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    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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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.

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.