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The Complete Guide To Math-A-Thon Fundraising

Math-A-Thon Ultimate Guide Group People Working

Math-A-Thons are not only fun and engaging but also serve as excellent fundraisers for schools, organizations, or communities. These events bring together participants of all ages to solve math problems while raising money for a good cause. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the steps to host a successful Math-A-Thon, from planning and promotion to execution and post-event feedback gathering.

What is a Math-A-Thon?

A Math-A-Thon is an event that typically spans 2 or more weeks where participants solve math problems either online or on worksheets. Participants solicit sponsors who donate to the school or organization hosting the Math-A-Thon in honor of the participant and to support the participant’s math goals.

Benefits of Running a Math-A-Thon:

  1. Promotes math skills: Math-A-Thons encourage participants to practice and improve their math skills in a fun and interactive way.
  2. Increases math awareness: Math is often confined to the classroom. Math-A-Thons provide participants with an opportunity to actively engage with math outside of tests and homework.
  3. Build positive association with math: Many find math daunting, leading to avoidance. Math-A-Thons cultivate a positive outlook by demonstrating that math can be enjoyable and rewarding, challenging negative perceptions and promoting engagement with the subject.
  4. Fundraising opportunity: Math-A-Thons provide a unique fundraising opportunity for schools, organizations, or charities to raise funds for various initiatives.
  5. Community engagement: These events bring together participants, sponsors, and supporters from the community, fostering a sense of camaraderie and unity.
  6. Prizes and rewards: Participants are often motivated by the chance to win prizes and rewards based on their performance, encouraging active participation.

Online Math-A-Thons vs. Paper Math-A-Thons:

Traditionally, Math-A-Thons involved distributing worksheets to participants, who would then solve math problems at home or in school. These completed worksheets were later collected, scored, and recorded by volunteers or organizers. However, platforms like ForOurSchool.org have automated this process, streamlining the administration of paper-based Math-A-Thons. While traditional paper Math-A-Thons have their charm, online Math-A-Thons offer several advantages, including:

  1. Accessibility: Online Math-A-Thons can reach a wider audience as participants can join from anywhere with an internet connection.
  2. Convenience: Participants can complete math challenges at their own pace and schedule, making it more convenient for busy individuals.
  3. Real-time tracking: Online platforms allow organizers to track participant progress in real-time, making it easier to monitor the event’s success and make adjustments as needed.
  4. More engaging experience: Online platforms offer immediate feedback as participants can watch their number of correct answers increase in real-time, making Math-A-Thons more fulfilling compared to traditional worksheets that feel like homework.
  5. Guided problem-solving: Online platforms provide guidance for each individual problem, assisting students in arriving at solutions effectively.
  6. Flexible difficulty levels: Students can easily adjust the math level to suit their skill level, ensuring that questions are neither too easy nor too challenging.
  7. Real-time engagement: Online platforms can incorporate real-time leaderboards and charts, fostering healthy competition and further motivating participants.
  8. Efficient management: With automated grading systems, there is no need for volunteers to manually grade worksheets, saving time and resources.
  9. Enhanced data analysis: Online platforms facilitate the analysis of trends in total math problems solved and identify areas where students collectively or individually struggle, aiding in targeted intervention and improvement strategies.
  10. Environmental and cost benefits: Online Math-A-Thons help save paper and money by eliminating the need for printing materials.

Steps to Hosting a Math-A-Thon:

  1. Form a committee: Assemble a dedicated team to help plan, organize, and execute the Math-A-Thon event.
  2. Decide on the timing: Choose a date and time for the Math-A-Thon that works for your target audience and aligns with your fundraising goals.
  3. Procure prizes and rewards: Secure prizes and rewards to incentivize participation and motivate participants to excel.
  4. Promote the event: Spread the word about the Math-A-Thon to encourage participation.
  5. Execute the event: Ensure participants understand how to participate and everyone is kept informed on the progress and updates.
  6. Gather feedback and comments: After the Math-A-Thon, solicit feedback to evaluate the event’s success and identify areas for improvement.

