DIY colour powder fun run vs using Australian Fundraising
One fundraising coordinator's analysis

Choosing how to raise money for your school can be one of the biggest decisions of the year. Some fundraising committees choose to DIY their own colour powder fun run fundraisers, and others elect to use a company to support them along the way.

DIY colour powder fun run vs using Australian Fundraising featured image

DIY colour powder fun run vs using Australian Fundraising


  • School: Talara Primary College
  • Fundraising Coordinator: Elisha Dibben
  • Total Students: 1,100
  • DIY Net Fund Raised 2021: $12,000
  • Australian Fundraising Net Funds Raised 2022: $26,371
  • Australian Fundraising Total Funds Raised 2022: $45,311
  • Fundraising Event: Colour Explosion® School Run 4 Fun
  • Prize Selection: Traditional
  • Collection Process: Online plus Cash

Elisha Dibben is the Fundraising Coordinator for Talara Primary College, and has tried both DIY fundraising programs, as well as using a company. In this case study Elisha reveals her pros and cons of both, and why she ended up choosing Australian Fundraising.

Talara Primary College had a goal of raising $30,000 for the school and were considering how they were going to achieve this. Fun runs that involve colour powder always generate a lot of excitement and buzz from the students. Having done three school colour fun run events in the past including one DIY and two with a fundraising company, Elisha sat down and summarised the pros and cons of both.


Manpower is one of the biggest factors when it comes to running a fundraising event. While Talara Primary College has around 1,100 students, the fundraising committee is only made up of a handful of people that work full time. In the past when they ran a DIY colour powder fun run, it took a lot more time and effort from the volunteers. ‘Using a company like Australian Fundraising meant we didn’t have to think about the incentive prizes’ said Elisha.

‘It’s just so much easier to use Australian Fundraising when you have a small volunteer base – especially when those volunteers work full time.’

Incentive Prizes

Net proceeds comparison of a DIY colour powder fun run vs using Australian FundraisingThis then brings us to the next issue – managing incentive prizes. ‘The system we used for our DIY event meant for every $10 raised, the student got a raffle ticket with a corresponding prize. With 1,000 students at the school, it took a lot of manpower and up-front money for someone to go out and purchase all the incentive prizes and make sure they tallied up with the money raised. When we chose to use Australian Fundraising, we enforced the use of the fundraising platform for students to qualify for prizes. No online profile, no prize. If the students wanted a prize, their parents had to register them online to raise money. It only takes a few minutes, and we made it that was the only way they could redeem their prizes. This should not fall on volunteers shoulders – it has to be 100% on the parents. The system handles the prizes, and the students and parents control what they want.’

Amount Raised

Next, Elisha looked at how much the school wanted to raise, which involved two parts – firstly, the net amount raised once costs are taken out. ‘The biggest shock to the system is definitely the industry-standard 40% fee charged by a company, and that only 60% of the funds raised goes to the P&C. Once we understood what goes into that, and the additional money that can be raised online, we were able to go in eyes open. We converted the total funds to our net figure along the way so we knew what to expect.’

In the past, Elisha knew once everything was tallied up, the costs associated with running a DIY colour powder fun run were around 20%. This is why it’s important to consider the total amount raised. ‘Compared to doing our DIY colour powder fun run, we ended up netting way more with Australian Fundraising’s Colour Explosion even after the fee.

‘In 2021, our DIY fundraiser saw us net around $12,000 from a total of $15,000. When we used Australian Fundraising, we netted $58,551 ($62,105 if we could claim the GST back) over two years from a total of $97,636 raised,’ said Elisha.

Easy Fundraising

So why the big difference? This is the second part that you need to consider, which is the ease of collecting funds and helping to motivate the students to do it. ‘Using the online fundraising platform was just so much more effective than what we could do ourselves,’ said Elisha.

The tens of thousands of dollars that Australian Fundraising has invested in the fundraising platform means it’s not only easy to raise funds online, but it meets the highest cyber safety standards.

“Hosting a Colour Explosion with Australian Fundraising saw us raise over 120% more net proceeds than we did previously with a DIY model, even after costs.”

Cyber Safety

Australian Fundraising’s programs have achieved a compliant result with the Safer Technologies for Schools initiative (ST4S). ST4S is a nationally consistent risk assessment approach which assesses services for information security, privacy, online safety, and interoperability requirements. All of the funds collected are processed using a Tier 1 PCI compliant platform, and at the end of the year, all the data is deleted. The gamification makes it fun for the students to raise money, and fundraising coordinators can easily communicate with parents and students.


