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How to run a school math-a-thon

A complete step-by-step guide to running a successful elementary or middle school math-a-thon experience with RallyUp.

Download the full math-a-thon fundraiser in a box that includes checklists and tasks.

1. Introduction

Make math fun and raise money for a good cause with your next math-a-thon fundraiser! 

Students participate in a number of exciting math challenges and collect pledge donations based on how far they get. It’s a great way to encourage growth in mathematics as a subject, to reward talented students and to fundraise for your school, or for a cause your kids care about. 

Math is a skill, which means it needs to be practiced and developed to be perfected.  

Fundraising events like these help kids experience math in fun, interesting ways while working for a noble purpose. A well-run math-a-thon engages kids in an experience they’ll never forget. 

Benefits include:

  • Improves math skill
  • Makes math exciting
  • Encourages better teamwork
  • Inspires friendly competition
  • Promotes ethical fundraising
  • Teaches goal achievement

Our job is to make your math-a-thon an extraordinary experience. 

2. Administration

Who is going to be responsible for creating, launching and running your school math-a-thon? 

In the past, you’d need several teachers and heads of staff involved to keep your fundraiser moving forward. Now, you only need a small core team. 

This team should be focused on creating and updating the campaign on RallyUp. They should also be focused on prepping students and making sure the allotted events go smoothly.  

A team of 3 people is enough to achieve this. A lead administrator and strategist, an events coordinator, and someone who is good at creating media and managing promotions.  

3. Scheduling

It’s time to consider how long your math-a-thon will run for, and how big it will be. 

Scale and scheduling are key when running a successful fundraiser. The average math-a-thon is between 1 and 3 weeks long. There are variables you need to consider. 

  • The dates for each math-a-thon event  
  • How many kids might take part and how long to give them to find pledges 
  • How many events you’ll host and how they will fit in your timeline
  • When you might host a live final event and rewards ceremony 
  • Teacher moderation availability and scheduling

It can take up to 8 full weeks to plan, execute and successfully achieve a small-medium sized math-a-thon fundraiser. An inter-school math-a-thon fundraiser would require a longer timeline. 

Example Timelines 

  • A school runs a 1-day math-a-thon, with a specific event date. Students gather to answer as many questions as they can in the allotted time period. 
  • A school runs a 10-day math-a-thon, with daily challenges. Each day, students complete a workbook in the allotted time period. Progress is tallied at the end of each day.  

4. Enrollment

Will your math-a-thon be mandatory, or will you make it optional to sign up? 

Keep in mind that the most successful fundraisers work on a volunteer basis. Not all families can afford to pledge donations, so your school should allow students to ‘enroll’ only if they want to participate. 

It’s a good idea to send home a parent permission letter, which parents can sign if they want their child to participate in the math-a-thon. 

That way only genuinely interested participants will be registered to fundraise for your school. 

If a child wants to participate, but their parents can’t pledge donations - sponsors can be found and kids can be encouraged to source outside pledge donations from other donors.  

Anyone can quickly and easily pledge with RallyUp in just a few clicks.  

5. Quiz Creation

Your math-a-thon can be as simple as several questions handed out on test day, or as exciting as a live math obstacle course where teams must compete against each other.  

It’s up to you as the administrator to compile the math tests and challenges you’ll be using during your math-a-thon fundraiser. Many schools create open tests, where students answer as many problems as they can – even if they’re above their grade level. This challenges your students and reveals real mathletes! 

With every game/challenge/problem that your student solves, a pledge amount will be awarded from their sponsoring donors.  

Consider which to include! 

Number Games 

Addition Games 

Subtraction Games 

Addition & Subtraction Games 

Multiplication Games 

Division Games 

Multiplication & Division Games 

Fraction Games 

Percent Games 

Decimal Games 

Geometry Games 

Logic Puzzles 

6. Cause Promotion

Whether your sports team needs new uniforms, or your school is banding together to raise money for a charity you care about – cause promotion is a critical part of your fundraising process. 

It’s a good idea to start promoting your cause as soon as possible, to get students interested in registering for your math-a-thon. You want as many registered participants as possible.  

On the print side, focus on school posters and daily announcements to raise awareness. You can also promote the math-a-thon and cause during school assemblies or after school events. 

Once your RallyUp page is created you’ll have access to a host of promotional tools – like email templates, text-to-pledge options, and sharing a single link to direct people to your pledge page. 

This will help you simplify the registration and collection of pledge donations during your campaign. 

7. Goal Setting

The main reason you’re running a math-a-thon is to raise money, so goals must be set. Discuss with your admin team what your ideal fundraising target should be, then integrate it into your plans. 

If for example, your overall fundraising goal is to collect $5,000.00, and you have 5 participating classes – each class could be assigned a $1,000.00 fundraising goal. 

Be sure to attach prizes to your fundraising goals, so that students are motivated to achieve and exceed their targets. The goal is always to raise more than what you’ve set! 

Students, parents, and teachers can track and monitor fundraising goal progress throughout the math-a-thon directly on your RallyUp page, or on their unique fundraising pages. 

You’ll be able to setup leaderboards that update in real time according to pledges received, and show which teams or individuals are winning according to the parameters you’ve set. 

8. Event Showcase

If your team wants to host a big math-a-thon event at the end of your fundraiser, it could mean a higher goal achieved once your event is done.  

A math-a-thon showcase involves getting students through qualifying rounds, then having them compete in a live event at the very end. Teams can also go head to head at the event.  

A math-a-thon semi-final and final is a great way to get parents and other donors involved. Your team can print the codes for your ‘text-to-pledge’ promotion and display them at the event. 

Additional live donations will be collected on the day. It’s also a nice roundup for your awards ceremony, where prizes can be handed out to winners. 

9. Prize Selection

Prizes are motivators, so choose yours wisely! It’s good practice to reward every student that participates, even if they’re not big winners at the end.  

This encourages them to take part in more activities and gives them an incentive for raising money for a good cause. It also keeps them focused on practicing math. 

You should consider reaching out to corporate sponsors to donate prizes to your math-a-thon, so that your students and student teams get rewarded for their efforts. 

You should have a variety of fundraising goals and math achievement goals that are rewarded on prize giving day. That way, the better a student does, the more rewards they get! 

  • Most funds raised by an individual in the class 
  • Top 5 classrooms by amount raised 
  • A math-a-thon participation certificate for all entrants 
  • Top 10 students who raised the most money 
  • A list of students who achieved their individual goal (say to raise $75.00) 
  • The classroom who had the most registered students 
  • The team who solved the most math problems 
  • The reigning champion of the math-a-thon (class and individual) 

10. Pledge Collection

Pledge collection means that your students will ask friends, family and public donors to sponsor them for a flat dollar amount, or per math problem that they solve.  

The more math problems they solve, the more money they raise!

On RallyUp, pledges are direct and easy. A donor pledges a set amount or a per-unit amount on the online fundraising platform. They add their details and give permission to collect the funds automatically when the fundraiser is over, and the results have been tallied. 

At any time, donors can check out your pledge page to check on the progress of the math-a-thon. Leaderboards will reflect who is winning, and how much has been raised during your fundraiser.  

At the big finale, or once your math-a-thon is done, all you have to do is add in the results and RallyUp automatically collects the funds from your donors. Easy! 

Resources

Math-a-thon fundraiser-in-a-box with checklists and tasks

Get started checklist for creating a math-a-thon fundraiser using RallyUp

Math-a-thon email templates and supplemental materials

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