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How Walk-a-Thons Work: The Essentials

The Basics of Walk-a-Thon Fundraisers

Walk-a-thons are wonderful fundraisers because they can be used by a wide variety of organizations and are accessible to most people. These types of fundraisers can be hosted at a park or other outdoor venue with the proper permissions or can be done in a hybrid format with participants logging steps taken or distance walked online from their own neighborhoods and local parks.

Some of the other benefits of walk-a-thons include:

  • Differently-abled people can also participate because there are no obstacles or other activities like climbing or biking involved.
  • Families can participate together, whether at your in-person event or from their own neighborhood.
  • Most walk-a-thon software comes at little to no cost to the organizers of the event.
  • This event type promotes health and community while helping raise money.
  • You can increase funds by combining this fundraiser with other fundraising types, like selling t-shirts.

Walk-a-thons are a great choice for almost any organization because they’re easy to plan and host, have a low cost, bring communities together, and more!

What You Need to Host a Walk-a-Thon Fundraiser

Walk-a-thons are not very material-heavy fundraisers, which is one of their main benefits. However, there are a few things you’ll need to make sure you secure before announcing your walk-a-thon fundraiser. These include:

  • A venue or location. Assuming you choose to host your fundraiser in person, you’ll need to find a space that can host all of your participants and any friends and family coming to support. Most local parks are great choices, just double check that you have any permissions or permits you need to legally host an event there!
  • Walk-a-thon focused peer-to-peer software. Even if you choose to charge an entry fee, pledge donations are still an excellent way to raise funds. Dedicated walk-a-thon software can allow your participants to easily set up peer-to-peer style fundraising pages for their friends and families to make pledges through.
  • An online social space for participants to interact. Whether your event is in-person or hybrid, having an online space, like a Facebook group, is a great idea. This will allow your participants to post pictures, updates, and encouraging messages for each other before, during, and after the event. It also gives you another convenient method for communicating updates.

If you want to go big, you can always partner with local community vendors to set up booths at your walk-a-thon, gather supplies like water bottles to hand out to participants, or design and sell t-shirts during the event. However, these are all optional add-ons that can just help take your event to the next level.

8 Steps to Host a Walk-a-Thon Fundraiser

These eight steps will take you from brainstorming to hosting an awesome walk-a-thon in no time!

1. Invest in walk-a-thon software.

Find a reliable software provider that has the features you need at the price you want. You should look for a provider that has customizable peer-to-peer pages that are easy to set up, secure payment processing, and excellent customer support.

2. Select a location, or go hybrid.

If you’d like to host your fundraiser in person, research your local parks or other locations to find out which would be suitable. Once you’ve selected your location, make sure you can gain permission to assemble there, if necessary.

If you’d rather go hybrid, have your participants sign up as normal and then have them begin their walk-a-thon from their own neighborhood or park at the designated time. All participants should track their steps, distance, or time walked, depending on what metrics you choose to use.

3. Spread the word.

Make sure you get the word out about your event so that participants have time to sign up and ask their family and friends to pledge donations.

You can use your email newsletter, flyers in your physical location, and social media to let your supporters know about your upcoming event. Ensure that all of the necessary details are readily available to avoid losing participants to confusion.

4. Sign up participants.

Once people start hearing about your fundraiser, they’ll be jumping to sign up to participate! Already having your software ready to go will make this process go much more smoothly.

As supporters start reaching out, get them signed up and begin setting up their peer-to-peer pages. The sooner you have these ready, the sooner they can begin asking family and friends to pledge their support.

5. Encourage family and friends to come and support.

Having their friends and family come to cheer them on with signs and snacks will help keep up the morale. Your participants will be able to walk much farther and raise more money with the support of their loved ones!

You could even host a sign-making workshop to get family and friends to make signs before the event. This can be a fun family event that will get everyone ready for the walk-a-thon!

6. Share the results of your event

You don’t want the momentum to die out after your walk-a-thon is over. Make sure to share how long or far your participants walked in total and how much was raised.

Seeing the success of this event will make participants feel great and encourage them to participate in future fundraisers. It can also inspire supporters who didn’t participate this time to get involved in the future.

7. Thank participants and donors

As with any fundraiser, it’s crucial that you thank all of your donors and supporters after the fact. While they signed up to make a difference and because they care about your cause, they could still get disillusioned if they feel unappreciated.

Let them know how much their support means to you with personalized thank yous, a social media shoutout, or other forms of donor appreciation.

8. Solicit feedback.

Lastly, you want to improve upon the success of this event for future walk-a-thons. Send out a survey a few days after the event to gauge everyone’s satisfaction and solicit suggestions on how to improve.

This will help your supporters feel heard and will allow you to not only improve future walk-a-thons but also better tailor them to your specific donor base’s preferences.

With all these steps, you’re ready to host an amazing walk-a-thon!

Additional Resources to Host a Successful Walk-a-Thon

If you’re ready to get started but want more ideas and information, check to these other helpful resources: