Maven’s latest Tweets!

25 Sep

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4 Foundations to Philanthropy: Listen More to Nonprofits and Speak Less nonprofitquarterly.org/2017/0… via @npquarterly

About 45 minutes ago from WalkathonMaven's Twitter via Twitter Web Client

Tweets now on my home page!

Cause Calendar for 2017

3 Jan

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2017-cause

Here it is!

Fresh from the Non Profit Tech For Good folks –

It’s the 2017 Case Awareness and Giving Day Calendar!

Once again, my birthday falls on the International Day for Street Children.

January

15: World Religion Day#WorldReligionDay
16: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service — #MLKDay

February

2: World Wetlands Day — #WorldWetlandsDay
4: World Cancer Day — #WorldCancerDay
13: World Radio Day#WorldRadioDay
18: World Whale Day#WorldWhaleDay

14: V-Day — #1BillionRising
20: World Day of Social Justice — #SocialJusticeDay
23: Digital Learning Day — #DLDay
27: International Polar Bear Day#PolarBearDay
28: World Spay Day — #WorldSpayDay

28: Rare Disease Day — #RareDiseaseDay

March

3: World Wildlife Day#WorldWildlifeDay
8: International Women’s Day — #WomensDay

9: World Kidney Day — #WorldKidneyDay
21: International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination#EndRacism
21: International Day of Forests#ForestsDay
21: World Down Syndrome Day#DownSyndromeDay
21: World Poetry Day#WorldPoetryDay
22: World Water Day — #WorldWaterDay

24: World Tuberculosis Day — #WorldTBDay
25: Earth Hour#EarthHour

April

2: World Autism Awareness Day — #WorldAustismDay
7: World Health Day#WorldHealthDay

12: International Day for Street Children — #StreetChildrenDay
14: World Dolphin Day #DolphinDay
15: World Art Day — #WorldArtDay
22: Earth Day — #EarthDay
23: World Book Day#WorldBookDay
25: World Malaria Day — #WorldMalariaDay
25: World Penguin Day#WorldPenguinDay
30: International Jazz Day#JazzDay

May

1: International Workers’ Day — #LaborDay
3: World Press Freedom Day#WorldPressFreedomDay
2: Give Local America Day — #GiveLocal17
10: World Lupus Day — #WorldLupusDay
13: World Migratory Bird Day#WorldMigratoryBirdDay

13: World Fair Trade Day — #FairTradeDay
17: International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia#IDAHOT
18: International Museum Day — #MuseumDay
22: International Day for Biological Diversity#BiologicalDiversityDay

23: World Turtle Day — #WorldTurtleDay
31: World No Tobacco Day — #WorldNoTobaccoDay

June

5: World Environment Day#WorldEnvironmentDay
8: World Oceans Day — #WorldOceansDay
12: World Day Against Child Labor#WDACL

14: World Blood Donor Day — #WorldBloodDonorDay
20: World Refugee Day — #WorldRefugeeDay
21: International Day of Yoga#YogaDay

July

11: WorldPopulationDay — #WorldPopulationDay
18: Nelson Mandela International Day — #MandelaDay
28:
World Hepatitis Day#WorldHepatitisDay
29: International Tiger Day — #TigerDay
30: World Day Against Trafficking in Persons#WorldDayAgainstTrafficking

August

8: International Cat Day#CatDay
9: International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples — 
#IndigenousDay
12: International Youth Day — #YouthDay
12: World Elephant Day — #WorldElephantDay
19: World Humanitarian Day — #WorldHumanitarianDay
26: International Dog Day#DogDay
29: International Day Against Nuclear Tests#AgainstNuclearTestsDay

September

5: International Day of Charity#CharityDay
8: International Literacy Day — 
#LiteracyDay
10: World Suicide Prevention Day — #WSPD
15: International Day of Democracy#DemocracyDay
21: International Day of Peace — #PeaceDay
22: World Rhino Day — #WorldRhinoDay
24: World Rivers Day — #WorldRiversDay
27: World Tourism Day#WorldTourismDay

October

2: World Habitat Day#WorldHabitatDay
4: World Animal Day — 
#WorldAnimalDay
5: World Cerebral Palsy Day#WorldCPDay
5: World Teachers Day — #WorldTeachersDay
10: World Mental Health Day — #WorldMentalHealthDay
11: International Day of the Girl — #DayOfTheGirl
12: World Arthritis Day — #WorldArthritisDay
15: International Day of Rural Women#RuralWomenDay
16: World Food Day#WorldFoodDay
17: International Day for the Eradication of Poverty#EndPoveryDay
29: World Internet Day#WorldInternetDay
31: World Cities Day#WorldCitiesDay

