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