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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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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!

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!

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.

Nominate a Top Walkathon Volunteer for Cash, Sweat and Tears Award

Cash Sweat and TearsDo you have a walkathon volunteer who stands out in deserving recognition? Check out Run Walk Ride’s “Cash, Sweat and Tears” award opportunity. It’s free to apply, and applications are due tomorrow.

Just by applying you will honor your volunteer. Every nominee will be honored with a Cash, Sweat and Tears Certificate of Merit and recognition on http://www.runwalkride.com. One outstanding nominee will be recognized at the opening dinner of the Run Walk Ride Fundraising Conference. They’ll be honored with a trophy, a $500 donation to the charity of their choice from Blackbaud and a wardrobe of athletic footwear and apparel donated by New Balance.