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Walkathons: A Fundraiser’s Secret Weapon (That Donors Love)

What is a Walkathon?

A walkathon is a fundraising event that consists of a long-distance walk along a designated course. Walkathons are often paired with an ending celebration and tend to occur annually.

Why are walkathons great for your organization? Let’s take a look at the benefits:

Health. Walkathons get everyone moving, promoting healthy, active lifestyles.

Community. Walkathons are usually hosted within a community area so that anyone in the community can easily attend.

Accessibility. Walkathons are fun for both athletes hoping to test their skills and newcomers who’ve worked their way up to the designated distance.

Affordability. As fundraising events go, walkathons are relatively inexpensive.

Learn more about walkathons by reading this Booster guide!

Walkathon Types and Themes

Types of Walkathon Courses

Learn more about walkathons on a circuit course.

Circuit Route

A circuit is a loop course that allows participants to finish where they started.

What are the benefits? 

Depending on the length of your circuit, participants can walk around the course more than once. You can create suggested laps and tiers of accomplishment to encourage more walking and prolong the event.

Your starting point can double as your celebration point, so you’ll only need to plan and pay for one central space.

Learn more about walkathons on a straight course.

Straight Route

A straight route is a course that begins in one place and ends in another. These routes will take extra planning, as you’ll need to account for both your starting and ending space. Additionally, participants will need to make transportation arrangements in advance.

What are the benefits?

Straight routes provide a clear end to the event when the last walker crosses the finish line.

You can surprise your participants with an amazing celebration zone at the end of the course.

Learn more about virtual walkathons.

Virtual Walkathon

Virtual walkathons allow participants to walk wherever they are. Supporters usually download an app from a nonprofit or otherwise track their walking distance and then walk on their own time.

What are the benefits?

Anyone, anywhere in the world can participate on their own schedules.

Because the walking can be done in segments, people with limited mobility can more easily participate.

Walkathon Themes

Dog Walkathon

Dog walkathons are perfect for animal shelters or other animal-oriented organizations. Allowing supporters to take their beloved pets to your walkathon can add an element of fun (and fur!) that will encourage more participation.

Just be sure to provide water stations for both people and dogs, and have some doggy treats ready at the finish line!

Including dogs in your walkathon is a fun way to spice up your event!

Costume Walkathon

Costume walkathons bring a theme to life by encouraging both participants and volunteers to dress up. In a zombie walkathon, for example, participants could paint their faces into gaunt and terrifying expressions.

Pair a costume walkathon with a specific holiday or season to capitalize on a celebratory atmosphere.

A walkathon or fun run is a great event to apply to the event checklist!

Neon Walkathon

Neon walkathons can take place in the evening. Each person wears bright neon colors so that they glow as the sun sets. Provide glow sticks or neon sweatbands to light up the streets and turn your walkathon into a beautiful sight!

To keep everyone safe, hire security and crossing guards, and use neon tape to mark your course.

Neon colors can turn your walkathon into a glowing success.

Color Walkathon

Color walkathons combine the fun of getting messy with the beauty of the rainbow. As participants walk, volunteers spray them with color from head to toe. To pull off this theme, you’ll need lots of (safe and non-toxic) color powder or paint.

Encourage participants to wear or purchase white t-shirts so that they can fill up their shirts with color!

Color runs brighten up your product fundraiser!
Start a Booster to create custom t-shirts for your crowdfunding campaign.

Walkathon Fundraising Strategies

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Learn more about the basics of fundraising at walkathons.

The Basics:

Peer-to-peer fundraising, or P2P fundraising, is driven by your supporters. Each individual fundraiser reaches out to their own network of friends and family to raise money before the walkathon.

Your supporters can work together in fundraising teams, reaching their extended networks in a collective force!

Usually, a nonprofit provides each individual fundraiser with a fundraising goal, as well as a platform to create a personal fundraising page. Donors can contribute directly to your organization through your supporters’ fundraising pages.

Learn more about the benefits of fundraising at walkathons.