Step 1: Form a Committee

Organizing a successful Math-A-Thon requires the collaboration of a dedicated team. Each member plays a crucial role in different aspects of planning, promotion, and execution. Here are common roles and responsibilities within a Math-A-Thon committee:

  1. Communication: Responsible for external communication with participants, including event promotion and updates.
  2. Marketing: Develops and executes marketing strategies to promote the Math-A-Thon, including creating promotional materials, managing social media accounts, and reaching out to local media outlets.
  3. Prizes and rewards: Procures prizes and rewards for participants, and coordinates the distribution of prizes at the end of the event.
  4. Sponsorships: Identifies and solicits potential sponsors, negotiates sponsorship agreements, and ensures sponsors receive proper recognition and exposure during the Math-A-Thon.
  5. Online administration: Manages the online platform used for the Math-A-Thon, including setting up registration, monitoring participant progress, and troubleshooting technical issues.
  6. Teacher coordinator: Liaises with teachers and school staff to promote participation among students, distributes information about the event, and coordinates classroom activities related to the Math-A-Thon.
  7. PTA coordinator: Collaborates with the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) or similar parent organization to garner support, recruit volunteers, and engage parents in the Math-A-Thon initiative.
  8. Finance: Manages the budget for the Math-A-Thon, tracks expenses, processes donations, and ensures financial transparency and accountability.
  9. Evaluation and feedback: Gathers feedback from participants, sponsors, volunteers, and other stakeholders to evaluate the success of the Math-A-Thon and identify areas for improvement.

Step 2: Decide on the Timing

Choosing the right time to host your Math-A-Thon can be challenging, when you factor in school holidays, community events, and other competing activities. Here are some options you may want to consider, but check out our complete breakdown of the best times to host a Math-A-Thon for a full analysis:

  1. End of the Summer: No competing events or holidays, and a Math-A-Thon can help fight the summer slide and transition students back into academic routine, but some students may be on vacation or occupied, so you may get lower participation rates.
  2. Entire Summer: Participants can take part on their own schedule, while fighting the summer slide, but it may be tough to maintain motivation and interest over an extended duration.
  3. Beginning of the school year: Great way to review the previous year’s curriculum, but it would compete with other activities that happen at the start of the school year.
  4. Winter: Students are focused on learning and a fundraiser can counteract monotony of winter months, but the holidays could cause logistical challenges.
  5. Spring: Aligns with students’ preparation for end-of-year tests, but it may compete with other end-of-year activities.

Step 3: Procure Prizes and Rewards

Deciding on the prize structure and selecting appropriate prizes are critical motivate participants and encourage continued interest in your event. Consider the various options available and choose a prize structure and prizes that will motivate participants and enhance their overall experience.

Prize Structure Options:

  1. Top problem solvers: Offer big prizes for the top-performing participants who solve the most math problems correctly. This encourages healthy competition and rewards excellence.
  2. Achievement goals: Provide prizes for reaching set goals, such as completing a certain number of math problems. This motivates participants to challenge themselves and strive for success.
  3. Participation prizes: Reward all participants for their involvement in the Math-A-Thon, regardless of performance. This promotes inclusivity and ensures that everyone feels valued and appreciated.
  4. Classroom competitions: Offer prizes to classes or teams that collectively solve the most math problems or achieve the highest participation rates. This fosters teamwork and collaboration among participants.
  5. Fundraising incentives: Provide prizes to individuals who solicit the most donations or reach a fundraising goal. This incentivizes fundraising efforts and encourages participants to actively engage in fundraising activities.
  6. Email campaigns: Reward individuals for sending out solicitation emails to friends, family, and colleagues. This expands the reach of the Math-A-Thon and encourages participants to advocate for the cause.
  7. Random drawings: Hold random drawings for all participants to win prizes, regardless of performance or fundraising efforts. This adds an element of excitement and ensures that everyone has an equal chance of winning.

