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!

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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.

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.

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!