The next element to consider is the inclusions. Elisha mentioned it was important to ‘be aware of what you’re signing up for. Some companies may appear to charge less, but you pay for it somewhere else.
With some companies you don’t get as many freebies for the event or they charge you for extra. Other companies may seem cheaper on the surface using an entry fee model, but they take the whole entry fee for themselves, and the school only gets a portion of the funds raised over and above that.

‘At least with Australian Fundraising if a student raises $10, we know we get $6 excluding GST (or $5.60 if you can’t claim the GST),’ said Elisha.

‘Part of the inclusions we found to be invaluable were the marketing materials that are supplied,’ said Elisha. ‘The marketing templates were really helpful. We were able to get in and schedule all of the posts with the images and wording provided.

The kids loved getting the prize books to figure out what they wanted for their prizes. Then there were the extra incentives that were supplied. The prizes for the highest fundraising student, slime for a ‘slime the principal’ fundraising incentive, and all the glasses, headbands and crew kits were fantastic.’


Elisha said they were also able to access some inflatables which made the day a huge success. ‘It’s important to set a date for your event and stick to it, as there are only so many inflatables to go around.
I know the inflatables are only available in South East Queensland, Sydney Metro, and Melbourne Metro on a first-in-best-dressed basis, so the earlier you can get in and set a definite date, the better your chance of locking them in. They are definitely worth it if you can get in early enough.’

Colour Powder

Last but not least, there is the powder to consider. Australian Fundraising’s genuine colour powder that comes pre-packaged in recyclable bottles makes coordinating the event so much easier.
‘The pre-filled bottles were 100000% better than DIY, and the powder was a much better quality,’ said Elisha. ‘We didn’t get organised early enough to pre-register and access the bonus 50% powder, but we have done that already to be sure we get it next time.’

Elisha commented that overall she ‘found the company experience to be better now we know what to expect, and after having a go ourselves we would never go back. Sure, sometimes parts of the process can be a little tricky to navigate, like distributing the prizes, but in the end it’s worth it.

‘I chose Australian Fundraising because of all the extra things I was able to get as part of the package. They had the best offer so we went with them,’ said Elisha.

Elisha’s Top Tips

Here are some tips that Elisha found to be beneficial when they ran their Colour Explosion School Run 4 Fun with Australian Fundraising:

  1. Set a minimum participation fee of $10 raised through the online platform. The kids get a prize and the school gets at least $5.60 per student that participates. We find a way to make sure that students who may be at a financial disadvantage don’t miss out.
  2. Work with the school and run it on a school day to maximise participation.
  3. Set goals and rewards. We set a fundraising goal and when we smashed it all the kids got ice blocks on the day.
  4. Promote, promote, and then promote some more. You have to build to hype. We used Facebook, sent a letter home, put something in the newsletter, and put the banner on the fence. Some schools also use their senior students each week to go from class to class to talk about the day and show off some of the prizes.
  5. Reward the top fundraiser/s with a ‘money can’t buy’ experience like sliming the principal! The kids loved that! Our principal pretended to be going to a really important meeting and put on clothes specially for the sliming. The kids couldn’t believe their eyes when he got slimed. It’s always a great way to motivate students to raise money.
  6. Even though online fundraising is preferred, some students were still given cash. We got them to enter it into their profile page and hand the cash it into office in an envelope. It gets placed into a locked box, and then volunteers come in and reconcile it against the student’s profile. As a final check we then go through and verify cash at the end. If there appears to be an issue, we contact the parents to confirm it.
  7. Have a fun course for them to run. We had nine stations, with a mix of wet, dry and genuine colour powder to keep the kids interested.
  8. Get lots of footage so you can share and promote your next event as well.
  9. It’s a good idea to run it over the whole day in stages. Students ran for 30-40 minutes on the course in Year level groups, with six groups over the course of the day. It gives the parents a good opportunity to socialise with each other and support their children. It makes it a real community event.
  10. Get lots of parent helpers on the day to share the load.
  11. NB. Colour Run is a trademarked term, so be sure to avoid calling it this.
  12. Some schools rent a foam canon. It’s not cheap, but makes for a huge amount of excitement for the day, and doesn’t damage the oval.
  13. To ensure your product lasts the whole day, allocate powder to each of the sessions and across the colour stations. If there’s any left over at the end of the day, you can do a big finale photo by opening the colour powder bottles and throwing what’s left of the powder in the air.


February 20, 2023

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