November

13: World Kindness Day#WorldKindnessDay
14: World Diabetes Day — 
#WorldDiabetesDay
16: International Day for Tolerance#ToleranceDay
16: World Philosophy Day#WorldPhilosophyDay
19: World Toilet Day#WorldToiletDay
20: Universal Children’s Day — #ChildrensDay
21: World Television Day#WorldTVDay
25: International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women#EndViolenceAgainstWomen
28: Giving Tuesday#GivingTuesday

December

1: World AIDS Day — #WorldAIDSDay
3: International Day of People with Disabilities — #IDPwD
5: International Volunteer Day#VolunteerDay
5: World Soil Day#WorldSoilDay

9: International Anti-Corruption Day #AntiCorruptionDay
10: International Human Rights Day — #HumanRightsDay
11: International Mountain Day — #MountainDay
18: International Migrants Day#MigrantsDay

‘Tis the season to be thankful

23 Nov

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Thanksgiving is tomorrow!  Are you ready?

I usually do the hosting (so I can drink allotta wine) and cooking (ordering) for the big day and my kids like to help me prepare by hiding and “catching up on homework”. Hubby barricades himself in the home office when he is not at yoga for the Flow before the Feast, the Pre-game Flow before the Feast, or at Staples getting more ‘supplies’.

Thanksgiving is the kickoff for the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!  Yes? Yes!

wonderful

Since it is the season to be grateful, I thought this would be a good opportunity to post about thanking our peeps that sponsor, donate or walk in our events..

Question: How quick should you thank your walkers after an event or receiving a donation?

ASAP I say! You should already know who your sponsors and team leaders are well before walk day.  So, you should be able to create abuncha merge thank-you letters for that group wayyy before the event.  Stuff’m and seal’m so that they can be run thru the postage machine the day after the walk.  Boom!

Now, I would never share the pre-thanks secret with my kids, because I want them to write a VERY detailed thank-you note to all their donors (read: gift-givers) within a week of receiving it.

You will also have enough time before the event to create or purchase a sentimental piece to commemorate the event sponsorship.  This can be presented to your sponsors at a thank-you-please-come-back-next-year meeting shortly after the event.  KaPow!  I like to put a nice frame around the event poster containing their logo and include a cut-out with a message.

Thanking the walkers is tricky, because you need to get the 100 or 1,000 or 10,000 or 50,000 names into your database so you can generate a thank-you. This will take more time, but you should thank your walkers no later than one month after the event. Really. One month. You can do it!

Since many walkathons are in the fall, this thank-you letter should arrive around the holidays.  Please do not use this thank-you as an opportunity to also stuff a year-end giving ask in the same envelope.  Not classy.  Keep the thank-you genuine and the year-end giving letter separate.

THANK YOU for reading and I hope you and your family have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Head of the Charles Regatta

19 Oct

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The Head of the Charles Regatta is a yearly rowing event happening every October.

It is coming up this weekend and I read a good article in the Boston Business Journal  about the logistics involved in this huge event.

Like many once-a-year fundraising events – little seeds must be planted all year-round so they all bloom on event day. It was interesting to see the numbers needed to make this regatta safe and fun for everyone:

2,260 boats

10,600 athletes representing 28 countries  (I cannot event begin to comprehend the travel and lodging logistics involved for this!)

4,000 proposals to get 100 in-kind and media partners

Six full time staff

Race committee of 12

85 on the race operations team

2,000 weekend race volunteers

And the volunteers get down vests!

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This is an outdoor event, which means the most important number of ONE belongs to Mutha Nature.

She determines if you will have a sunny day with thousands of observers lining the Charles River drinking and walking and socializing. If it is a rainy day, then the observers are reduced exponentially and are mostly huddled in their respective collegiate and rowing club tents just drinking. How do I know this?

Once upon a time when I was much younger and did not have my weekends obliterated with driving my kids (Fire and Gasoline) around to their activities – I used to love attending the Head of the Charles. Before I was a WalkathonMaven, I would walk up and down the three-mile course on the shores of the Charles watching the crowds and wondering how the rowers did not hit the bridges, or the other competitors with their boats.

Ahhhhh. Memories.  Best of luck this weekend and may Mutha Nature smile upon you!

head_of_the_charles1map

Rio Poncho Peeps point the way

7 Aug

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image

If you watched the opening ceremonies of the Rio Olympics on Friday night, you saw a few people steal the show from the athletes.

