Mist Tent for a Hot Walkathon Day


Hot Sun, Originally uploaded by bredgur

If you expect hot weather, add to the fun and keep your walkers cool.

Many thanks to our good friend Randy Harr for supplying these instructions for building a mist tent at your walkathon. Go ahead and download.  It’s a PDF file.

These are specific to the school our kids attended and the supplies we already had, but I expect that one of your talented volunteers will be able to run with them as is.

If you (or your talented volunteer) have any questions as you apply these to your own situation, feel free to ask away by sending me a note or adding a comment on the blog post.

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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.

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Walkathon Planning PodCast

Walkathon Planning, on BlogTalkRadioDo you learn by listening?  Then we have the podcast for you… words of wisdom from my friend Roger Carr and I, all about planning walkathons.  Click to listen.

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!

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.

The Big Picture – Seven Tips for Planning a Walkathon

Autumn PathLet’s take a break from all the walkathon details, and take a  look at the big picture for walkathon planning.   Here are seven thoughts to help you still be aware of  the trees but yet be in control of the whole  walkathon forest.  (I hope you like my metaphorest).


1. Focus on getting volunteers, and everything else goes more smoothly

As chair of the event, your first inclination may be to jump in and start taking care of the details.  But remember, your role is to keep an eye on the big picture and support the many others who help make the event a success. Be relentless about recruiting volunteers starting day 1 and throughout the walkathon planning cycle.   Put a lot of thought into clearly defining walkathon volunteer roles.  Unencumbered by details, you can be available as a sounding board and cheering section for your team while they tackle their respective areas of responsibility.

2. Pinpoint a specific cause within your overall goals

Most walkathons already have a larger cause like the school, animal shelter, or another charity.   However if you have the option, be more specific by pinpointing tangible and visible items to be purchased.  That way your community can see the results of their efforts.

3. Be aware of interdependencies
Work with your committee chairs to create a  walkathon planning timeline and chart of all of your planning activities, and identify areas where one committee needs deliverables from another.  Make sure everyone is aware of these important timing needs.

4. Leverage technology
Take advantage of one of the great software tools out there to speed recruiting volunteers and allowing them to select their roles and time slots.  In addition, if you have a few helpers with a strong technical aptitude, consider using an online tool for collecting donations or setting up a blog to publicize your event.

5. Don’t reinvent the wheel

You will need to hand out walkathon registration forms, sponsor letters, publicity flyers and instruction sheets.  There are plenty of well done examples as close as your Internet connection, and twenty pages of them in the back of my e-book ready to copy, paste, edit and go.  Use those!

6. Have a pinch hitter team
Even with the best of planning, you’ll find a few things falling through the cracks in the last few days before your event and on walkathon day itself.  Have a few trusty volunteers ready to catch them, so that you can remain sane during the most hectic part of your planning process.

7. Celebrate success at every step
During the planning process, walkathon day, and when the final funds have been counted, how and what will you celebrate?  Be sure to point out great jobs done by your planning team all along the way.  Then decide ahead of time what milestones you’ll recognize for your walkers, whether it’s number of laps or miles walked or amount of funds raised.  During the event, consider having special prizes at each distance milestone, such as jelly bracelets or showy beads on a necklace.  After the event, a slide show may be in order.   Don’t let the opportunity to revel in success slip by.  For one, you’ll add enthusiasm for next year’s walkathon.  But more importantly, everyone deserves the fun of recognizing a job well done.

If you’re new here, take a look around this blog and check out The Walkathon Guide e-book, which you can purchase and download in about three minutes.  There are plenty of details here!  But remember to stay on top of the big picture and delegate those details, to end up with an awesome, well organized walkathon and a very calm and happy walkathon chair (that being you!).

Learn more about The Walkathon Guide book.

Learn more about Lap Cards.

Great Walk-a-thon Publicity by Booksin Elementary

Booksin's Amazing RaceHere is a nice, inexpensive publicity idea.  Booksin Elementary has set up a very professional looking blog  (click here to see it). It uses WordPress, which I can attest to as being easy and fun.  They’ve purchased their own web address, which costs just $15.

Notice how they use the right column to give their sponsors extra publicity.