The Benefits:

P2P fundraising allows each fundraising team to reach their networks in their own way, working off of the connections that they already have.

Instead of your nonprofit acquiring new donors from scratch, your supporters can fundraise based on established relationships and trust.

Additionally, supporters can make personal, natural asks that invite newcomers into your organization. Friends and family may attend your walkathon to support your fundraising teams, or even join them in walking.

Gamify Fundraising

Create competition among your supporters with leaderboards or badges.

Competition encourages your supporters to keep fundraising after they’ve reached their goal.

Encourage Teams

Teams can work together to fundraise and walk as a group during the event.

Team members support each other and hold each other accountable to the fundraising goal.

Pair with T-Shirts

Create an official Booster for your walkathon and encourage supporters to share your storefront to their networks.

Your supporters can also create their own Boosters and team t-shirt designs!

Pledge Fundraising

Learn more about the basics of fundraising at walkathons.

The Basics:

In pledge fundraisers, donors pledge to give a certain amount of money for every mile, kilometer, or lap that a participant walks. Donors can also pledge a flat rate if they’d prefer.

This fundraising strategy works best with a closed circuit course, so that participants can keep walking after they’ve completed the first lap.

Instead of the race ending when the last person crosses the finish line, you can designate an ending time so that participants can rack up as many miles as possible.

Learn more about the benefits of fundraising at walkathons.

The Benefits:

Though there are fewer guarantees in how much your nonprofit will actually receive with a pledge fundraiser, many donors may end up giving more than they normally would.

After all, pledging $10 per mile is a much less intimidating figure than giving $1000 out-of-pocket.

Additionally, pledge fundraisers motivate your participants to keep walking, perhaps farther than they thought they could, in the name of raising funds for your cause.

Offer Incentives

Motivate your participants to push themselves by offering incentives for your top individual fundraisers.

For example, the person who raises the most money at the end of the event will receive a trophy or medal.

Create Lap Cards

To keep track of how far your participants have walked, you’ll need lap cards. Lap cards can be stamped, hole-punched, or colored per lap, mile, or kilometer.

Walkers can use the lap cards as evidence of their accomplishments.

Provide Training Materials

Participants will want to walk as far as possible in this fundraiser.

To supplement their efforts, you can provide your registered walkers with suggested training regimens or resources.

Admissions and Participation Fees

Learn more about the basics of fundraising at walkathons.

The Basics:

Charging for admission to the walkathon is as simple as it sounds.

Create a designated ticket price and sell your tickets online and at the entrance to your launch area.

Additionally, you can charge a fee for participation. Encourage advanced registration by offering a discount or token (a small product).

Learn more about the benefits of fundraising at walkathons.

The Benefits:

Charging for admission and participation ensures that you pull in revenue for your event. You can determine the cost of each ticket based on your estimated expenses. That way, any additional donations will go directly to your cause.

When using this strategy, it’s important that you offer plenty of donation opportunities during the course of the walkathon.

Bring in Guest Speakers

Guest speakers can inspire your walkathon participants to give more than the admission cost.

A major donor, a frontline fundraiser, or a recipient of your nonprofit’s aid are all perfect candidates to connect with your audience.

Provide Entertainment

If you’re charging for admission, you’ll want to provide entertainment to attract attendees who won’t be participating in the walkathon itself.

An after-party band, for example, could be the headliner you need to draw people to your event.

Go Mobile

To increase on-site donations, you can offer mobile giving options, such as text-to-give and mobile-friendly fundraising pages.

Mobile devices are a convenient means for donors to give, especially at an outdoor event like a walkathon!

Products and Concessions

Learn more about the basics of fundraising at walkathons.

The Basics:

Selling products and concessions at your walkathon is a great way to fundraise for your cause because it can supplement any of the other fundraising strategies.

Sports drinks and energy bars, for example, are the perfect food products to keep everyone energized.

Active wear products and water bottles are popular walkathon merchandise that participants can use in their daily lives.

