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!

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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.

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.

Share Ideas With Other Walkathon Planners

Charity Walks NetworkHere is a friendly place to learn from other people walking the same path as you, called Charity Walks Network.

According to it’s founder, Roger Carr, “It’s a free social networking site for people who are passionate about charity walks.”

You can use the network to build friendships, find new ways to improve your walkathon, and help others.

See you there!

The Big Picture – Seven Tips for Planning a Walkathon

Autumn PathLet’s take a break from all the walkathon details, and take a  look at the big picture for walkathon planning.   Here are seven thoughts to help you still be aware of  the trees but yet be in control of the whole  walkathon forest.  (I hope you like my metaphorest).


1. Focus on getting volunteers, and everything else goes more smoothly

As chair of the event, your first inclination may be to jump in and start taking care of the details.  But remember, your role is to keep an eye on the big picture and support the many others who help make the event a success. Be relentless about recruiting volunteers starting day 1 and throughout the walkathon planning cycle.   Put a lot of thought into clearly defining walkathon volunteer roles.  Unencumbered by details, you can be available as a sounding board and cheering section for your team while they tackle their respective areas of responsibility.

2. Pinpoint a specific cause within your overall goals

Most walkathons already have a larger cause like the school, animal shelter, or another charity.   However if you have the option, be more specific by pinpointing tangible and visible items to be purchased.  That way your community can see the results of their efforts.

3. Be aware of interdependencies
Work with your committee chairs to create a  walkathon planning timeline and chart of all of your planning activities, and identify areas where one committee needs deliverables from another.  Make sure everyone is aware of these important timing needs.

4. Leverage technology
Take advantage of one of the great software tools out there to speed recruiting volunteers and allowing them to select their roles and time slots.  In addition, if you have a few helpers with a strong technical aptitude, consider using an online tool for collecting donations or setting up a blog to publicize your event.

5. Don’t reinvent the wheel

You will need to hand out walkathon registration forms, sponsor letters, publicity flyers and instruction sheets.  There are plenty of well done examples as close as your Internet connection, and twenty pages of them in the back of my e-book ready to copy, paste, edit and go.  Use those!

6. Have a pinch hitter team
Even with the best of planning, you’ll find a few things falling through the cracks in the last few days before your event and on walkathon day itself.  Have a few trusty volunteers ready to catch them, so that you can remain sane during the most hectic part of your planning process.

7. Celebrate success at every step
During the planning process, walkathon day, and when the final funds have been counted, how and what will you celebrate?  Be sure to point out great jobs done by your planning team all along the way.  Then decide ahead of time what milestones you’ll recognize for your walkers, whether it’s number of laps or miles walked or amount of funds raised.  During the event, consider having special prizes at each distance milestone, such as jelly bracelets or showy beads on a necklace.  After the event, a slide show may be in order.   Don’t let the opportunity to revel in success slip by.  For one, you’ll add enthusiasm for next year’s walkathon.  But more importantly, everyone deserves the fun of recognizing a job well done.

If you’re new here, take a look around this blog and check out The Walkathon Guide e-book, which you can purchase and download in about three minutes.  There are plenty of details here!  But remember to stay on top of the big picture and delegate those details, to end up with an awesome, well organized walkathon and a very calm and happy walkathon chair (that being you!).

Learn more about The Walkathon Guide book.

Learn more about Lap Cards.

Organizing a Walkathon

Roger CarrYesterday I got nice email about The Walkathon Guide e-book, from a knowledgeable source… ” I wish ‘The Walkathon Guide’ existed when I started leading walkathons.  Lee Garverick has done a great job of creating a step-by-step guide to planning a successful walkathon.  The timelines and sample documents sprinkled throughout the guide are worth the purchase alone.  I am confident future walkathons will be more successful a the experience captured in ‘The Walkathon Guide’ is applied.”

— Roger Carr, walkathon organizer, speaker, author, CharityWalksBlog, e-book “Wake Up and Make a Difference”

One of the most rewarding things about this project is finding people like Roger.  He makes it a life mission to help people help others.  Thanks Roger!