Step by step guide

The best way to host a colour fun run fundraiser

Hosting a colour powder fun run fundraiser

Australian Fundraising has helped schools raise over $150 million since 1999, and during that time we’ve learned a lot.

The best way to host a colour fun run featured image

The best way to host a colour fun run

Thinking of hosting a Colour Fun Run? Here are 17 steps to consider when running a Colour Fun Run, either yourself, or with a professional fundraising company, like Australian Fundraising.

Step 1 – Come up with a name for your event

Have you thought about a creative name for your Colour Fun Run? You need to be mindful that Colour Run™ is trademarked, therefore we strongly recommend not using these words to promote your event, otherwise you can get into strife.

At Australian Fundraising, our school fun run programs that include genuine, colour powder are the Colour Explosion® and the Colour Splatacular® School Run 4 Fun Programs and can be used to promote your fundraiser, with prior consent from Australian Fundraising.

Step 2 – Create a plan

Come up with a plan to ensure the success of your Colour Fun Run. This involves making decisions about:

  1. The purpose of the fundraising event
  2. Setting a goal
  3. Decide on the event budget
  4. The target audience that will be involved
  5. Get businesses onside
  6. Find your volunteers and get them on board – BE SURE TO INCLUDE SOMEONE TO PHOTOGRAPH THE EVENT
  7. Guide students in best-practice sponsorship requests
  8. Preparing the event set-up
  9. The marketing and communication strategy
  10. Deciding on a sales strategy
  11. Doing a practice run.

More information on this can be found here at our blog ‘Planning a Successful Fundraiser’.

An important part of planning your practice run is knowing who is responsible for what, and communicating that with them. You will need volunteers for setting up the obstacles, manning your colour stations, maybe blowing the powder off the kids after they’ve run, then taking it all down.

Step 3 – Source your genuine colour powder

Once you have your plan in place, you need to source genuine, Indian colour powder. Not all colour powders are made the same; even in some circumstances, some Australian wholesalers were importing colour powder from China, made of alcohol-based colouring making them extremely flammable and unsafe.

The Indian colour powder we supply is made from corn starch and food-grade colouring, making it completely harmless to participant’s skin and eyes. We have easily accessible safety data sheets for you to determine if there are any potential issues for participants that may have a specific health challenge.

Step 4 – How much colour powder do you need?

We’ve found some schools go through powder quicker than others. Generally, our calculation is to average out 100 grams of genuine colour powder per student participating. When a school pre-registers with Australian Fundraising for the following year, we throw in an extra 50 grams making it 150 grams per student of genuine colour powder, which definitely makes it more enjoyable for the kids.

Step 5 – Safety gear for participants

Safety gear is something you should consider for your event. While the powder is non-toxic and edible, you should avoid the participant’s faces. That’s why for every event we host, we supply free sunglasses and headbands to every participant.

inclusions in a colour powder fun run

Sun safety is also important, so be sure to remind your students to pack in their sunscreen and apply one hour before they run.

Part of your initial planning will include making sure a consent form is supplied to parents and guardians, allowing them the option to choose whether their child participates or not. This may be a simple yes/no, or an option to participate but not be sprayed with colour powder when they wear a specific-coloured shirt (eg a red shirt).

Step 6 – How will you fundraise?

This is undoubtedly the most important part of this whole process, and is the reason why you are spending your time organising this. There are several options here:

  1. Charge an entry fee for participants
  2. Get students to fundraise by collecting cash
  3. Use a cyber-secure online platform to fundraise using online donations.

Charging an entry fee can work for some, but not for others. A school with 1,000 students might charge $10 entry, raising $10,000 gross – less the costs to put the event on.

The biggest issues are how much do you charge considering expenses, do you stop kids running that don’t pay the entry fee, and how much do you want to raise after you deduct expenses.

Getting students to fundraise makes raising money easier. Cash only is an option, though this does create headaches as well. Not everyone seems to carry cash these days. You then also have to make someone responsible at the school to collect and count all the cash contributed, ensuring that it matches the donation. The other consideration is that today, it’s not the safest thing for children to go door-knocking asking for cash donations.

Online fundraising from a cyber-secure platform is by far the easiest way to do this. If you were to set this up yourself, you need to consider how the site will be hosted securely, adding the correct security credentials, matching the money deposited up with the students that are fundraising, and then paying whatever fees are necessary for each transaction.

This is not impossible to do yourself, but let’s face it – who has the time to do that. Australian Fundraising has taken the back-breaking work out of that for you, and gives our clients transaction-free access to this Australian owned and operated cyber-secure platform that meets international security standards for monetary transactions. It also means that family and friends that live in other towns can easily donate with a single link click.