Types of Prizes to Consider:

When selecting prizes, consider a mix of experiential and tangible rewards to appeal to a wide range of participants. Here are some examples:

  • Experiential prizes: Offer unique experiences such as “Be the Principal for a Day,” “Lunch with a Celebrity Math Teacher,” or “VIP Field Trip to a Science Museum.”
  • Tangible prizes: Provide physical rewards such as gift cards, electronic gadgets, educational toys, books, or certificates of achievement.

Step 4: Promote the Event

A comprehensive marketing campaign should build awareness about your Math-A-Thon, inspire potential participants and educate them on how they can get involved, sustain interest in your event throughout its entirety, and finally thank participants and request feedback. The campaign should include both online and offline strategies, and utilize social media, email newsletters, school announcements, and community bulletin boards to spread the word about the event. Here are some options for the timing of your promotion, but check out our complete email strategy guide for a full analysis:

  1. 4 days prior to event: Introduce the fundraiser. Explain its purpose and benefits and encourage people to sign up.
  2. 1 day prior to event: Remind participants to join and encourage them to make first donation.
  3. Halfway through event: Build excitement. Share updates and remind them of prizes.
  4. 2 days before end of event: Inspire final push. Share more updates and motivate participants to reach goals.
  5. 1 day after end of event: Announce winners, share success stories, and express gratitude.
  6. 3 days after end of event: Ask for feedback from participants and volunteers.

Step 5: Execute the Event

Once you’ve planned and promoted your Math-A-Thon, it’s time to execute the event and ensure everything runs smoothly. ForOurSchool.org provides a user-friendly platform to manage your Math-A-Thon effectively. Follow these steps to set up and manage your Math-A-Thon event on ForOurSchool.org:

  1. Set up your Math-A-Thon: Visit ForOurSchool.org and register for a free account. Click “Set-up Fundraiser”, which will prompt you to enter details of your event, including date range, goals, leaderboard settings, and more. Follow our step-by-step guide for more info.
  2. Add payment method: Decide on how payment should be sent, either through PayPal or direct to your bank account. See our pricing page for more info.
  3. Add classes: Navigate to the “Classes” section within your event dashboard. Click on “Add Class” and enter the details for each participating class, including the grade and teacher.
  4. Invite Administrators and Teachers: Administrators can track progress of donations and problems solved, add sponsors, and promote the event using the provided flyers and images. Teachers can see the math games attempted and solved by their students and update students’ math level. Invite both administrators and teachers by providing them with a special administrator code available in the dashboard. Follow our step-by-step guide for more info.
  5. Invite Parents: Provide parents or guardians with your fundraiser code which is available in the administrator dashboard. Parents can then register for a free account, and set up profiles for their students.
  6. Add Sponsors: Each school and student gets a personalized donation page where friends and family can leave messages of support. At the bottom of those pages is a dedicated section for community partners, where schools can highlight and promote organizations that made a contribution to your fundraiser. You can add sponsors from the administrator dashboard.

Step 6: Gather Feedback and Comments

After the Math-A-Thon concludes, gather feedback from participants, parents, sponsors, and other stakeholders to evaluate the event’s success and identify areas for improvement. Utilizing free and user-friendly tools, such as Google Forms, can streamline the feedback collection process. Questions should be unbiased and neutral to gather objective feedback from participants, and, where applicable, use scales of 1 to 10 to quantify responses and limit the time commitment of respondents. The following are potential topics to cover in your feedback survey:

  1. Effectiveness of the Prize Structure: Determine which prize structure would have motivated participants more, such as grand prizes for top performers or smaller prizes for everyone meeting personal goals.
  2. Effectiveness of the Prizes: Assess whether specific prizes, such as an ice cream reward, incentivized participation in the event.
  3. Experience with the Platform: Evaluate participants’ experience with the online platform used for the Math-A-Thon, including ease of use and functionality.
  4. Open-Ended Questions: Allow respondents to provide additional comments or feedback on their overall experience with the event.

If you would like any assistance hosting a Math-A-Thon at your school or organization, contact us and we’d be happy to help get you started.

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