Spring Fundraisers: 5 Best Practices for Walkathons, Bikeathons, and Other Athons

Gia Chow
Gia Chow

Walkathons, Bikeathons, Marathons, Oh My!

Spring has officially arrived, and generally, this is a busy but lucrative season for fundraisers across the board. With warmer weather and everyone excited to get outside, this is the optimal time to take to the great outdoors with spring fundraisers. No matter the type of event you’re planning, we’re here to help you and your donors spring into giving. 

Types of “Athons”

Walkathons and the like are typically a kind of peer-to-peer fundraiser. Peer-to-peer fundraisers (aka social fundraisers) harness the power of your supporters to raise money on your behalf. These types of fundraisers are popular because they have the potential to raise twice as much compared to other digital fundraising campaigns. They’re also great if your org wants to reach new audiences and build deeper connections with existing supporters.

You may be familiar with the more traditional peer-to-peers such as fun runs, bikeathons, and marathons but these types of events actually come in all forms.

To illustrate a creative out-of-the-box “athon”, we sat down with Krista Mortensen, the development manager at Invest in Kids to discuss top fundraising tips and how they used CauseVox to set a fundraising record ($300K+) in their 2022 Jane-A-Thon event.

To provide some background, Invest in Kids is a Denver-based nonprofit dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of young children and families across the state through a wide spectrum of services including prenatal care, social-emotional learning, and in-home family therapy. 

For the past 23 years, Invest in Kids has hosted the Jane-A-Thon, a fun-filled ski and snowboarding event at Colorado’s Winter Park Resort. Whether participants are joining with a corporate sponsor, or signing up with family and friends, individuals of all ages and skill levels can make an impact by raising money for kids in need. We’ve taken a closer look at the Jane-A-Thon event to provide some best practices that can be applied to your spring peer-to-peer fundraising events.

To watch the full recording, click here.

Best Practice #1: Have A Peer-To-Peer Platform


The first step when setting up any peer-to-peer fundraiser is choosing the right platform. This can make or break your event so while you’re evaluating your options, definitely consider the ease of use for your staff and participants.

According to Krista Mortensen, the Development Manager at Invest in Kids, CauseVox made creating fundraising pages really easy. Since personal pages can come pre-populated with text, Invest in Kids provided templated language so that fundraisers didn’t have to author their appeal from scratch. 

Still, CauseVox gave participants a lot of flexibility within their own page. If they wanted to, participants could edit the default text or add their own pictures and stories. From there, they could set their own pace and decide how intensely they wanted to personally participate. 

Best Practice #2: Easy Registration

Along with making it easy to set up personal and team fundraising pages, you want to ensure that registering for the event is as seamless as possible. CauseVox offers peer-to-peer registration that can be built into your fundraising campaign. 


In addition to using CauseVox’s registration form, Invest-In-Kids took it one step further by creating an instructional video explaining how to register, create a team, and join a team. This was particularly useful because the organization had used a different platform in previous years and this eliminated any lingering confusion.

With CauseVox, registration is a short five step process. For Jane-A-Thon participants, the registration form was a one-stop shop that allowed them to complete a user profile, pay the registration fee, activate their fundraising page, and share with their network.


Best Practice #3: Introduce Incentives And Prizes

When it comes to peer-to-peer events specifically, Krista is all about incentives and prizes. For the Jane-A-Thon, Invest in Kids had benchmark prizes for fundraisers who hit their minimum fundraising goal. They found that their audience was responsive to these prizes since the organization was willing to spend a bit of money on them. For larger prizes, Invest in Kids partnered with a sports retailer who was able to offer them items that were on brand with the event.

You can also structure prizes as a raffle. Take the Junior League of DeKalb County for instance. For their Wine Lovers Charity Walk, they raffled off wine-theme prize baskets at $10 a ticket.


Best Practice #4: Utilize Corporate Matching

Another powerful motivator to get folks to donate to your spring fundraiser involves corporate matching. Essentially, when donors give, they can submit a request to their employers to match their donation dollar for dollar. This means that you have potential to double the amount of funds raised. With an estimated $4-$7 billion in matching gifts that goes unclaimed every year, it would be silly not to utilize corporate match programs. 

To ensure they weren’t leaving money on the table, Invest in Kids encouraged participants to submit their donations for corporate matching.  It allowed donors to double their gift almost immediately (and put them closer to winning bigger prizes). Once submitted and verified, the match was reflected in their donation total right away. 

Best Practice #5: Solicit Corporate Sponsorships

When it comes to peer-to-peer fundraisers, there usually isn’t a large focus on the corporate side but that wasn’t the case for the Jane-A-Thon.

For the Jane-A-Thon, there were four sponsorship levels that aligned with the event’s ski-theme. Each level came with designated promotions, acknowledgements, and a certain number of free registrations. As part of their process, Invest in Kids charged $35 per registration. This ensured participants had skin in the game and were more likely to follow through with their fundraising commitments. However, this fee was waived for corporate participants if their company was sponsoring. Over the years, Invest In Kids saw more participation on the corporate side; this translated to more revenue.


By recruiting corporate sponsors, Invest in Kids found a lot of success tapping into a whole different pool of participants. According to Krista, “[corporate sponsorships] helped build up a solid base for fundraising even before people started building out their pages”. This year, they had about $120K in sponsorships alone which got them ahead of the game with measurable progress. Basically, when people did start registering, it didn’t feel like they were starting from zero.

Another example of sponsorship levels via The Center in Hollywood.

Get Your “Athon” Up & Running 

Go beyond the typical “athon” for your spring fundraiser and design the peer-to-peer event of your dreams. No matter what kind of “athon” you think up, our platform will help you raise more as efficiently as possible.
To learn more about how CauseVox can help you run your peer-to-peer fundraising event, schedule a demo today.

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