Want to raise some money and get some publicity for your organization? Have a polar bear plunge! This fundraiser will only work when the weather is cold, so it’s not for every location, but it’s sure to be a chillingly good time.

A polar bear plunge means, quite simply, that people don bathing suits in bitingly cold weather and dive into the ocean or an iced-over lake. Sounds like fun, right? Someone thinks so, because polar bear plunges are becoming a popular way to raise money for everything from local food banks to breast cancer awareness.

It’s an event in which there is no limit on the number of people who can participate. It’s also a great way to inspire competition between different groups, businesses, teams or schools. Competitions always draw a crowd.

Raising money…

Once you have selected a date for your polar bear plunge, you will want to start to get the word out as soon as possible. Send letters to local businesses, schools and other groups. Encourage them to form teams. The more people on the team, the more money the team will likely raise. Individuals should also be encouraged to enter. Have prizes for both the team and the individual who raise the most money.

Each participant should gather sponsors. People don’t mind donating money to a great cause, and when they learn that the person asking for a donation is willing to jump into freezing cold water, they will likely be inspired to dig a little deeper.

Br-r-r-r-r-ring in some money with a polar bear plunge

Br-r-r-r-r-ring in some money with a polar bear plunge

Sponsors for a polar bear plunge normally agree to donate a set amount if the person actually gets into the water. You may elect to have rules such as the person must go completely under or must stay in for 30 seconds. Some participants will surprise everyone by swimming around as if it were 90 degrees!

You may also charge each team and individual an entry fee. You should supply some sort of token gift for participating. A t-shirt or towel with the event name and date are perfect choices. Check with local businesses to see if they would be willing to donate the shirts or towels in exchange for being named as a sponsor.

More benefits for this charity event

Polar plunges almost always make the local news, so in addition to raising money, you will also be getting some wonderful exposure for your organization. You may opt to have hot chocolate and hot coffee for sale as both the participants and the observers will be in need of a way to take the chill off.

If children want to participate, you will need to have a signed consent form from the parent, and may insist that parents of minors be present at the event as well.

A polar bear plunge fundraiser is going to be the talk of the town, and will certainly get the name of your organization before the public eye.