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Zumba for the Club

With a certified Zumba instructor in its ranks, the Edwards-Knox (Russell, N.Y.) Central School Booster Club decided to hold a fundraiser featuring this upbeat exercise activity. 

In Russell, N.Y., about 60 people danced up a sweat while raising money for the Edwards-Knox Central School Booster Club. The event was a Zumba luau held in the school gym, with raffles and refreshments, too.

When booster club member Kim French, who is also a certified Zumba instructor, suggested the idea, it was an easy decision for the club. "One of my friends and I teach a Zumba class that's held at the local school," says French.  "As a result, we've done several Zumba-based fundraisers for other groups in the community. So when we suggested having one for the booster club, the idea went over really well."

While it was in the beginning stages of planning, the club decided to include a theme, to add to the event's atmosphere. "Having a theme can boost enthusiasm and attendance," French says. "We had a luau because it's summery and fun. It also gave us a lot of options for decorating, because the stores were just getting their summer items in stock when we were preparing for the event."

The club started planning about a month in advance, with the most time-intensive tasks being lining up donated food in order to offer free snacks and bottled water, seeking donations for the raffle, and finding volunteers. "There were a lot of volunteer positions to be filled: an MC, people to collect money, and someone who would sell our booster club's school spirit wear at the event," says French. "Organizing things like that that took several hours."

The club promoted the Zumba luau through the school's phone system and morning announcements, by advertising on a local online news source for the community, and asking Zumba instructors to mention it during their classes. French also put up posters. "I have an uncle who works with industrial-sized printers and he made some posters for us that we put up around the school," she says. "They were about eight-feet wide, so they really caught people's attention."
 
On the night of the event, setting up involved decorating the school gym and the instructors' sound equipment. Once it was started, the Zumba luau lasted about two hours, and was led by five certified Zumba instructors, who all worked on a volunteer basis.
 
"Most of the instructors in our area are more than willing to volunteer their time for fundraising events," French says. "It's a good way to interact with the community and promote your sessions, but it's also an extra chance to do a class. We do it because we really enjoy the exercise. But we also have a lot of fun with the social aspect--it's like leading a dance party."
 
There were no required fees to attend the Zumba luau, but rather a recommended donation of $5 per person. If an attendee came with luau-themed accessories, they received a free raffle ticket. Otherwise, the raffle tickets were sold for $1 each, or 15 for $5. The raffle included gift baskets and other items that were donated by community members and local business, bringing in about $200, which added to the $450 raised in entrance donations.
 
If another club is interested in holding a similar fundraiser, French suggests finding a connection within the network of Zumba instructors, and working closely with him or her to plan the logistics of the event. "The instructors know more about the timing of things, and what's needed in terms of the basics for holding a successful class," she says. "They can also get in touch with other instructors, who can lead sessions.

"The club will need to find an open space that has a lot of room for people to move around and a good sound system," French continues. "Then it's up to the club to decide if it wants to include any extras, like a raffle or a theme."



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