Thursday, April 24, 2014

Planning a Color Run and Raffle

This is take 2 of the How to Plan a 5K fundraiser post from a few years ago.  The 2014 Driving Jacks 5K and raffle raised just over $8,000 via a color run and raffle.  These are a few things we did to make our color run and raffle successful. 

Note:  This is a supplemental post on how to plan the Color Run and Raffle portion of the 5K.  If you want to know how to plan a 5K in general, go to the post above. ^^^^^^

Edit:  I have now created an entire website about planning a 5K and also ebook with forms, spreadsheets and sponsor packets.  Go to to purchase the ebook to have access to the forms we used (including a bonus section about creating color runs)

A few other changes for the 2014 race
1.  We had three categories this year:  A timed 5K (not typical at color runs, but added participants), a non-timed 5K, and a Sleep In and Hit Snooze Option-best idea ever!  These are the people who wanted to donate to the 5K, but couldn't make it that day.  We mailed them their official 5K shirt after the race.  The price was the same as the color run ($20).

2.  The volunteers had tie-dye shirts this year instead of purple ones.  They also had to sell at least $30 in raffle tickets to get a tie-dye shirt.

3.  We changed the route up this year and people loved it!  The same route each year gets boring, this year it went through the azalea trail at SFA.

4.  Social media-this year we created a FB page for people to "like".  In the past, we have always created events on FB, this time we created an actual page.  Go here to like us! :)

5.  We had a sign for the participants to take pictures in front of that was donated. Loved it!

Color Run F.A.Q.

Did you need a lot of volunteers?
We planned the 5K the exact same way as a regular 5K, but instead of needing volunteers for a water station only, we needed them for throwing color on the patrons.  We had about 6-7 volunteers at each station, and two stations had 1-2 people at the water stops (just before the participants got to the color station).

Edit:  I have now created an entire website about planning a 5K and also ebook with forms, spreadsheets and sponsor packets. 

Can we make the color?
Well, we started to make it, but that was a disaster!  While it was drying, it got mold on it and we couldn't use it.  Making your own is MUCH cheaper, but you have to do it correctly, or it will be a waste of time/money.  To give you an idea, to make 150 lbs of color powder, it would have been $100, but to buy it, it cost us $675.  I am not 100% sure why ours didn't turn out, but I think it had something to do with the water/food color/powder consistency and/or that we stored it in a garage.  If you do make it, I would suggest leaving it in a temperature controlled room without a lot of moisture to avoid the mold growth like ours had.  Also, when we did make it, we went to a food supplier and bought 50 lb bags of corn starch and then added water/food coloring.  You can buy corn starch at Wal-Mart for $1/lb, but we got ours for $20/50 lbs-see a difference?  Make a small batch before you decide if it is worth your time and effort.  We watched a Youtube video on how to make it.

So, where did you buy the color then?
We bought ours through Chameleon Colors.  They were nice, professional, and shipped it to us in a short amount of time.  They already have boxes of it made, so we didn't have to wait.

How much color do we need?
We had about a lb per participant.  I researched it and it said anywhere from 1-2 lbs per person.  We found that 1 lb was plenty for all of participants and we even had some left over!  We had a 25 lb unopened box and a little bit of other color as well that we used for the fight at the end.

Did you have a fight at the end?
Yes, in the registration packets we gave all the participants a snack size ziplock bag of color.  Plus, we had the leftover color from the color station in a pile in the middle.  There was a HUGE cloud of color.  Some runs have a color cannon, but we just had them throw it at each other in a 'fight'.

Did you give your participants some in a goodie bag?
Yes, we made snack size ziplock bags of color and gave it to the participants in their goodie bag.  They sell color packs where you can buy them already pre-made, but we decided that we didn't need to buy them.  They were 'fancy' and we were a small race that didn't need all of that.  We added about a handful or two to each ziplock.

Did the color come out of the shirts?
We had a info sheet on how to get rid of the color that we put in their participant bags.  I just googled how to get the color out and typed it up in word.  I am not sure if it came out, I stayed away from all that color! :)

Was the cleanup bad?
We had four color stations, 1 was easy, 2 were ok, and 1 was a nightmare.  3 of them we put a plastic tarp down to minimize the mess.  We got a roll of it at Home Depot for around $20.  We laid it down on the ground and duct taped it.  The volunteers were on each side, throwing the color.  It helped the mess A LOT!  At the first stop we were able to use a leaf blower to clean up and it was a breeze.  The next two had a few patches that we poured water on, but the last stop was a disaster. They didn't have a plastic sheet down and the color was everywhere!  I know that if we didn't have a sheet down on all of them, it would have been a lot worse.  We used the left over water from the water station buckets to clean it up, and then refilled them instead of lugging around a water hose.  We also had a push broom to help clean up.

What supplies did you buy specifically for the color portion of the race?
We bought plastic sheet roll that is super thin (sort of like those restaurant glove material) to keep the mess minimized.  We also bought squeeze bottles (6 for $5 at Sam's) to throw the color and a push broom for clean up (we actually borrowed that).  Plus the color too.

