We have asked the organizers of two Charity Swim-A-Thons (swimathons) at Colgate University in Hamilton, NY, to describe what they did when they arranged their Swim-A-Thons.
We hope you can get some good ideas here for your own arrangement, which will have to be adjusted to what will fit for you in your environment.
We have now done two swim-a-thons to raise awareness and funds for Kids Action for Kids, and the success of the first one in 2015 not only spread awareness and raised funds, but also sparked the interest of others to join in the succeeding year. To fund raise for this event, participants set up tables and stands in different public locations and informed people of our event and the cause that it was for. People donated money in different ways, either as a donation per lap or per mile that we could swim, or a fixed amount (see attached sponsor sheet).
Planning and setup
The event had a few logistical obstacles that were overcome by planning ahead of time, and staying organized throughout the process. Being a non-stop swim-a-thon, the event demanded that one swimmer was in the pool at all times. To guarantee this, an excel document was made that illustrated the different time slots and what time each participant was required to be at the event.
Minor scheduling problems were inevitable, but were minimized by planning ahead and making sure that everyone knew where they had to be and when. Accountability is vital in these projects, but as long as everyone is into it, it will work out!
Remember: there should ALWAYS be a lifeguard present!
The key takeaways from this project are advertising and getting the word out. This can be done in many ways, and various approaches are more suitable and effective than others, depending on the project. However, social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. are all powerful tools to spread the word.
For the swim-a-thon, we encouraged all participants to send information about the event to friends and family and post it on their social media pages. To engage a larger audience, we contacted local news stations presenting our story and asking if this was something they could cover, and in 2015 we got many of them to cover our story!
The local approach to spreading the message and to fundraise was to set up tables in busy places. Here we hung up posters, handed out materials, and talked to as many people as possible to see if they wanted to support our cause. Remember to ask parents, family and friends too.
The most important lesson here was that we used what we are passionate about to do some good. We chose swimming because that is something we love to do and because we have a team that also loves it. But you can do similar things with anything you love to do, whether that are running, baking, acting, or knitting!
Read more about our swim-a-thon stories here:
On this video Haakon talks about Colgate Swimathon 2015 to WKTV