This month, both UNC’s and Penn State’s dance marathons boasted record-breaking participation.
And though UNC Dance Marathon was inspired by Penn State’s version, their bottom lines aren’t exactly comparable: UNC Dance Marathon raised $483,210.36 for the N.C. Children’s Hospital with 2,000 dancers, while Penn State raised $10.68 million for a children’s hospital with only 700 dancers.
So what are they doing that we’re not? For starters, the Penn State Dance Marathon, colloquially called THON, capitalizes on alumni, community and corporate support.
UNC Dance Marathon gets most of its donations from the $150 pledge each participant, or “dancer,” must make in order to participate. Dancers then split into teams that plan fundraisers to raise their share.
This is a great foundation, but UNC Dance Marathon has failed to diversify fundraising, and results reflect this lack of innovation.
More than $1 million of the funds THON raised were from corporate donors, sponsors and matching. With 13 years of enthusiasm to its name, UNC Dance Marathon has more than enough alumni awareness to reach out to professionals.
Penn State’s THON also includes other campuses in the state school system to raise funds. UNC Dance Marathon could benefit greatly from using a similar model. After all, the N.C. Children’s Hospital serves patients all over the state.
As it celebrates 13 years of accomplishments, UNC Dance Marathon should resolve to be bigger and better next year.