You can sell these products at the event, or you can create a Booster fundraiser and allow participants to buy their official walkathon t-shirts in advance!

Learn more about the benefits of fundraising at walkathons.

The Benefits:

Products can remind your participants of your walkathon every time they use your water bottle or wear your t-shirt.

Branded products that include your nonprofit’s name and logo can advertise your organization to everyone in your attendees’ networks.

For example, anyone on the street who sees your attendees wearing their t-shirts can become a new prospect for your nonprofit.

Products also act as incentive for additional donations because participants will be eager to give when they receive an awesome product in exchange.

Create Collectibles

A specific product that participants can buy year after year is something that your attendees can look forward to.

These products should include the walkathon year, so that participants can watch their collections expand!

Offer Variety

Different products, colors, and styles will help you appeal to more of your attendees.

That said, all of your products should still center around the walkathon, and you don’t want to order more products than you can feasibly sell.

Team Up With Sponsors

Sponsors can foot the cost of products, give in-kind donations, or set up vendors during your walkathon.

A local restaurant, for example, may sell food for a fee, netting your nonprofit some of the revenue.

Learn more about Walkathons!

Walkathon Logistics

What do you need to set up a walkathon?

You'll need medical services on standby at your walkathon.

Medical Services

To keep your participants safe, you’ll need first aid kits and medical professionals available during your walkathon, perhaps in a medical tent. You may even want an ambulance on standby just in case.

Sell t-shirts at your walkathon!

T-shirts

T-shirts are the go-to walkathon product that everyone can wear during the event! You’ll need to order shirts in advance so that they’re ready for the day of the walkathon.

Control traffic to keep your walkathon safe!

Traffic Control

If you’re hosting your walkathon on public streets, you’ll need permits to redirect traffic. You’ll need to work with your city to make arrangements, which may include crossing guards or blocked streets.

What do you need during the walkathon?

Hospitality stations can keep your walkathon participants hydrated.

Hospitality Stations

Tables along the walkathon course should provide water, orange slices, and fans. Eager volunteers with misting bottles can man the tables, keeping your walkers cool, comfortable, and hydrated.

Sings and designators will show your walkathon participants where to go.

Signs and Designators

Ensure that all participants are on the right track by using signs or volunteers to direct them toward the finish line. You can also provide maps before the walkathon begins.

Design a walkathon page.

Time Tracking

Have volunteers track your attendees’ times with stopwatches. For bigger walkathons, you can display team names on a large screen as participants finish.

What do you need after the walkathon?

Provide your walkathon participants with rewards.

Awards

Reward your fastest participants and top individual fundraisers with medals, and publicly recognize them once the walkathon ends. Alternatively, you can provide rewards for everyone who crosses the finish line.

Celebrate the end of your walkathon.

Celebration Area

At the end of the walkathon, your participants will want to celebrate their accomplishments. An awards ceremony and an after-party with music or local bands is a great way to end. Additionally, fun booths can entertain your supporters.

Provide snacks and food to keep everyone energized during your walkathon.

Snacks and Food

Though you can offer food before or during your event, the post-walkathon celebration is the perfect chance to earn some extra revenue from your hungry attendees. After all, your walkers will need some nutrition after completing your course!

Increase your walkathon fundraising!

Walkathon Planning Timeline

6 Months   •   5 Months   •   3-4 Months   •   1-2 Months   •   1 Week   •   Walkathon Day

6 Months in Advance

Determine your cause and theme

Zero in on a specific, tangible cause that your walkathon will support. Choose a cause that you can quickly support with the walkathon funds, so that participants can see the results of their efforts soon after. Additionally, select a theme that will draw supporters into your event!

Set fundraising goals

Set an overall fundraising goal as well as goals for your individual fundraisers. To set goals:

  • Determine your financial need.
  • Aim for about 30% more than you need.
  • Divide your overall goal by around 70% of your active supporters.

Select a location and course

Choose a safe location with adequate parking and access to utilities like water, restrooms, and electricity. Then, determine the length and route of your course. Children’s walkathons are usually 1/4 mile to 1/2 mile, while walkathons aimed at adults are usually 5Ks, or longer.

