How To Plan a Color Run

How to Plan a Color Run with Chameleon Colors

Color runs are great ways to raise money for important causes and charities, fundraise for schools, or just have a blast with a ton of people. If you’ve never planned a color run, or even if you have, we have some tips to make sure this color run doesn’t turn into a kaleidoscope of chaos. 

How do I begin planning a successful Color Run? 

STEP 1: Decide how long your course will be.

You can use a running route planner to help select a course near your location. If your event is for a younger population you may consider a shorter course. Or for an older or more athletic community you may choose to host a 5K color run. Whatever distance you feel works best for your participants, the elements of a successful event are the same and we will help you scale them to ensure your event is successful.

STEP 2 - Decide how many color stations you want on the course. 

If you’ve decided to host a 5k run, a course is usually laid out with 3-5 color powder stations set up with volunteers who will throw powder on the participants as they run by the color station.  A smaller run may have less stations depending on how much color you want to disperse on your runners.  A color station is usually a small table on either side of the course with color powder.  Depending on the number of runners you have participating, you’ll need to get about 2-4 volunteers per station to actively throw powder on your racers as they pass by. 

Each station usually consists of one color.  For example if you have 3 color stations – one station might be blue, one might be yellow and one might be pink.  If you plan on having multiple colors at a station you will use much more powder than the recommended quantities listed below.

  • 3 Stations – a minimum of 1/2 pound of powder per participant
  • 4 Stations – a minimum of 3/4 pound of color powder per participant
  • 5 Stations- a minimum of 1 pound of color powder per participant

For example if you have 100 participants and you have 3 color stations you would need at least 50 pounds of color powder. If you really want to cover (literally) your participants you may want to order a bit more to ensure you have some happy colorful runners at the end of your run. Chameleon Colors 25 pound bulk boxes are the most economical product to use at the color stations.

STEP 3 - Decide if you will have a Color Throw at your event.

If you want to have a colorful celebration at the beginning or end of your color event, a Color Throw is a great way to start your race and/or end your race.  A Color Throw is when all of the race participants gather together and throw color into the air!  Individual powder packets are perfect for a Color Throw, and selling packets to participants can be a great way to earn additional funds at your event. 

STEP 4 - Figure out how much color to order.

The objective of a Color Run with Chameleon Colors is to shower your participants with color!  So how much color powder do you need? That is based on how many participants you have and how many color stations you will set up. For a color run, we recommend .6 - .75 pounds of color powder per person. For a color throw or color fight you’ll need more powder. Usually .75 -1 pound per person. If you’d like a little more help determining the right amount for your event, call our color consultants. Keep in mind these are general suggestion, it depends entirely on:

  • How are you distributing your color powder?
  • How much are you throwing?
  • How much color do you want on your racers?

How do I ensure my Color Run is a successful fundraiser? 

If you want to use your color run to raise funds, there are several proven approaches you can take, and we want to help you find the best one for your organization. The most common ways to fundraise with your color run are through registration fees, race kits, color throws, sponsorship opportunities, or online fundraising. The two main types of fundraisers for color runs are donation-based fundraisers and entry fee-based fundraisers. Both options are great ways to raise money for your cause. Donation-based fundraisers often will help you make more profits, but entry fee-based fundraisers can be a simpler process. We have a breakdown of both models so that you can decide which works best for you.

  • Donation-based fundraisers often have “tier” formats. Participants ask their friends, family, and neighbors to donate to their fundraiser. Each participant is working to raise funds to reach different tiers that have unique incentives and prizes based on the amount of money they’re able to raise. For example, a base level could be $20.00. If a participant raises $20.00, they would get a 70-gram packet of powder. Pretty cool, but if they raise $40.00, they get a 1-pound bag of powder and some colorful sunglasses! Get the idea? For other ideas of awesome incentives and tiers, we love School-A-Thon’s blog post on this. 

Another way to have a donation-based fundraiser is to have donors sponsor the participants for a designated distance. For example, a potential donor could sponsor a runner $100.00 for each mile they run. This is a great way to add a little competitive fun to your color run! This model works great for charitable fundraisers where participants have an emotional connection to the cause. 

