Walking is something that most of us can do with ease, and it is a relaxing and healthy way to pass time. Not only that, but a walkathon can be a challenging and engaging way of raising money for charity, as most people recognize the achievement, and it is available to people of all ages and athletic ability.
Focus on Accessibility Rather Than Distance
Although many walkathons walking events enable people to be sponsored per mile walked, this can alienate people with poor mobility or fitness levels. By choosing to enable donors to sponsor walkers for set amounts instead of distances, you open up your walking event and make it more appealing for people of all age ranges and abilities.
Walking events do not have to be set from place to place to succeed. You could consider setting up an event walking a race track, and introduce quirky themes such as holding the walk at night, using fancy dress to draw crowds and publicity, or even bringing in egg and spoon racing, or pets to liven things up.
Local press and media are more likely to feature your sponsored walk if you make it accessible, engaging and quirky. Pick a theme for your walkathon and let people know about it to raise awareness and generate public interest. Holding the walk in a central place and inviting the local press increases your chances of generating sponsorship and donations.
Ways to Generate Funds
A popular way to generate funds is to sell t-shirts as admission for participants and ask non-participants for sponsorships. Consider selling advertising space on your t-shirts. You can also encourage donations by actively involving the general public: volunteers can hold collection boxes along the route of the walkathon and sell concessions which can help make a surprising amount of extra money from supporters. This gives people who do not want to take part in the actual event the chance to get involved in a different way. You can sell anything from customized reusable water sports bottles to food or t-shirts.
Plan a Route and Work with Your Local Government
Consider at least two or three different routes for your walkathon. Walk them yourself first and then mark them on a map. One you’ve nailed down your options, work with your local government to approve one of the routes. Your route may need permits, or may not be feasible for your walkathon because of upcoming construction work, etc.
When planning a walkathon, it’s important to keep costs down at every stage of planning. It’s easy for spending to get out of hand when you consider renting tables, laying out money for t-shirts and fundraising items and so on.
Decide from the beginning what the absolute necessities are (organization and safety should be at the top of your list) and focus to get those handled first. Be aware that it may not be in your best interest to get your most important items donated. It may be best if they’re handled ‘in-house’, or contracted, so the foundation of your fundraising event doesn’t rest on a volunteer who may or may not take his or her job too seriously. Recruit volunteers for manning tables, selling fundraising items and drinks and ushering participants and spectators to the right place.