New to Walkathon Planning?

Walkathon Planning - Where to StartHere are some posts to read when you are just starting out.  Each of these five articles link to the next in the sequence.  Like a treasure hunt for walkathon planning.

1. Setting Walkathon Goals

2. Four Criteria for  Pinpointing Your Walkathon Cause

3. Start Now for Next Year

4. Walkathon Volunteer List

5. Tips on Recruiting Walkathon (or any) Volunteers

You can do this!

And Now, A Word about Walkathon Sponsors

Use the back of the walkathon t shirt as a way to give your sponsors valuable publicity

There’s gold in the backs of your walkathon t shirts.

Think about the lifespan of a t shirt.  People will wear those shirts for years.  For some kids they become the main items in their wardrobes.

This translates to a nice revenue opportunity for your walkathon.

T shirts offer high visibility for sponsors. There’s still more advertising value in your website, banners, yard signs, press releases, and registration materials. All these items combined represent a good investment opportunity for companies who need local brand awareness and want to support their community.

For upcoming walkathons, approach sponsors at the very beginning of your planning efforts so that you can include their names in all of your publicity materials.

Start with a list of potential sponsors.  Local merchants and services are ideal, as well as the companies where your walkers work.  Don’t forget anyone who sponsored last year, to avoid hurt feelings! Then make a list of all the places you intend to publicize your sponsors.  Determine cost of sponsorship.  Typically you would offer tiered levels to accommodate varying abilities to contribute (such as Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze).  Platinum sponsors would then get the biggest logo on your signs, etc.  Write a sponsor letter and send it to all of your targets.  There is a sample letter you can copy in the Walkathon Guide e-book.  Follow up with a phone call.  With those who commit, set aside time to collect the checks, or  encourage them to pay online via your website.

Sponsorships can add significantly to your fund raising results.  Take advantage of this great opportunity.

Using a Facebook Page to Promote Your Walkathon

Fayetteville Kidney Walkathon Facebook Page

Create a Facebook page for your walkathon now to allow time for the multiplier effect of friends telling friends telling friends.

Facebook Pages are great for walkathon publicity and gaining the support of participants and volunteers.  The coolest thing about them is that benefits multiply as your followers (fans) come on board:

  • When people follow your page (via that “Like” button), all their Facebook friends are notified.
  • Then when you write an update, all your fans can share it with all of their friends, along with a link to your page.
  • Fans can also go to your page and click the “Share” button any time to post a link to your page for all their friends.

You don’t have to be a social networking expert.  Basic setup can be very quick.  Then once you’ve created your walkathon page, you don’t have to maintain it every day.  Take five minutes once or twice a week to say something you think would be of interest to your participants. They are free.

Here’s where to get startedNo time like the present!

Once your page is up, encourage your fans to share your page often. Add updates as often as you can.

Tip: Don’t use Facebook Events for walkathon registration.  You’ll need people to fill in a more detailed form and waiver.  Instead, direct them to your main website.

Please Share or Like my page! You might also like to follow Charity Walks.

Follow Walkathon Guide on Facebook

Artwork for Fall Walkathons

Go Red for the American Heart Association, a great model for walkathon color and artwork

The American Heart Association's two color "Go Red" campaign - high impact.

If you are planning a walkathon for October or sooner, then it’s time to develop your artwork.  You’ll use it on signs and then t shirts and also put it on your website and registration materials.   If you want to put out yard signs, order them as soon as possible.  Forward this post to your publicity chair person if you’ve got one!

I asked Roy of Roy Rezentes Design what a walkathon planner should think about in creating their art work, assuming

  • no money for design
  • little money for production

He said to choose a very simple and high impact color scheme with just one main color and one accent, then use it everywhere.  The limited colors minimizes cost but can also have greater recognition than a more cluttered approach.  Think Avon Breast Cancer pink with purple, American Heart Association red with white.  With your two colors on flyers, yard signs, a banner or two, a website and Facebook page your words and images will really start to pop.

He also recommends you read “Ten logo design tips from the field”, from Logo Design Love blogger David Airey (click here to see it).   We thought parts were a bit heavy for non-artists but still well worth a look.

For yard signs, I love Build a Sign so much I look for excuses to order yard signs (click here to visit their site).  They are quick and the signs always look great.  I use the online tool, sometimes exclusively and sometimes with artwork that I upload.

For t-shirts, I’ve worked with the same supplier for many years with great success. You get what you want, on schedule and at a great price. Go to the Walkathon Shop for a quote.

Texting Your Walkers

Use Fanminder to keep in touch with your walkers and sponsors via text.I had a really intriguing brainstorming session with Paul Rosenfeld, President of Fanminder.   His software allows you to build an opt-in list of people’s cell phones so that you can send mass text messages and also get replies.  It’s proving to have an immediate impact on bringing in repeat custoemrs for small local businesses.  We think it could be great for walkathons too.  Here are a few  ideas on how you might use this cool tool.

  • Allow people to opt-in for a training team, then send daily training tips via text.
  • Send fund raising reminders and tips to your walkers.
  • In the days just prior to your walkathon, send little reminders about event logistics, bringing sunscreen, drinking plenty of fluids in the days before.

Then it gets really fun during the event, especially if your walkers will be out of range for a loud speaker.  Some ideas:

  • Run your raffles via Fanminder.  Allow walkers to text back that they want to purchase a raffle ticket (pay at end of event).  Announce the winner via text.
  • Send out event announcements of all kinds, such as auction updates, food updates, timing updates.
  • Give your sponsors a little extra publicity.  Include their names in text messages.
  • Send out motivational and healthy tips, such as water reminders.
  • Encourage community building via games that you launch with a text message.  Text “Introduce yourself to the nearest walker” to everyone at once and watch the conversations get started.

You can sign up for the service here.  Come back and let me know how it goes!

Walkathons in San Luis Obispo

I found this bulletin board today in Chinos Rock & Tacos, San Luis Obispo (great soup too).  They have four walkathons coming up in the near term – very impressive.  Go SLO!

One Kid, One Bike, Big Success

Check this out from today’s ABC News:

“A young British schoolboy has raised more than 100,000 pounds ($160,000) Monday for Haiti’s relief effort by cycling round his local park.”

Two thoughts for even the smallest walkathons (or bikeathons):

  1. Yes, you can do this!
  2. He took donations via a web page.  Go online to maximize your fundraising and also so your walkathon can catch on “virally”, where friends tell friends who tell friends.

Read more…  UK 7-Year-Old Raises Tens of Thousands for Haiti – ABC News.