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Mascots for Motivation












The start of fall means the start of the NFL craze. While we’re sure many of you are investing in game-time snacks and getting your Fantasy Football League in order, we also want to suggest that this season also offers some great possibilities for your Fall Fundraisers.

Take for example our client, Isbell Elementary PTA, who got the idea to tap into the football frenzy and get their home state’s NFL mascot involved with their fundraiser! Now, not only is the PTA putting on an exciting Fun Run, but they are putting on a Cowboys Stars Fun Run. That’s right, the Dallas Cowboys mascot is the face of their Fall Fundraiser! Check out the full article on the Isbell Fundraiser that was featured in their local press.

In this article we’re going to give some great pointers on ways that you can follow Isbell’s lead and get your own home state’s NFL mascot to be a part of your fundraiser. Also, for those that want to get into the football spirit without trying to bring in a mascot, we provide info on the NFL Play 60 program that concentrates on youth fitness and playing outdoors 60 minutes a day (it can also provide some great grants for your school!).

Check out the football fun below and let us know if you plan on getting your NFL mascot involved and what tips/suggestions you have for schools looking to do the same.

Contacting Your Home Team

The first step is to simply reach out to your home team and see if and how they are willing to be involved with your fundraiser. But, before you press send on that email, it’s important that you do your research. Go to your team’s website and try to find answers to some of these questions to help you figure out who to contact and what to ask/offer:

  • Does their NFL mascot do volunteer opportunities? Or is there a fee to have him make an appearance? If it’s the latter, see if they would make an exception for a school (especially with your Fun Run being a health-focused fundraiser!).
  • Does the team have a health & wellness coach that does speaking/training events at schools? If so, this might be a good contact person or even someone who could come out and speak at your kick off.
  • Are there other kids-focused programs or events that that team hosts? If so, try to see who organizes Isbell PTAthese and if there is a contact number/email. This would be you initial go-to person for arranging to have the mascot be involved with your Fun Run.

You might be thinking that there’s no way a NFL mascot would come out to your school to help with your fundraiser. But, it never hurts to ask! Isbell Elementary is the first school in their area to be teaming up with the Dallas Cowboys and there’s no reason why your school can’t be the first in your area too!

Incorporating the Mascot Into Your Fun Run Theme

Once you’ve got a commitment from your NFL team & mascot, then it’s time to center your Fun Run around this great motivator! Of course, you are not obliged to follow Isbell’s example and turn your Fun Run into a Cowboys Stars Fun Run, but having the team/mascot be the sun around which the rest of your fundraiser orbits is a great way to build excitement. Not only does it make your fundraiser stand out (and be easily recognizable), but it also allows you to build on the theme of the mascot.

For example, if you're bringing in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers mascot for your fundraiser, you can build on the pirate theme with costumes, decorations and color schemes leading up to, and during, the event! And, if your mascot is a bit more ambiguous (lookin’ at you 49ers), then you can simply build off the general football theme with the trademark football face paint, football-themed incentives for students, and event decorations.

Creating Local Engagement

When you team up with an NFL mascot, there’s a good chance that your community will want to be involved in the fun. Isbell has received donations from local businesses, as well as the Dallas Cowboy organization, for their Cowboy-themed Fun Run. Consider using your NFL mascot as a promotional tool for spreading awareness of your fundraiser and for offering some NFL goodies to sponsors and local organizations who support your event.

Building Excitement at the Kick Off & Celebrating at the Event

The main point of getting an NFL mascot involved with your fundraiser is to build excitement and get students motivated to bring in pledges & have fun at the event. Isbell Elementary introduced Rowdy the mascot at their kick off with music, dancing, and unrestrained excitement from the kids (& parents). 

At the event, Isbell students were treated to appearances by the Cowboys Football Academy & former NFL players. The special guests even ran 4 of the stations on the Fun Run course! Since each Fun Run is unique, the options are boundless for what you could do at your own event. Maybe have the mascot show up to cheer on the students or help hand out popsicles at the end of the race. You could have a face-painting station for students who finish the race and a photo opportunity with the special guests/mascot. 

NFL Play 60

The NFL Play 60 movement is a national campaign to get kids moving & active for 60 minutes a day in order to help reverse the rise of childhood obesity. There are two main ways for your school to be involved: The Fuel Up to Play 60 program & the Play 60 Challenge. Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school program that fosters good nutrition and activity. Schools are eligible for funding in order to implement steps to their health & fitness goals at their school, while students are encouraged to join in the program by participating in fitness events, completing challenges, earning points, and winning prizes.

The Play 60 Challenge is a 4-6 week program that gets kids moving for 60 minutes a day, which includes a Student Game Planner for students to track their physical activity minutes, a Classroom Scoreboard for teachers to post the students minutes in the classroom and a Certificate of Achievement that is given to students for completing the Challenge. Both programs are sponsored by the NFL and use competition, challenge, and games in order to motivate students to get movin' for an hour a day!