My favorite, of course, was the flag-bearing, greased up (coconut oil or insect repellent?) man from Tonga.image

Second fave was the dancing neon-arrow-poncho-wearing volunteers lining the path borders to help direct the athletes along the way.image

As a logistics lover, I applaud the creative way that the event organizers combined the use arrows and volunteers to move the athletes along during the opening ceremonies. Perhaps we will see more events request that their volunteers wear the directional signage, instead of holding or posting the arrows.

When I was a walk manager, we would recruit route marshals to provide a safety necklace around the walkathon route. They would stand at any place along the route where a walker would have a choice of making a right or left turn.

These route marshals were an essential part of the event logistics. They could multitask as a directional, motivational and education piece of the event logistics cog.

I think that wearing an arrow is a lot more fun than holding an arrow. The volunteers will then have their hands free to hold a megaphone, whistle or other noisemaker. Looking forward to seeing how future events will morph this arrow-apparel and make it a part of their walkathons!

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In case of emergency… 5 things to know

14 Jun

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WWYD2

What Would You Do?

WWYD if the unthinkable happens at your walk?  You plan plan plan all year ’round for the one day. The one day when thousands of walkers come to your event with good intentions for a great day supporting a cause they care about.  You have your spreadsheets and volunteers ready to rock. And then…

There are many things that are unpredictable – like Mutha Nature, toddlers with hard objects and ding-dongs with assault rifles.

Sadly, the Orlando shooting tragedy makes me once again think of what I would do to prepare for a similar situation at a walkathon.  I wrote about this four years ago and I’m sharing it again with hopes it can help someone.

The below was previously published in August, 2012.

The recent tragic events in the Aurora, Colorado movie theater made me think of how random, senseless actions can ruin lives.   Several hundred people were guests of a theater to watch a midnight premiere of a movie only to have it end violently 20 minutes into the show.

We all see the pre-movie instructions of where the emergency exits are located, and to walk, don’t run to them in case of emergency.

Those instructions on the screen are part of the theaters’ emergency plan.

What is your event emergency plan?   How will you handle things when the unthinkable happens?

If you have 50 or 50,000 guests (walkers) at your walkathon, how will you take care of them if a crisis happens?

I have managed events where crazy-crowd-control issues have arisen.   From angry bee swarms stinging moving objects to gang fights (knives included).  Public spaces invite public issues.

Your primary goal on event day is to take care of your guests.  Make sure the day is safe, fun, and SAFE.

If your peeps do not feel safe, and are not having fun – they may not return.

And we all know it costs more to find a new donor than to hold onto a current one.

Be ready to handle the unthinkable, so that the headlines in the paper the next day reflect your wonderful event instead of a logistical horror show.

Here are five tidbits (of many!)  to put on your radar as you prepare your emergency procedures

1.   Start by asking the owner (City? State?) of the event location what their evacuation plans are in case of emergency.  You do not want to supersede anything already in place.

2.   Meet with law enforcement (hired police detail) and first responders to determine how they will carry out the evacuation plan.

3.   Schedule a pre-event coordinator meeting (volunteers, staff, etc..) so everyone is aware of the emergency procedures and other logistical items.

4.   Determine who will talk to the press.  Messaging is important!

5.   Create a constituent communication plan so you can quickly post, tweet, text or call your team leaders to advise them.

Remember – this is just a part of a VERY long list.  These should get your thinking started.

If you have a good relationship with your walkers, then getting in touch with them should be easy.

Follow up with them to ensure they are OK, and advise how to go about sending in any remaining donations.

Take care of your Walkers, and they will take care of you and your organization.

WWYD1

Walk for Hunger this Sunday!

29 Apr

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WFH16

 

 

The Walk for Hunger in Boston is happening this Sunday, May 1!  Always the first Sunday in May. Once upon a time, I worked at Project Bread – the Walk for Hunger.  True Bostonians pronounce it Wok Fa Hunga. Our alumni association is called the Bread Crumbs.  Project Bread was my virgin excursion into the walkathon world.  I was responsible for finding and training 2,000 walk day volunteers, some of the recruitment and much of the logistics for the main event oval and the 20-mile route.  I had never worked so hard in my young, spry life.

We worked all year round for one day.  That one day started for us at 4am and ended at 8pm. We planted the seeds of preparation in the months then days leading up to the walk, with hopes for a beautiful bloom of smooth sailing on event day.

My time at Project Bread in the mid-90s was before online giving, internet email and mobile phones that were smaller than a brick.  We recruited 50,000 walkers who raised over $3 million each year by actually talking to team leaders in person or on the phone.   Old school.

According to the Project Bread website, money raised at this event will help support over 400 community food programs—soup kitchens, food pantries, food vouchers at health centers, summer meals, subsidized CSA shares, community gardens, double-value farmers market coupons, food service programs, etc.—in over 121 communities across Massachusetts. Food pantries and congregate meals in community centers, religious centers, and other locations provide immediate assistance for those in need.