5 Months in Advance

Create a walkathon website

Once you have your walkathon details in place, create a website that both informs your supporters and allows them to donate to your cause. Include a fundraising thermometer to show the progress you’re making toward your overall goal.

Open registration

Supporters can’t participate unless they can access your registration forms. Announce your open registration in a social media post. Include waivers or liability releases as a part of the registration process.

Secure permits and insurance

You’ll need permits to alter traffic routes, and you may want to request police officers or ambulances for safety. Check with local authorities about insurance policies if you’re holding your walkathon on public property.

Recruit volunteers and fundraising teams

Reach out to your current supporter base via email to inform them of the opportunity to volunteer at the walkathon and fundraise for the event. Outline when and where you’ll need volunteers, and start coordinating each team’s Booster page!

Reach out to sponsors and vendors

Create an information packet to send to sponsors. You’ll need to secure your walkathon’s colors, theme, and logo so that sponsors know how they can be incorporated into your advertisements.

Secure entertainment

Reach out to entertainers, such as bands, and make arrangements for your walkathon. You may need to provide additional resources, such as a stage or sound system, so lock down the details early.

3-4 Months in Advance

Start your Booster!

Design your official walkathon t-shirts based upon your chosen cause and theme and set up your online page.

Secure sponsors for advertisements

Incorporate your sponsors’ logos into your print flyers and advertisements. Start spreading your flyers in local businesses and community centers.

Purchase products and confirm vendors

Put down payments on any products that you’ll be selling at your event and confirm any vendors who’d like to sell products at your walkathon.

Reach out to major donors

Give major donors a personal invitation to your walkathon. Gauge their interest in supporting your walkathon. Some major donors may prefer to give a donation, while others may be interested in giving a speech to encourage more giving during the event.

1-2 Months in Advance

Finalize details

At this point, you should know your exact walkathon course and the location of each hospitality station, booth, vendor, and stage. Confirm your permits and legal requirements, just to be safe.

Determine volunteer schedule

Assign your volunteers to their tasks, and keep recruiting to fill in any gaps.

Market on social media

Heavily push your walkathon on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Encourage your fundraising teams and supporters to share your posts.

Finish your Booster campaign

It can take up to 22 business days to get everyone’s custom t-shirts shipped! Make sure shipping doesn’t conflict with your walkathon, and reach out to your Booster advisor to work out shipping times.

Reach out to media and send press releases

Continue advertising your walkathon with radio announcements and newspaper releases, and contact the media for walkathon-day coverage. Highlight your walkathon cause, as well as any special features, such as entertainment.

1 Week in Advance

Send email blast

Leave no supporter un-reached! Send email blasts leading up to the day of the walkathon, urging donors to push your nonprofit over your fundraising goal or attend your walkathon.

Remind RSVPs of walkathon details

Email your registered attendees to remind them of the walkathon schedule and provide them with any information they may need, such as parking details.

Pick up products

Create a checklist for every product that you need for your event, and make sure you pick up everything you need, from traffic cones to water bottles.

Walkathon Day!

Set-up launch and celebration area

Have set-up volunteers arrive at least two hours in advance to set up tables, tents, food and water stations, and the walkathon course itself.

Welcome sponsors and major donors

Since you’ll have limited time to interact with attendees, send your frontline fundraisers to your sponsors and major donors for in-person conversations. Don’t forget to thank them for their support!

Get walking!

Once the walkathon starts, it’s your turn to participate. Get everyone excited about walking with an extra dash of enthusiasm.

Host awards ceremony

Thank your participants and announce your top fundraising teams and fastest walkers. You can also host a mini-contest, such as a best t-shirt competition to reward your creative supporters.

Clean-up

Once the walkathon is over, it’s time to clean-up the event space and make sure that all roads are clear so that traffic can resume normally.

Assemble Walkathon Team

Walkathon Committees

A planning committee can help you set up your fundraising event.