Here are the key takeaways for donation-based fundraisers: 

  1. Set a goal for how much money you want to raise.
  2. Decide how many tiers or levels you would like to have, or if you would like to have donors for each participant. 
  3. Choose the dollar amount participants will need to raise to reach each tier, or the length of distance they’ll need to travel to earn money from donors. 
  4. Use stupendously amazing incentives and prizes to motivate participants. Fun color run accessories such as sunglasses, t-shirts, tutus, etc. can be great motivators!  
  5. Keep track of the participant’s progress so that you’re prepared on the day of your color run with each participant's prizes. 
  • Entry-fee based fundraisers have a simpler and more streamlined process, but a lot of it is the same as a donation-based fundraiser. You’ll still want to set a goal of how much money you want to raise and, at least, estimate how many participants will sign up for your color run. The difference between donation-based fundraisers and entry-fee based fundraisers is instead of participants raising money for the color run through donations, you’ll decide on an entry price. 

Another way to boost fundraising during an entry fee-based fundraiser is to sell our color powder! That’s right, you can buy our Chameleon Color’s premium and affordable color powder in bulk and resell it directly to your participants, or for a more convenient option, buy our 70g or 100g bags and sell those to your participants. You know what they say about color powder: the more color powder; the merrier the participants! Here are the key takeaways for entry-fee based fundraisers.

  1. Set a goal for how much money you want to raise. 
  2. Estimate how many participants will sign up. 
  3. Decide on the entry price for each participant to meet your goal (taking into account which other avenues you might also use to meet your overall fundraising goal)

Other ways to boost your fundraising efforts.

  • Sponsorships can help with the overall cost of the color run. Having local businesses sponsor your race or donate goods to your race is a great way to raise funds and offset costs. You can have a business sponsor the entire event or just a color station. You can offer “start” and “finish” banners or even a water station sponsorship. The possibilities are endless! Just look for mutually beneficial opportunities and the possibilities for additional funds are endless.  
  • Offer Fun Race Merch For Sale White race shirts, sunglasses, tutus, bandanas, socks and color powder are all items your participants will be interested in purchasing. So whether you sell these items as add ons or include a race kit with your entry fee, these are great ways to increase the funds you can raise from your event. If you’ve decided to host a Color Throw at your event, participants will definitely be interested in having some extra color powder!

    Other Tips and Tricks 

    Finish Line – Since this is the location where most of the photos will be taken make sure it is colorful and exciting and represents your organization well. With the amazing power of social media, it may be worth creating your own custom hashtag. People love sharing their photos and this will direct people back to your event and organization.

    Blow Off Station – Offer a blow off station, you can use anything from an electric leaf blower, large fan or floor dryers to blow the powder off. Place the blow off station near the parking lots so runners can clean up before returning to their vehicles.

    Water Stations – Most  5k runs only need two water stations - one in the middle of the course and one at the finish line. A folding table with water cups will do or if you have a local company that is willing to donate water bottles in exchange for sponsorship they may also be willing to hand out the water bottles at water stations to the runners/walkers.

    Clean Up – Chameleon Colors color powder is easy to clean up with a leaf blower. Any remaining color powder will wash away with the next rain or can easily be rinsed away with a hose. You may also want to recommend that participants bring towels to place in their cars so they don’t shake color powder all over the interior of their car and have to clean up later.  Most excess powder can simply be shaken and will wash out of clothing.

    Other Things to Consider

    Permits – make sure to check with your local city to determine if any permits that may be needed if your event is not on private property. Even if it's an event for a fundraiser or for charity, you still need to get necessary permission.

    Safety – consider having an EMT on site. If the event is large enough, you may want a couple law enforcement officers on location.  You should also have fire extinguishers on hand. It’s good to always be prepared for anything and to cover yourself as the host of the event.

    Restrooms – make sure your location has restrooms that are easily accessible by race participants.

    Music – what is an event without music? Great music ensures that the mood at your events is as fun and colorful as the event itself. Bluetooth speakers and a good playlist are all you’ll need. 

    Race day activities – You may want some pre-race activities, participants have enjoyed  ZUMBA® workout shows, dance offs, raffles, give-aways, etc. before the actual race starts. Just about anything will work as long as it adds a little excitement to the event while patrons are waiting for the start of the race. 

    Please note: We are not responsible for how you produce your event; please follow all governmental regulations.  Never use color powder in an enclosed or congested environment. Never throw in or towards someone’s face.  Bandanas and sunglasses can minimize getting powder in your mouth or eyes. If you have questions please refer to our Safety Data Sheet. Have fun, but be responsible.