PTA's first colour run is a big hit!

Key summary

Having recently moved into a new purpose-built building, Friends of Three Rivers needed to help the school raise as much money as possible to fund the purchase of new equipment. Having asked pupils for some fundraising ideas, the result was a hugely successful colour run, which raised £2,500. We asked PTA Chair, Maggie Flannigan, to share her tips and insight into how they did it…

Three Rivers Academy has a very active PTA, which, with PTA Chair Maggie at the helm for seven years, has successfully run many fundraising events.

“We’ve recently moved into a brand new school building but unfortunately, some of the things on the ‘wish list’ had to go due to budget cuts. The school asked for our help with ideas for some serious fundraising. They wanted to involve the students so we asked them for ideas as well,” explains Maggie.

“Quite a number of students mentioned the idea of a colour run. It wasn’t something I was familiar with, so I did some extensive research online. I searched for schools and charities, which had held colour runs and pulled together a plan that I thought would work for us. The Parentkind website also had lots of useful information.

“The school was keen for us to promote the colour run as a local community event – so it had to have a professional look and feel as we were showcasing our new school. From my research I knew this was going to be costly but we were determined to try and keep the entry costs as low as possible to encourage families to take part.”


Maggie says that the PTA produced a cost analysis and approached a number of local businesses, which were already supporters of the school, to sponsor the event.

“Having worked out our costs to host the colour run, we knew how much we needed to raise through sponsorship to ensure entry prices were kept to a minimum while still raising funds for the school. We offered local businesses banner advertising on our PTA Events website and logos on the runner’s numbers.”

PTA Events

“We signed up to PTA Events two years ago when we organised a large alumni reunion to raise funds for the new school, so I knew it would be perfect for the colour run registration process.”

As all entrants were required to pre-register and sign T&Cs prior to taking part in the colour run, Maggie says that this was all made possible through PTA Events: “Neither the PTA nor the school had the admin time to pre-register all the entries or process the payments manually, so we managed everything through our PTA Events website. Without it, we wouldn’t have been able to entertain doing something on this scale.

“Using PTA Events gave us the added benefit of monitoring entry take up prior to the event and also provided an opportunity to sell event merchandise, including wigs and tutus.”

Quite simply, without PTA Events we wouldn’t consider organising an event like our recent colour run. It was absolutely invaluable when it came to monitoring numbers, pre-registering runners and taking payment for tickets.

Community Event

Maggie says that apart from the fundraising element, the school was keen for the event to be enjoyed by the whole community. “That’s why it was important to us that if felt and looked really professional; we provided runners’ packs for every entrant, which included a bag, t-shirt, wristband, coloured powder for the mass colour throw at the start, a running number and finishers’ medal.”

The Colour Run

With all hands on deck, a 2 x 2.5km lapped route was marked out around the school playing field, complete with four colour stations where Colour Bandits (parents and staff!) threw coloured powder at the runners.

The atmosphere was fantastic. We had a zumba style work out to music before the run started, culminating in a huge colour throw. Of the 262 runners who took part, around half were students, which was great to see.

“We raised the fantastic sum of £2,500 that has gone towards the purchase of theatre-style bleacher seating for the new school hall, which was installed over the summer holidays.”

Maggie says that the feedback has been so positive on all fronts: “It was a huge success and we’ve had lovely comments about how professional and well organised it was. What was also great was the amount of engagement we had with the local community; the number of posts on social media was incredible and filtered through to the wider community too, which is really positive for the school.

“We’ve committed to hosting another colour run next year and we’re already promoting this on PTA Events – so no pressure!”

A PTA Events platform is now a Parentkind member benefit - find out how to sign up.

Practical tips:

- The PTA Events platform is ideal for events like this – we couldn’t have done it without its online ticketing / payment facility. We’ve taken the annual paid-for option from the start as this enables us to earn revenue from advertising income

- Put together a budget and marketing planner. Approach local businesses and offer them sponsorship opportunities e.g. banner at the event and/ or sponsor logos on merchandise

- Do your research. The Internet has a wealth of information about Colour Runs and associated merchandise – check out the Parentkind advice hub and  

- Consider omitting the date/year from your merchandise, so that you can reuse it for a future event

- Stagger the start to allow for the serious runners to get away first

- Remind everyone it’s not a timed race; they can run, jog or walk and will still have great fun

Fact File
  • PTA name: Friends of Three Rivers
  • School name: Three Rivers Academy
  • Age range: 11-18
  • Country: England
  • School type: Secondary school
  • Size: 917

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