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To say this year has been a rollercoaster would be an understatement. Now more than ever we’re hearing you want a way to give back and do good for the world and your community. 

That’s why we asked Lauren Kaplan, a growth marketer in the wellness startup space and Recess instructor to share her thoughts on how to leverage donation-based classes. Read on for two strategies to incorporate these types of classes into your lineup and feel good about the impact you’re making.

The Charitable Giving Class

Classes that support a specific cause or non-profit organization are on the rise right now. Using your voice and platform to stand up for something you believe in helps make an out of control time feel more manageable.

Partner Up

  • Reach out to another instructor in your network to buddy up for a charity class, to expand the reach and impact of donations.
  • Combine your styles and try something new! Lauren partnered up with a friend to offer “Hustle & Tone” where they combined boxing and pilates to create a specialty class exclusively for charity classes.

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Pick a Cause

  • Go with your gut and choose something that’s personal and meaningful for you and your community.
  • Do your homework to make sure the organization is reputable and that donations are distributed to support the cause. Sites like and can help you verify credibility.
  • Carve out time at the beginning or end of class to chat further about why the organization matters to you, what impact they are having, and educate your audience on anything that is meaningful to you.

Gather Donations on Recess

  • Use the ‘free with donations’ payment type while creating your class so clients can choose the amount they want to donate.
  • Add the suggested donation amount and to what organization you are donating!
  • Allow participants to make a direct donation to the charity you are highlighting and share proof of payment as their entry ticket.

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The Community Class

A free or “pay what you” can class can offer a couple of benefits. This is a way to be of service to your community and support them when many people may be experiencing financial hardship. It can also be a way to grow your network and welcome new faces. Lauren notes it’s important to “expect to make $0” on this type of class and be okay with that.

Deliver a Great In Class Experience

  1. The WOW Factor: This is an opportunity to wow a new audience and create the same premium experience they’d get in a regular class. Open class with a strong introduction and share what to expect including modifications. You may have a wider range of levels and experience due to the price point.
  2. Be Attentive: Check-in with the group during class, keep the energy high, and shine out your personality! “The more you engage with people, the more you can personalize the experience, the better chance you have of making money on the back end.”
  3. Thank You: Wrap up class with gratitude, share how people can find you on social, and join for future classes. You can remind them how they can contribute to you if they’d like to and what they can expect from your pricing in the future. Lauren suggests “full transparency around cost, so clients don’t have sticker shock later after joining a free class.”

We want to acknowledge that teaching for free or at a reduced rate is a privilege and may not be accessible to all trainers. We don’t think you should ever give away your services and talent in a way that isn’t in alignment with your values and needs.

A big marketing push will ensure you make a big impact. Lauren says, “Owning your own email list is the best thing you can do to grow your business,” and we couldn’t agree more.

  • Tap into the email marketing tools Recess offers to let clients know about an upcoming specialty class.
  • Use social media to leverage your network and Lauren suggests asking 2–3 friends or followers with a strong reach to blast it out on your behalf.
  • This can also be a great place to pull in any brand partnerships you’re working on, be it giveaways for the audience, a sponsored outfit for you, or even support with sharing across social channels.

With some creativity and a strategy, donation-based classes can make an impact for good and help you grow your brand.


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As always, we’d love to see how you’re actioning these ideas. Tag us on social @we_recess and #itsplaytime. If you’d like to take follow Lauren’s virtual journey, you can find her on Recess at