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.

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.

Let’s Talk about Planning Walkathons!

shoe2Roger Carr, author of Charity Walks Blog, has invited me as his first guest on the Charity Event Success radio show. The interview will take place on Saturday, September 5, 2009 at 2 p.m. Eastern. We will be discussing the topic of Planning for a Successful Walkathon. There are several ways to listen to the conversation:

* Call (347) 850-8340 to listen to the show live

* Listen to the streamed show from the host webpage at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/charity-event-success

* Listen to an archive of the interview will be available immediately following the show at Roger’s blog.

Be sure to leave a comment on the show page when you visit.

For Walkathon Publicity, Make One or Two T Shirts Early

Consider creating a stir about your walkathon with a great unveiling of your walkathon logo and T shirt. Create a couple of T Shirts prior to the major shipment, to wear when you speak to the group. Alternatively, you could have your group’s mascot model the shirt. At our school, my co-chair Lynne created an XXXL walkathon shirt for our Bear mascot to model, and the kids were so excited when he made his appearance.  It certainly put the walkathon at front and center  in their minds.

Option A: Print your own

Here is how. You need a color inkjet printer.

1. Purchase cheap T Shirts and iron on transfer(s). You can find them at local drug stores, Target, Walmart. I’ve seen the transfers online as well.

2. Get the finalized T Shirt design (logo and slogan) from the T Shirt Team.

3. Print the T Shirt design onto the iron on transfer, then follow the directions that come with the transfer to iron it onto your shirt.

Option B: Order a single T Shirt from your supplier.

This has the side benefit of letting you see a single shirt prior to ordering mass quantities. Go to my Useful Stuff page for a few good T Shirt suppliers.

Learn more about The Walkathon Guide book.

Learn more about Lap Cards.

Just Added… Useful Stuff for You

I’ve just added a Useful Stuff page where you can download files that are helpful.   Today it has a thank you note that you can print out, fold, and give to your volunteers after your walkathon.  In the future I’ll add links to things like T Shirts, lap cards, etc.

And..thank youfor all your hard work on behalf of your cause!