Increase awareness of your studio and create a positive association with your community by organizing a fitness fundraiser. By hosting a charity ride or bootcamp and donating all the event registration fees to a non-profit, you will not only energize your current clients, but it will likely draw the participation of friends, family members and locals who want to help.
Contributing to a worthy non-profit and creating goodwill between your studio and your community is a huge benefit. Plus, charity events also hold a lot of marketing value for your studio as well.
Put the Fun in Your Studio Fundraiser
If you want to draw a big crowd to your fundraiser, think differently. Organizing a 5K is a proven way to gather fitness-minded people together to raise funds and awareness. But during most weekends of the year, your event will probably compete with another run/walk. Here are some ideas to get you thinking outside the box.
Organize a community fitness challenge. Examples of fitness challenges include a 30-Day Abs Challenge, Yoga Every Day Challenge or Whole30 Challenge. Have all participants set personal goals that align with the fitness challenge, and for a small registration fee, your studio will provide the exercise instruction and measure the results. Ask participants to raise money by having family and friends sponsor their efforts. Invite community members who are not yet clients to join the challenge. Post updates and instructions throughout the month to your website and social media challenged. Don’t forget to include motivational posts to keep participants engaged. The challenge should culminate in a celebration to announce the cumulative achievements of the participants and the value of the funds raised.
Jump rope competition. This type of fitness fundraiser would be a fun family event. In the weeks leading up to the competition, you can help train clients and post jump rope regimens to your website and social media. For a registration fee, contestants can participate in competitions organized by age, style of jump (Double Dutch anyone?) or creative use of a jump rope in a workout. Prizes can include trophies, as well as class packages to your studio.
Dollars for Kettlebells. Ask instructors, clients and other community members to raise money for every pound they swing. Ask other neighborhood business partners to match pledges dollar for dollar.
Stationary Tour de France. In exchange for a registration fee, invite clients and others to your studio for a spin class with hills and valleys modeled after the Tour de France route. Take this a step further by creating a playlist of French music and offer Parisian refreshments after class. Be sure to hook up all your participants with a parting t-shirt or tank.
Relay Ride. Like a relay race, get your community’s avid bikers to team up and create a relay ride that spans miles. Partner with businesses in neighboring towns to expand the level of participation and grow the size of the charitable donation.
Dance Til You Drop. If your studio offers any type of dance-related classes (Zumba, barre, etc.), host a retro-style dance marathon. Plan on reserving studio space for at least 12 hours and have plenty of water and snacks on hand. You’ll also want to make sure your playlist keeps the mood fresh and exciting for the entire challenge. Offer a prize for the last person still dancing. You can raise funds by charging a contest registration fee, or by asking participants to get sponsored.
While you and your instructors may be experts at the event’s main activity, there are many incidentals.
First, find a non-profit organization that fits in with your studio’s mission. If there is a non-profit that is close to your heart, you may want to start there. If not, ask your staff and clients if they have a connection to a cause. Choosing a charity with a personal story will help inspire people to contribute, and as a result, participate. Supporting a charity with ties to your studio’s network will also draw participants’ friends and family to sign up for the event. Another option is to find a health and wellness-related non-profit that serves your area, such as a food pantry, a local healthcare facility or a local children’s athletic program.
Next, you’ll want to evaluate the charity you choose by using non-profit rating tools such as Charity Navigator or Guide Star. Make sure your studio is supporting an organization with a proven track record of making a positive impact.
Contact the non-profit organization to tell them how you’d like to help. In addition to learning the details of how your event’s contribution will be used to help the organization, find out how they can help promote your event. Will they send volunteers to help at registration or to pass out water along the event route? Do they have marketing materials you can distribute to help participants learn more about the organization?
If you would like to organize a charity ride, fun run or other outdoor activity, you will need to contact your municipal law enforcement first. Depending on your city’s ordinances you may have to buy a permit to host your race and close the streets.
Connect with local vendors to find out if they are willing to donate/provide essential items such as t-shirts, audio equipment, flyers, water, healthy snacks, etc., for free, or in exchange for being listed as a co-sponsor the event. You can also offer them a package that includes free event registration for the owner and his or her employees.
Finally, a well-designed t-shirt is key. Purchase universally flattering t-shirts in a versatile color. The design should include the name of your race or event, date and your studio. Keep the designs simple and easy to read from a distance.
To encourage as much participation as possible, set a minimal amount for race or event registration and make it clear that all proceeds will be donated to the selected charity. After the event, send an email to all the participants to thank them for their participation. Include the final donation tally to let each participant know how the group’s hard work added up!
Make it easy for clients and the public to register. In addition to a sign up at your front desk, create a registration page on your website and make it easy to find from your homepage. Make frequent social media posts with event updates and links to the online registration page.
Promote, Promote, Promote!
Local media love positive stories. Contact your local newspaper, radio station and television news organization. Reach out to the media a month before, a week before and then again two days prior to the event and make sure to provide all essential information in each communication.
Make the event the centerpiece of your blogger outreach for the month. Invite local bloggers who may have common ground with your studio to participate in the event or just write about it.
Get other businesses in your area involved by asking to display an event poster or flyer in a prominent area, such as the front window, register or reception desk.
Other Ways to Support a Cause and Market Your Studio
An alternative to organizing a fundraising event is to put together deal for charity. Offer a discounted service (monthly membership, personal training, nutritional services, family/friend rates, etc.) and donate a percentage of the proceeds from the sale of that service to a charity. For example, January is National Healthy Weight Month, so offer to donate a percentage of class fees for the month to Action for Healthy Kids. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Create a deal where your studio makes a donation to a local breast cancer research organization every time a client takes more than three classes in that month.
Organize a team to participate in an existing charity event. Recruit clients to team up with you and your instructors in a well-established run, walk or ride. Offer to pay a percentage of your team’s registration fee or match a percentage of the funds raised by your team. Create a sign-up sheet on your website that includes race day details. Print shirts for your group to wear at the event so your studio name and logo are seen as your team races the route.
Alternatively, you can make a donation to co-sponsor a local race. If you are interested in helping a charity hosting a more traditional fundraiser, donate a class package, personal training session or gift basket of products for their raffle or auction.