Step 7 – Letting everyone know

Promote, promote, promote. This is one of the most important steps that shouldn’t be overlooked when you’re fundraising. When we work with fundraising coordinators at Australian Fundraising, we provide a whole suite of social media templates, promotional posters, kick off videos, assembly announcements, school newsletter updates, sponsorship booklet for each student, huge vinyl banners for the front fence, goal posters to track the progress, and send updates through the online platform.

Whether you choose to do some or all of these things yourself, one thing we know for sure is that the amount of promotion you do directly impacts your fundraising total. You can end up with much more than what you thought was possible by simply being proactive about promoting your event.

Step 8 – Communicating with the parents and guardians

It is important to communicate regularly with parents and let them know what will be supplied, and what they need to ensure their child has. For example, parents may need to supply:

  • an old or cheap white shirt for the day
  • sunscreen
  • a towel to sit on in the car on the way home.

Parents should be made aware that the food-colouring in the powder may stain the clothes even after they have washed. But that’s the whole point of a Colour Fun Run – to get as messy as possible.

If parents or guardians want their child to run but not get covered in powder, consider allocating a specific coloured shirt on the day (eg. a red shirt) and let everyone know what this means. This allows the students to participate and not feel left out.

It’s also advisable to send home a note to parents that let them know the following:

Make sure parents know the date and time of the event so they can mark it on their calendar.


  • sunglasses
  • headband
  • genuine colour powder


  • an old or cheap white shirt for the day
  • sunscreen
  • a towel to sit on in the car on the way home.


  1. Don’t shake off the excess colour powder
  2. Lay your shirt flat and spray and soak it in white vinegar
  3. Keep your shirt flat until it dries
  4. Use a hot iron to set the colour in the shirt
  5. Turn the shirt inside out and toss it in the dryer


Most of the time the colour powder will simply wash out without any effort. First, dust or blow off as much powder as possible before washing. Wash the affected clothes separately in cold water. If it doesn’t wash out the first time, don’t put it in the dryer. Try some stain remover (like Napisan) or bleach (white clothes only) and wash for a second time. While this works most of the time, this is why we recommend old or expendable clothes as a precaution.


For students with very light-coloured hair, it is possible that the colour powder will stain their hair for a few days following your colour powder fun run.

We found that if they rub coconut oil through their hair before they run it will help to wash the colour powder out later under cold water. Of course, wearing something to cover all their hair is another good idea if students do not want to walk around with rainbow hair post-event.

Step 9 – Incentivising the students

Fundraising should be a positive and rewarding experience, and incentives can work well for this. It could be prizes for certain amounts of money raised, pizza parties for classes that raise the most, letting the highest fundraisers slime obliging teachers or the principal, or rewards for people that help spread your message far and wide that you are raising money.

At Australian Fundraising we have found that different schools tend to want different options for this. Most of the schools and groups we work with tend to choose from our traditional or automated prizes based on how much is raised. Sometimes the reward at $100 can be just enough to get someone to find the extra $10 if they’re sitting at $90 of funds.

Step 10 – Monitoring the success of the fundraiser

If you choose to go the route of the online cyber-safe platform, you have the option to stay updated on the progress of your fundraiser. People love to follow and track the results, and sharing how much has been raised can sometimes be an incentive itself for people to find those few extra donations. It’s your choice to make the leaderboard of results visible to encourage a little more friendly rivalry amongst classes.

Step 11 – Designing the obstacle course for the day

Creating a small course on your oval is the best way to manage this, with an obvious start and finish. Post volunteers at each obstacle to spray the students with colour powder as they run through. Generally, we recommend a good length for the course is between 200m and 300m. This makes it easier for the younger participants, and condenses the fun with less distance between each obstacle making it much more enjoyable.
There are as many ideas for obstacles as there are colour powder combinations. Your day could be wet or dry! You could use hay bales, tyres, slip’n’slides, hanging pool noodles, nets to crawl under, inflatables to go over or under, running on high jump mats, jumping over hurdles or upturned bike racks, stepping through rope ladders … the options are endless.
Because the colour powder we use is non-toxic food-grade corn starch it will wash off, however there is an option to treat the shirt that’s worn so the colour remains there for as long as possible as a memento. You can
get more information here.

Step 12 – How many laps should they do

Depending on the size of your obstacle course, that is completely up to the students once they get started. The more times the students run around the course, the more colour they get on them. Some want to bail early, and some want to stay out there forever. We’ve found it best recommending a few laps or whatever equates to around 10-15 minutes, with a maximum of 30 minutes. Then, if they want to retire early they can, or they can stay out there for the entire time.

Step 13 – Choosing the running order

A Colour Fun Run event such as the Colour Explosion® is a great opportunity for the school to get together along with any family and community members that wish to participate.

