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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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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!

Anonymous Poll – What Kind of Group are You?

Thank you for your help!  No one sees who you are, just the aggregate answers.

Making Your Walkathon Doable

Today’s blog from Seth Godin is about Fear of Philanthropy.

(Photo originally uploaded by RoguePoet)

My summary won’t have the same impact on you, but the main idea is that people might just do nothing if they fear that the only way to make a difference will be too hard.

If you are a walkathon planner:

  • You don’t have to be in charge of the Avon Breast Cancer Walk to be doing something important.  A  handful of walkers earning just a little bit of money is still making a difference.  A school or club out walking is spectacular. Whether the event takes three days, 24 hours, or one hour in the school gym, it’s making a difference.

For your volunteers:

  • Should you ask for one or two hours vs the all day commitment?  What is the right level of commitment for the people on your team?

For your donors:

  • Should you put out a message that just a little is enough?  Sometimes a minimum donation can mean more donations all together.

Poll: When is your Walkathon?

This is an anonymous poll, just because I am curious…

Thank you for your help.

Does Your Walkathon Need a Cause?

Clean Water for Ethiopia

"It’s best to tackle the problem one place at a time. The overall water crisis is hard to fix (one billion people!), but when you break it down country by country, region by region, and community by community, it’s not nearly as difficult." - Chris Guillebeau

I know it sounds backwards, but now and then I hear of a group who wants to do a walkathon, and needs to choose a cause that they can rally around.  If you fit into that category, here is one great idea, called  Clean Water for Ethiopia.

Chris Guillebeau, author of The Art of Nonconformity, has chosen this as his cause and is spreading the word, in partnership with Charity: Water.  His goal is to raise a minimum of $500,000 for water wells in Ethiopia over the next 18 months.   You could really help here.

If this helps, you might also like this previous post, Four Criteria for Choosing Your Cause.

Learn more about The Walkathon Guide book.

Learn more about Lap Cards.

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.