I learned a lot when I worked there. Not just the event operations stuff, but also about the issue of hunger. Hunger is not as visible an issue like cancer or AIDS or autism or diabetes.  Why?  We all know people or relatives of people that have or had cancer or AIDS or autism or diabetes. How many people do you know that are hungry?  They need you.

The weather is supposed to be nice on Sunday morning.  Visit Boston.  Bring friends. The tulips in the Boston Garden should be in full bloom.tulips

Take a walk with several thousand other people who care. Raise some money and think about how lucky you are to have an occasional full belly.  Walk for Hunger.

WFH2016map

The 8-foot Egg Peddler

24 Mar

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Sit on my lap for $8. $10 if you want a photo.

 

The mall squatting Easter Bunny.  A shopping symbol of Spring and all things pastel.

When I was at the mall and saw the Easter bunny rise up to take a break, I was surprised to see how tall he/she was. Almost eight feet tall!  The size of this candy-pushing hare reminded me of an ‘incident’ at one of my walks when a company sent their 8-foot inflatable mascot to pass out candy to thousands of walkers.

These visibility-stealing guerrilla marketing techniques are a big no-no and need to be shut down immediately so that they do not steal visibility and messaging.

Your sponsors pay a lot of money for the opportunity to be a partner with your organization and be seen as a leader in the community on the issue. Part of the package is having visibility at your event on signage and possibility a piece of real estate, like a table or a tent.  It’s not fair when someone gets the visibility for free.

So, how do you shut down an 8-foot confection-distributing-visibility-suck at your walkathon?  Make a scene and tell them to leave?  Take a lighter to the costume and see if it meets any fire-retardant guidelines? Nope. You don’t want to be forever known as “that girl” who booted the beloved gigantic peddler of sweet meat.

Instead, we approached the enormous inflatable with a puncture tool (just kidding) and suggested that they move along the walk route, sharing their tooth-rot nuggets along the way.  Fantastic!  Our sponsors were happy to get them off the main event oval where thousands were congregating – and the 8-foot monstrosity left the area surrounded by the same 20 people as they happily walked the route together.  Ta Da!

I wonder if the same amount of kids freak out sitting on the Easter Bunny’s lap that lose it sitting on Santa’s lap.

Perhaps the kids know that there are chocolate eggs in it for them instead of a stale candy cane.

Hoppy Easter!

 

 

My Easter addiction

My Easter addiction

 

Cause Calendar 2016

28 Jan

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thanks to nptechforgood for creating the calendar

thanks to nptechforgood for creating the calendar

 

Here it is! The calendar that shows ALL of the cause awareness days for 2016.

The folks at Non Profit Tech for Good created this resource for the curious minds that want to be aware of all the great causes around us.

Since the month of January is almost over, I’ll offer the designated days starting in February. To be honest, I’ve never heard of most of these.  I’m not even sure how an organization goes about squatting on their ‘official’ day.  My birthday falls on the International Day for Street Children.  Or should I say that they have chosen my birthday for the Street Children of the World?

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I visited their website and found: The International Day for Street Children is a platform for the millions of street children around the world – and their champions – to speak out so that their rights cannot be ignored. They are based in London and have a walk!

The event is called Just Walk.  It is on June 19 and they welcome everyone to walk and raise money for the cause of their choice. They provide several options for route length so you can walk as long and as far as you like.

Here is the list for the rest of the year..Enjoy!

February

2: World Wetlands Day — #WorldWetlandsDay
4: World Cancer Day — #WorldCancerDay
13: World Radio Day#WorldRadioDay
13: World Whale Day#WorldWhaleDay

14: V-Day — #1BillionRising
17: Digital Learning Day — #DLDay
20: World Day of Social Justice — #SocialJusticeDay
23: World Spay Day — 
#WorldSpayDay
27: International Polar Bear Day#PolarBearDay
29: Rare Disease Day — #RareDiseaseDay

March

3: World Wildlife Day#WorldWildlifeDay
8: International Women’s Day — #WomensDay

10: World Kidney Day — #WorldKidneyDay
19: Earth Hour #EarthHour
21: International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination#EndRacism
21: International Day of Forests#ForestsDay
21: World Down Syndrome Day#DownSyndromeDay
21: World Poetry Day#WorldPoetryDay
22: World Water Day — #WorldWaterDay

24: World Tuberculosis Day — #WorldTBDay

April

2: World Autism Awareness Day — #WorldAustismDay
7: World Health Day#WorldHealthDay