Planning Committee

What is their role?
The planning committee is the backbone of your walkathon and should be formed 6 months in advance. This committee determines the scope and course of your walkathon, laying the groundwork for the event.

Board members, frontline fundraisers, and high-level volunteers with valuable connections in the community should compose this committee of around 10-15 people.

What are the key responsibilities?

» Determine fundraising cause.
» Set walkathon budget.
» Select date, location, and course.
» Schedule walkathon activities.
» Create back-up plan in the event of bad weather.

A walkathon event committee can help you execute the event.

Walkathon Event Committee

What is their role?
The event committee initiates the work that the planning committee lays out. Their primary goal is to raise money with your walkathon.

This committee comes into play once the walkathon details are finalized. Members can consist of a variety of volunteers, staff, and board members who have the skills to spread the word about your walkathon and actually make it happen.

What are the key responsibilities?

» Coordinate staff and volunteers.
» Recruit walkers.
» Manage fundraising teams.
» Determine official event t-shirts and products.
» Reach out to sponsors and vendors.

Essential Walkathon Subcommittees

Marketing and Publicity
Manages advertising, including printing and distribution of print materials.

Concessions
Purchases and coordinates sales of food and drink during the walkathon.

Registration
Handles fundraising teams and ensures that all participants are registered.

Entertainment
Coordinates and manages post-walkathon entertainment and activities.

Walkathon Support

Staff and volunteers can ensure that your fundraising event is a success.

Staff and Volunteers

What is their role?
Staff and volunteers will do the legwork of your walkathon, especially during the day of the event. Usually, you’ll divide staff and volunteer roles into set-up, clean-up, and event duties.

Staff and volunteers should be recruited early, at least 5 months in advance of the event, though you can continue to recruit until a few days before the walkathon.

What are the key responsibilities?

» Set-up the walkathon before walkers arrive.
» Run registration tables and concessions.
» Direct attendees to parking area and starting line.
» Clean-up after the walkathon is over.
» Pass out flyers and marketing materials.

Sponsors can offset the costs of your walkathon.

Sponsors

What is their role?
Sponsors will help supplement your walkathon’s expenses by providing monetary or in-kind donations, as well as marketing.

Reach out to sponsors early; sometimes, businesses can create a snowball effect as sponsors vie for a chance to support your walkathon. Local businesses in particular are prime prospects because they can have strong community ties.

What are the key responsibilities?

» Cover walkathon costs.
» Provide in-kind donations, such as food and products.
» Advertise sponsorship for walkathon.
» Offer matching gifts or fundraising matches.
» Provide additional support and resources.

Fundraising teams are vital to raising money at your fundraising event.

Fundraising Teams

What is their role?
Fundraising teams are more than participants in your walkathon; they’re the key elements of bringing in revenue to support your cause.

Opening registration early will allow more fundraising teams to get involved with your walkathon.

Start a “soft launch,” where volunteers, staff, board members, and current supporters create fundraising teams in advance.

What are the key responsibilities?

» Meet fundraising goal.
» Share fundraising page on social media.
» Make an ask to friends and family members in person.
» Create, wear, and sell team t-shirts with Booster.
» Advertise and attend the walkathon.

Your Booster advisor can help you raise more at your walkathon with t-shirts!

Booster Advisor

What is their role?
A Booster advisor can help you manage your walkathon t-shirts.

Additionally, they can help you design your official event t-shirts, determine your price points, and establish the length of your campaign (after all, you’ll need time to receive the shirts before the walkathon!).

You can also consult these valuable advisors when coordinating t-shirts for your fundraising teams.

What are the key responsibilities?

» Support your Booster fundraiser.
» Offer design insight and help.
» Answer any questions and inquiries.
» Work with you to deliver shirts on time.
» Provide additional resources.

What kind of key supporters do you need?

Photographer
A professional photographer or a group of volunteers can take high-quality pictures of your walkathon.

Master of Ceremonies
An emcee will run your awards ceremony and announce relevant information during the walkathon.