Did you have a timed start?
Most color runs do not have a timing system, they just say start and you finish when you finish.  I am a runner myself (and love giving out awards) and we figured we would get  lot of registrations having both a timed and non-timed race.  It was an added expense $800, but it worked out.

Where did you get the awards?
OMG!  Aren't they awesome?  I wanted something custom made this year, so I looked on Etsy and found a seller that makes custom awards.  His name is John and his site is called I Love Geocaching and he is AWESOME to work with. We got them in the shape of Texas and there is a cutout heart where Nacogdoches is, plus our logo.  I added a lime green ribbon to make them into ornaments.  We also used Crown Trophy to make some plaques for us for the overall winners.
Did everyone wear the same shirt?
We had the participants wear their white participant shirt (or any white shirt they wanted), but the volunteers had tie-dye shirts to wear.  We bought the shirts directly from the manufacture since it would cost about double for the screen printing company to provide them.

Edit:  I have now created an entire website about planning a 5K and also ebook with forms, spreadsheets and sponsor packets. 

Raffle F.A.Q.'s
How many raffle items did you have?
I believe it was around 44.

How did you get raffle items?
We made a list of the people we wanted to donate and then sent them a letter telling them about Driving Jacks and asked for the donation.  We mailed/dropped off/emailed about 140 requests and got back about 50 raffle donations plus sponsors.  A lot of them were people we knew that wanted to donate and who had businesses or worked at businesses.  People to ask are friends to sell items (like Mary Kay, Scentsy, etc), sports teams, tourist attractions in the area, restaurants, etc.

Who did you sell to?
Everyone!  We ran out of time, otherwise we would have set up a table at a grocery store or Walmart type store.  We mainly sold them to our friends and family.  I personally sold about $400 in tickets, the top person sold almost $700.  I tried to post about it on my personal FB page about once a week.

How many people sold raffle tickets?
Ummmm.  About 30?  I am not sure, but that sounds about right.

What were you 'big' items or top prizes?
An Apple iPad (donated) and a GoPro Camera (bought)

Where did you keep the tickets?
We had a raffle drum that I borrowed from my stepmom. I didn't want to buy one just for this event, but I am glad we had one.  I think you can get them for about $100 online, but a lot of elementary schools or car dealerships have them-ask if you can borrow one.

Did you give your top sellers any prizes?
We purchased three gift cards for the top two in sales ($50 and $25) and one random winner ($25). In order to be in the contest, you had to sell over $30 in tickets.

Who drew the winners?
We had someone who did not buy  tickets or sell tickets draw the names.  I didn't want someone to think it was rigged or anything, so we chose someone who didn't have anything to do with the tickets.  We also recorded it for anyone to see (just in case).

Where and when did you host the raffle?
The drawing was held at 11 am the day of the race.  We had time to finish cleaning up and then head to the office to draw.  I didn't want to lug all the prizes to the start/finish area and then worry about the wind and stuff.  It was easier to keep it all in one place.

What did you tickets say?
The State of TX is very specific about what needs to be on the tickets, I'm sure other states do as well.  I would check what your state requires.  Our tickets had our name, date and time of raffle, address, official rules, and the prize listing on one section.

Were you able to get ahold or everyone?
Yep!  We just called the number on the slip.  We did leave some voicemails, but they called back right away.  You always call back quickly when you win something!  It also helps to call everyone, leave messages if you have to, and then go back to the ones who you left messages for.  If they see a number a few times, they figure it is someone important.

Did you buy any raffle prizes?
We only bought one item, the GoPro Camera, all others were donated.  We needed to get the tickets printed and at that time we only had one 'big' item donated, so we voted to buy the other big item.  Some organizations buy all of their big items, but we only needed to buy one.

How much did you end up making from the raffle?
I am not sure the exact totals for the raffle.  We had sponsorships and registration fees to add up, but then expenses. It's hard to tell.  I do believe that without the raffle, we would have had a lot less profit, probably only about $3,000-$4,000 instead of $8,000.  (that could be bad math though!)

Where did you buy the raffle tickets?  Did you make them?
I got them online through a printer.  We order 4,000 of them and sold probably about 2,500-3,000. I don't have the exact totals in front of me.  We spent (with shipping) about $175 on the tickets.  I didn't want to print them ourselves because by the time we created them, bought the paper and ink, etc., we would have just spent that time on something else.  It is an expense, but worth it.

Edit:  I have now created an entire website about planning a 5K and also ebook with forms, spreadsheets and sponsor packets. 


  1. Hi I'm Lillian and Im so happy that you did a color run fundraiser. I need some guidance because I'm holding one too. This isalready helpful but I have some other questions. Please email me at!!!

    1. Lillian,

      If you read the other post ( on how to plan a 5K, most of your questions will be answered. If you have any specific questions that aren't answered in that post, please feel free to email me at steph53282 (at) yahoo dot com

  2. I Stephanie
    I'am so happy Y'all were successful in the color run, currently I'am a HIghschool senior and class treasurer I'm organizing a color run to raise funds for our prom, I was wondering if you could help me out with a few questions I had please feel free to email me @ valdejua001@ mysbisd. org

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