• So you want to plan a walkathon…

    Welcome to Walkathon Guide, all about how to plan a walkathon (aka walk-a-thon), to build your confidence and make it easier to get volunteers and make them successful.
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Walkathon Waiver Form, Insurance, and Local Government

shoe2Several people have asked about insurance coverage and waiver forms for walkathons.

Most nonprofits have a commercial general liability insurance policy that would extend to a walkathon fundraiser.  The California State PTA, for example, provides coverage for school events if your parent group is part of that organization (I checked in August 2009 – please recheck with your own leadership).  Check with your organizations leaders or legal counsel about liability and whether there are other areas to address. Legal requirements vary based on your location.

If you are holding the walkathon on public property, check with your local police and fire and the person who manages the location, to see what they require such as a use application.  If you control the property where you’ll hold your event, such as a school or church, you can simply keep your director in the loop regarding plans.

In any case you will need a disclaimer for all participants in your event.  Even with the best of intentions, accidents can and do happen. You can help protect your organization by collecting Waiver and Release of Liability from each of your participants before the event.  DoJiggy.com is one of many sites that provide a sample walkathon waiver form that you might opt to use with your registration packet, modified to your needs.  You can find it here.

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Online Fundraising Tools For Walkathons

online fundraising for walkathonsWhen organizing a walkathon you will be well served by good online fundraising and organizing software.  I’ve been scouring the web for the best online fundraising tools.  I still have more research to do.  However I’d like to tell you about a few options in the mean time, in case you are already deep into your walkathon planning.

This is worth doing because of time savings in collecting pledges, and also may well increase your total fundraising income by making it easier for those who prefer paying online to writing checks.

Whatever you choose, you’ll need a dedicated volunteer with strong technical aptitude, and time, to set up your system.  As the walkathon chair you should not also handle the software unless you are very comfortable with online projects because this is a big job in itself.  Instead let someone from the group be in charge of just online fundraising.

1.  One of DoJiggy’s products, DoJiggy Pledge, is specifically designed for pledge driven events so that your walkers can build their own pages and then collect donations online.   It has a whole set of features ideal for walkathons.  It is reasonably priced.

Also, DoJiggy has a great new resource page.  It includes walkathon checklists and also a sample participation waiver.

I played with  DoJiggy and was impressed with how much was included and also the frequent follow up from the company.  I haven’t used it for an actual event so would appreciate comments from you if you have.

2. Here is a useful article that gives you a good start in looking at other technology options; “A Few Good Tools for Online Distributed Fundraising” by Stella Hernandez from Idealware, March 24, 2009.  She covers about a dozen options and gives a framework for choosing.

tg logo3. Finally, if your group is doing more than just a walkathon and online fundraising, and needs more generalized tools for group communication and organization, you might want to try the groupery.   It’s free. They give you a nice online community building platform and also a supportive group for leaders of active volunteer organizations.  It collects payments from group members, and organizes volunteer shifts, and has a host of other features.  I used to work there.   They are very dedicated to making you successful.

Learn more about The Walkathon Guide book.

Learn more about Lap Cards.

Five Things to Do Six Months Before Your Walkathon

starting pathHave you decided to plan a walkathon a season or two from now?

Here’s a checklist for what to do  to set the stage.

1. Get your core team: at least one leader and ideally two or three.

2. Pick your date and location and get them approved by the powers that be:  local police and fire, the person who manages the location, your principal and PTA (or PTO)  Board if you’re a school.

3. If this is a community wide event, present the idea to your town council to keep them informed and gain their support.

4. Inform people who will be affected, such as sports leagues who play during that time, so they can plan for busy players.

5. If you are planning this walkathon for your children’s school, schedule two or three planning sessions over the coming month. Ask your principal to start thinking about a very specific, visible item(s) the money will buy (such as playground equipment).

I recommend that you continue to read the next article, a detailed list of key volunteer positions.

Learn more about The Walkathon Guide book.