Starter
A major donor or top fundraiser starts the walkathon with an “on your mark, get set, go!”

Special Guest
A celebrity or star athlete (even local ones!) can inspire more attendance and build press coverage.

Walkathon Marketing

Marketing to Donors

Coordinate team fundraising to earn more at your next walkathon.

Coordinate Team Fundraising

What is the strategy? 

A team fundraising campaign allows individual fundraisers to work together in teams.

Teams work especially well for walkathons because teammates can compete together, encourage each other in their fundraising efforts, and solicit more donations than any of them could on their own.

Why does it work? 
Teams take the fear out of fundraising. After all, supporters are more likely to attend an event if they know other people who will be attending.

Further, teams provide a foot-in-the-door to new prospects who may not know your nonprofit, but who want to be part of a friend or family member’s fundraising team!

Key Marketing Strategies

» Coordinate team t-shirts. Help teams band together by coordinating Boosters so that team members can stand in visual solidarity with their t-shirts and incentivize donors!

» Encourage team names. Team names will foster identity and the competitive spirit. Teams should be recognized by their chosen names during award ceremonies or in social media shout-outs.

» Make registration simple. Offer two registration options for teams: create a new team or join an existing team. The person who creates a team may be referred to as the Team Captain and may be provided with additional resources, such as team toolkits and strategies.

Brand your walkathon!

Brand Your Walkathon

What is the strategy? 

Branding your walkathon involves creating a consistent, recognizable image for your event, and as an extension, your nonprofit. Branding mechanisms include:

The name of your walkathon.

Colors, designs, or logos.

Hashtags and slogans.

It should be clear what your walkathon stands for!

Why does it work? 
A brand helps supporters recognize your nonprofit when they see advertisements. Additionally, a brand creates consistency across your communications so that everyone receives the same core message.

If supporters can easily identify who your nonprofit is and what your walkathon supports, then they’ll be more likely to get involved or make a donation.

Key Marketing Strategies

» Walk for [Blank]. Ideally, you want to include “walk” or variations on the word in your event name. Fill in the “blank” with the specific cause your walkathon will support.

» Simplify designs. A few colors, a single logo, and 2-3 templates for flyers or social media posts should be more than enough. Simple designs make it easier to incorporate sponsors’ logos into your advertisements, and they help ensure that information is clear and readable.

» Cross communicateInclude your catchy walkathon hashtags on flyers or other print materials, and email supporters links to your fundraising page.

» Create t-shirtsEven though your walkathon teams will likely have t-shirts of their own, you’ll still want to create event t-shirts that all of your attendees will enjoy. Walkathon t-shirts can become collectible items that attendees look forward to each year.

Foster the competitive spirit during your walkathons.

Foster the Competitive Spirit

What is the strategy? 

Competition creates a twofold effect for walkathons if you implement it correctly:

It encourages your individual fundraisers to exceed their goals as they compete for the top fundraising spot.

It encourages supporters to walk farther or walk faster than they would normally, resulting in a satisfying sense of accomplishment once your walkathon is over.

Both of these benefits can create a positive event experience!

Why does it work? 
Friendly competition is a powerful motivator that pushes your supporters to achieve more than they thought they could!

Key Marketing Strategies

» Use leaderboards or badges. Leaderboards showcase your top fundraising teams and rank them according to how much they’ve raised. Badges can be used to acknowledge fundraising milestones.

» Track time and distance. Lap cards, colored beads, or time stamps can show donors how much they’ve walked or how quickly they’ve completed the course.

» Offer incentives. Incentives can include prizes for your top fundraising teams or recognition on your social media pages.

» Promote team spirit. Each team will have a unique identity, and encouraging them to showcase who they are can inspire friendly competition!

Marketing to Sponsors

Offer different options to sponsors to make your fundraising walkathon enticing.

Offer Different Options

What is the strategy? 

Each company will have different preferences and abilities for supporting your organization.