Having the entire school on the oval may be easier for some depending on the size of the school. With the thousands of schools Australian Fundraising has worked with, we’ve found the best option is:

  1. Pair up Year 6’s with Prep students to show them the way. Once the Prep students retire from the fun run, the Year 6’s could then do a lap of honour as it is their last primary school year.
  2. Pairing up Year 5’s with Year 1’s is also good. The children in Year 1 still may not have a strong enough understanding of the obstacle course to know exactly where to go.
  3. The rest of the year levels should be old enough to go through the obstacle course on their own.

If any students want to participate but don’t want to be covered in powder, let them know to wear a different coloured shirt, and that they should go around the colour stations.

Step 14 – Ways to distribute the powder

Having the powder is one thing, but dispersing it is another. We have found it best to have around two to three responsible volunteers spraying the runners with the colour powder at designated colour stations. These volunteers will need to know to point the powder from the shoulders down, and not to spray at anyone’s head. Australian Fundraising provides the colour powder in bottles ready to squirt – you simply remove the cap and get going.

If you decide to add a water component to the day, you could choose to give colour stations access to hoses, setup sprinklers, or get the local fire brigade involved for a larger effect.

It’s important to remind volunteers on the colour stations that students with a specific coloured shirt (eg a red shirt) should not be sprayed with colour powder.

Step 15 – The day before the event

This is a good opportunity to make sure everyone understands the plan and is on board. Once you have mapped out the plan for the day in consultation with the Principal or Deputy Principal, be sure to send it to everyone involved. This might include a quick catch-up with everyone in person or via Zoom to ensure they know the order of events, when they’ll need to arrive, and what is expected of them. Email them the final approved order of events, and once again thank them for helping you make this a wonderful event.

Remind the participants and their parents that the event is on tomorrow, and they need to bring their white shirt, sun screen, and a hat.

Step 16 – On the day of your colour run

Based on your Order of Events, get the setup crew there early to ensure there’s no rush. This might be approximately two hours before the event to allow for any contingencies. Distribute the colour powder amongst all the colour stations evenly, with a big note on the box reminding people of a certain shirt colour that is not to be sprayed with powder.

Once this is done, the classes will start to turn up. Get the Year 6’s down first so you can walk them around the obstacle course. This way they will know when they are first to run with the Prep students. Once all the other classes turn up, the Principal can address the students, parents and broader community. This is a great time to let the school know how much money they have raised, congratulate them on their efforts, publicly thank the volunteers, and how it will proceed.

Step 17 – After the event

Now the event is over, this is when you need to make sure you have collected and accounted for all the cash raised. If there are prizes to be given out, this will need to be given out. Australian Fundraising will do this automatically for you, but if you are organising your own fundraiser, you will need to do this yourself.

Be sure to send thank you notes to all the volunteers, along with any pictures they may be in.

Prepare a post for social media, the website, and in the newsletter thanking everyone, letting them know how much was raised, and how and when the funds will be used.

After distributing all the prizes, you can take a well-earned rest. At some point it would be a good idea to talk to people involved and get their input on any ways you can improve it for next year.

What some of our fundraising coordinators have said:

“I didn’t believe the hype about how successful the Colour Explosion would be. In the past we’ve tried all sorts of fundraising ideas ourselves – putting in lots of effort with very little return. Our Account Manager Nat gave us some great tools to promote the event. I was amazed by the amount of money the students raised, especially online. Thank you Australian Fundraising for helping us to raise more than we thought possible.” – Nigel R, Quinns Rocks Primary School

“What was a $7,000 walkathon is now a $24,000 net profit Colour Explosion.” – Melanie S, P&F President, Langwarrin Park Primary School

“This is by far the best, most effective fundraiser I have run in 10 years of fundraising. The effort put in to the result achieved is fantastic. I have run many other events where it has taken much more effort to nowhere near the same amount raised. It is also a great event to bring a whole school community together.” – Beck Holloway, Chaplain, Undurba State School

“Being able to raise the money online made it much easier, and we’re delighted we raised an extra $15,673 over previous years. The platform was easy to use, students had a ball, parents were happy, and choosing the automated prize option meant less work for us.” – Belinda W, Bacchus Marsh Primary School

What to do now

Now it’s time to make a simple decision – whether you’d like to organise a colour run yourself or use Australian Fundraising. Your first step – get all the facts.
Feel free to reach out to us to get a FREE information kit, or call us on 1300 133 022.

February 1, 2023

Our Partners

Ready to Book Your Fundraiser?

Are you ready to make the better choice for fundraising? From big profits to incredible one-on-one support, you will receive everything you need to succeed when you choose Australian Fundraising. Request a free information kit or get started today!