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Does your organization provide space, supplies, or support for bowl-a-thon fundraisers? Consider sponsoring this fundraising idea to expand your network!

4 Steps to Host a Bowl-a-thon Fundraiser

1. Secure a Venue

The most important logistical detail you’ll need to figure out when hosting a bowl-a-thon is where it will take place. You’ll almost certainly need to find a nearby bowling alley, and if you can identify more than one possibility, you’ll double or triple your chances of securing a venue. When you approach each venue manager, consider offering a few possible event dates to ensure the bowling alley can accommodate a large group at that time.

If you can’t find a bowling alley, but you have access to a few video game systems, you could do a virtual bowl-a-thon using Nintendo Switch Sports (or Wii Sports if you can still find a working Wii console!). However, a live bowl-a-thon creates a stronger sense of community and provides more ways to fundraise, so try to secure a venue if you can.

2. Register Participants

Once you know where and when your bowl-a-thon will take place, it’s time to spread the word! Use your organization’s website, email, social media, and any other marketing channels your organization uses to let your supporters know about the event.

Include a link to your online registration form in each of your event marketing materials. To make sure participants can easily complete the whole form, only ask for essential information like their contact information and the payment method for their registration fee.

3. Create Some Friendly Competition

At any fundraising event, it’s essential to keep participants engaged. The easiest way to do this at a bowl-a-thon is to find ways to foster friendly competition. For instance, you could:

  • Allow participants to sign up either individually or as part of a team that competes against other teams.
  • Ensure the venue can display leaderboards with everyone’s scores throughout each game.
  • Hand out awards to the winning team and top individual finishers at the end.

By creating a fun but competitive environment, your participants will have a better experience and be more likely to come to your organization’s next event!

4. Follow up After the Event

Your work isn’t finished once everyone leaves the bowl-a-thon. The next day, send out an email to your participants thanking them for coming, sharing your final fundraising total, and explaining how those funds will help your organization. Also, make sure to send a thank-you note to the bowling alley for allowing you to host your event there.

How to Raise Funds at a Bowl-a-thon

One major characteristic that makes bowl-a-thons stand out from other event fundraisers is how many possibilities they offer for fundraising. You can bring in revenue for your organization by:

  • Charging a registration fee.
  • Selling bowl-a-thon t-shirts or other merchandise branded to your organization.
  • Asking the bowling alley if you can split the profits from concessions sold during the event.
  • Launching a peer-to-peer campaign leading up to the bowl-a-thon where participants can ask their friends and family to pledge donations based on the number of points they earn.
  • Setting up a jar for additional donations and putting your organization’s text-to-give number on the side in case participants don’t have cash with them.

Set a realistic goal for your fundraiser, then combine fundraising methods so you can effectively work toward that goal.

Organizations That Host Bowl-a-thons

Bowl-a-thons are extremely versatile not only in the ways you can fundraise, but also regarding the organizations that can host them, which include:

  • Nonprofits
  • Schools
  • Churches
  • Clubs and community groups
  • Companies