You may, for instance, determine one core sponsor who will foot the majority of the expenses; or, you may divide sponsorship more evenly among several companies, who each offer different types of support.

You can outline all options in sponsorship packets, but you can ask for targeted donations in personalized letters or phone calls. A local restaurant, for example, may be the perfect prospect to provide breakfast for your walkathon!

Why does it work? 
Offering different options for support can appeal to more sponsors. Further, a variety of donations can help you tackle various aspects of your walkathon.

Key Marketing Strategies

» Solicit in-kind donations. Energy bars, water bottles, active wear, a mist tent, a hearty breakfast or lunch, sweatbands, sunglasses, a karaoke station the opportunities are endless! 

» Inform supporters of matching gift opportunities. Other opportunities for support come in the form of matching gifts and fundraising matches. Informing your fundraising teams of these opportunities can allow them to seek corporate support on their own!

» Provide sponsor tiers. Gold, silver, and bronze tiers can be used to differentiate the level of support that sponsors provide. Tiers with designated donation amounts can provide sponsors with context for how much they should give and even persuade them to donate more! 

Highlight the walkathon benefits that sponsors will love.

Highlight Walkathon Benefits

What is it? 

In general, sponsorship benefits include:

Promotion and publicity at your walkathon and on your marketing materials.

Positive attention as walkathon attendees associate the sponsor with philanthropy.

You’ll need to be specific in regards to how exactly you’ll achieve these two main goals. You can, for example, provide sample flyers showing where sponsor logos will be displayed.

Why does it work? 
Highlighting the specific benefits of getting involved with your walkathon will allow sponsors to make an informed decision to support your event.

Key Marketing Strategies

» Give a donation, get a mile. Each sponsor “earns” a mile or kilometer in your walkathon. At each mile marker, include a banner or sign thanking the sponsor for their support  — a sign that your walkers can’t miss!

» Credit sponsors with walkathon funName your tents, entertainment stations, or food and water stops after your sponsors. Imagine how grateful your supporters will feel when they enter the “Company Name” Mist Tent during a hot summer day!

» Thank sponsors with t-shirtsThe backs of your t-shirts are prime real estate for sponsors. You can include their names or logos on your official walkathon t-shirts.

Capitalize on the connections that donors have to raise more at your walkathon.

Capitalize on Connections

What is the strategy? 

Build off of established relationships and connections by leveraging the networks of your:

Walkathon committees.

Board members.

Major donors.

Volunteers and supporters.

Additionally, local businesses can be strong candidates because of their connections to your community.

Why does it work? 
Sponsors are more likely to respond to people they know and trust. Asking for donations based upon established connections is a natural, sincere approach to fundraising.

Key Marketing Strategies

» Get sponsors walking. Suggesting that sponsors create a fundraising team of employees (and their own team t-shirts!) to participate in the walkathon involves them directly in the event!

» Seek out sporty sponsorsSportswear retailers, shoe stores, gyms, or similar businesses will have a connection to your walkathon. Emphasize that walkathon attendees may be the perfect customers for these active lifestyle stores.

» Train your individual fundraisersYour team may be reluctant to ask for a donation from a friend or boss. Emphasize that asking for donations is built upon a mutually beneficial relationship; sponsorships, after all, benefit the sponsor too!

Learn more about Walkathons!

T-Shirt Marketing For Nonprofits and Fundraising Teams

Tell a story to sell more t-shirts during your walkathon.

Tell a Story
Use your Booster page to tell a story about what the walkathon means to you. Show any personal connections you have to the cause, as well as your personal walking goals.

Brand your t-shirts to your walkathon.

Brand to the Walkathon
Images of footwear or running figures will evoke the feeling of a walkathon. Participants want to remember your specific event, so include the walkathon’s name and year on the shirt.

Set a recommended price point for your walkathon t-shirts.

Set Recommended Price Point
Booster recommends pricing t-shirts around $20-$25 because donors know that they’re supporting your cause when they give.

Offer multiple styles and designs for your walkathon t-shirts.

