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!

Fourteen Ideas to Make Your Walkathon Fun for Kids

Happy Walkathon WalkerHow will you keep your walkers entertained, especially if most of them are kids?  A few walkathon entertainment ideas:

  1. Do things ahead of time to get the walkers engaged in what’s to come.  For example, if you will have special event T Shirts, get your principal, pastor or another beloved figure to show up wearing the shirt a few weeks before the event, then give a speech about the event.
  2. Have special awards for milestones reached during the walk.  The kids can collect them.  For example, we’ve used colored ribbons for each mile walked, and we’ve also used very thin, rubber band-like jelly bracelets.  The kids love to compare collections.
  3. You might like to look at my walkathon lap card product for tracking distance.  If your route isn’t a loop you could design something similar based on other milestones.  The kids love to look at how many holes they have punched in their cards.
  4. Set up a PA system and have a DJ.  Play music and use the system for announcements.
  5. Have Karaoke.
  6. Have an orange slice station – a table stocked with orange slices and water.
  7. Have little fun things to do along the route, like “kick a soccer goal”, etc.
  8. If it’s hot, have volunteers stationed with misting sprayers (about $1 from Target), who also help keep an eye on things
  9. Set up a “mist tent” right on the course, with misting hoses attached.
  10. Have a photographer.
  11. Have a raffle.
  12. Have a live band.
  13. Have a “pocket lady” – a nice mom or grandma figure who wears an apron covered with pockets.   Each pocket holds a different trinket.  Walkers can pay 25 cents to choose a pocket and get a surprise.
  14. Have concessions.  You can often get food donations in exchange for publicity for the donor.  Give away one free item per walker, such as a popsicle or hot dog.

Learn more about The Walkathon Guide book.

Learn more about Lap Cards.

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.

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.

Follow Walkathon Guide on Facebook

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.

Walkathon Planning Timeline – Remember Dependencies

Walkathon Dependencies - make note of who needs what from whom

Click to enlarge

Some planning thoughts…  If you’ve read the Walkathon Guide book, you’ve seen this chart. This chart is a simplified view of what each committee needs from the others.  Each chapter of the book gives a more detailed list of dependencies for each committee.

Look at this chart, then make your own version.  Draw a weekly time line on a whiteboard or banner paper.  Make note of who needs to supply what, to whom, by when, then make sure everyone knows of these dependencies.