Offer Multiple Options
Several styles will appeal to more supporters, so offer a varied storefront. You may want to choose cotton materials, as they’re easy to wash and wear.

Choose a simple design for your walkathon t-shirts.

Choose a Simple Design
A simple, effective design using no more than 3 colors is best. Fewer colors are more affordable, and they’ll look great on any supporter!

Use videos to make you walkathon t-shirts sell faster.

Use Video
Booster campaigns that included videos saw 16% higher sales. Videos can showcase a previous walkathon and/or the recipients of your services receiving aid.

Walkathon Resources

A volunteer packet can show your walkathon volunteers what to do.

Volunteer Packets

What are they? Volunteer packets are digital or physical information packets that your nonprofit gives to your volunteers and fundraising teams.

What do you need? You’ll need to include:

  • Background information on your walkathon mission.
  • Social media toolkits, including customizable post templates.
  • Suggested fundraising tips.
  • Additional opportunities to engage with your nonprofit.
Walkathon flyers can spread the word about your event.

Walkathon Flyers

What are they? Flyers are print materials that will advertise your walkathon. Post flyers in local businesses and community centers, and give extra copies to your supporters.

What do you need? 

  • Time, location, and basic information about your walkathon.
  • Walkathon visuals, especially group photos.
  • Digital copies that supporters can print or share.
  • QR codes that link to the fundraising page.
Design a walkathon page.

Fundraising Pages

What are they? Your official walkathon fundraising page will provide information about your walkathon and collect donations from supporters.

What do you need?

  • A simple, clear design.
  • Storefront integration, so that you can sell your t-shirts.
  • A fundraising thermometer to track progress.
  • A single-page donation form.
Lap cards keep track of your walkathon participants.

Lap Cards

What are they? Lap cards are visual markers of a walker’s progress. For each lap or kilometer that a person walks, they’ll get a hole punch, a sticker, or a mark on their card.

What do you need?

  • Small cards that walkers can easily carry or wear on lanyards.
  • A marking method.
  • Volunteers to mark cards during the walkathon.
  • A lap card company or DIY team to create the cards.
A fundraising letter template can help you reach out for donations for your walkathon.

Fundraising Letter Templates

What are they? Letter templates will help your team reach out to donors, sponsors, and volunteers.

What do you need?

  • A introductory story that showcases your cause.
  • A call to action that moves recipients to donate or volunteer.
  • Personalized greetings that use preferred names and titles.
  • Basic information about your walkathon.
A registration form can allow you to gather walkathon participants.

Registration Forms

What are they? You’ll need online or print registration forms for your walkathon participants and fundraising teams.

What do you need?

  • Fields for names, addresses, and contact information.
  • Access to waivers, including emergency contact information.
  • An addressed return envelope.
  • A quick confirmation, so teams can start fundraising!

Thanking and Follow-Ups

Acknowledge Top Fundraising Teams

During your awards ceremony, your top fundraising teams should be the stars of the event! Be sure to take pictures of them receiving their awards for a follow-up social media celebration post!

Thank Walkers

Ensure that each participant understands how valuable their attendance and donations were to your cause. Update them as soon as your cause has been fulfilled (2-3 weeks after the walkathon) with personal emails.

Send Walkathon Surveys

Surveys can show you how you can improve your next walkathon. Ask supporters how they’d rate various aspects of the walkathon on a 1-5 scale, and include open lines for free response suggestions.

Update on Social Media

An event photographer(s) should take high-quality photos during your event, which you can then use to create an online photo gallery! Crazy hair or silly costume booths can make for some great photo ops!

Thank Volunteers and Staff

Thank your volunteers and staff in individual emails and in a large social media post. The post can accomplish two things: showing that your walkathon was a success and celebrating the volunteers who made it happen.

Call Sponsors and Major Donors

To thank your sponsors and major donors personally, give them a phone call where you express your gratitude. After all, you’ll want to maintain a long-term relationship once the walkathon itself ends — and, of course, earn support for next year!

Increase your walkathon fundraising!