12: International Day for Street Children — #StreetChildrenDay
16: World Dolphin Day#DolphinDay
22: Earth Day — #EarthDay
23: World Book Day#WorldBookDay
25: World Malaria Day — #WorldMalariaDay
25: World Penguin Day#WorldPenguinDay
30: International Jazz Day#JazzDay

May

1: International Workers’ Day — #LaborDay
3: World Press Freedom Day#WorldPressFreedomDay
3: Give Local America Day — #GiveLocal16
7: World Migratory Bird Day#WorldMigratoryBirdDay
10: World Lupus Day — #WorldLupusDay
14: World Fair Trade Day — #FairTradeDay
17: International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia#IDAHOT
18: International Museum Day — #MuseumDay
22: International Day for Biological Diversity#BiologicalDiversityDay

23: World Turtle Day — #WorldTurtleDay
31: World No Tobacco Day — #WorldNoTobaccoDay

June

5: World Environment Day#WorldEnvironmentDay
8: World Oceans Day — #WorldOceansDay
12: World Day Against Child Labor#WDACL

14: World Blood Donor Day — #WorldBloodDonorDay
20: World Refugee Day — #WorldRefugeeDay
21: International Day of Yoga#YogaDay

July

11: WorldPopulationDay — #WorldPopulationDay
18: Nelson Mandela International Day — #MandelaDay
28:
World Hepatitis Day#WorldHepatitisDay
29: International Tiger Day — #TigerDay
30: World Day Against Trafficking in Persons#WorldDayAgainstTrafficking

August

8: International Cat Day#CatDay
9: International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples — 
#IndigenousDay
12: International Youth Day — #YouthDay
12: World Elephant Day — #WorldElephantDay
19: World Humanitarian Day — #WorldHumanitarianDay
26: International Dog Day#DogDay
29: International Day Against Nuclear Tests#AgainstNuclearTestsDay

September

5: International Day of Charity#CharityDay
8: International Literacy Day — 
#LiteracyDay
10: World Suicide Prevention Day — #WSPD
15: International Day of Democracy#DemocracyDay
21: International Day of Peace — #PeaceDay
22: World Rhino Day — #WorldRhinoDay
25: World Rivers Day — #WorldRiversDay
27: World Tourism Day#WorldTourismDay

October

4: World Animal Day — #WorldAnimalDay
5: World Cerebral Palsy Day#WorldCPDay
5: World Habitat Day#WorldHabitatDay
5: World Teachers Day — #WorldTeachersDay
10: World Mental Health Day — #WorldMentalHealthDay
11: International Day of the Girl — #DayOfTheGirl
12: World Arthritis Day — #WorldArthritisDay
15: International Day of Rural Women#RuralWomenDay
16: World Food Day#WorldFoodDay
17: International Day for the Eradication of Poverty#EndPoveryDay
29: World Internet Day#WorldInternetDay
31: World Cities Day#WorldCitiesDay

November

13: World Kindness Day#WorldKindnessDay
14: World Diabetes Day — 
#WorldDiabetesDay
16: International Day for Tolerance#ToleranceDay
19: World Philosophy Day#WorldPhilosophyDay
19: World Toilet Day#WorldToiletDay
20: Universal Children’s Day — #ChildrensDay
21: World Television Day#WorldTVDay
25: International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women#EndViolenceAgainstWomen
29: Giving Tuesday#GivingTuesday

December

1: World AIDS Day — #WorldAIDSDay
3: International Day of People with Disabilities — #IDPwD
5: International Volunteer Day#VolunteerDay
5: World Soil Day#WorldSoilDay

9: International Anti-Corruption Day #AntiCorruptionDay
10: International Human Rights Day — #HumanRightsDay
11: International Mountain Day — #MountainDay
18: International Migrants Day#MigrantsDay

Logistics Lessons with Tents and Tornadoes

12 Jan

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ccart2

How do you weight your tent so it does not fly away?  Let’s find out.

I was visiting my mom last weekend and we checked out the Cape Coral Festival of the Arts happening downtown. Over 300 exhibitors were there and they all had tents. 10x10s. Side by side for blocks. Awesome.

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This Art Fest was a crack den for my mom and she made it rain purchasing all kinds of yard art. I loved accompanying her and since I am an event junkie, I took photos of different tent weights (no stakes allowed since it was on a street) during our stroll. I had no idea that these photos would come in handy later that evening, when an F2 tornado blew through the area around 7pm that night. This blog writes itself sometimes!!IMG_1592

I looked on the Facebook page of the art fest Sunday morning and read that there was some damage done by the tornado, and the Rotary volunteers worked all night to clean up.

We went back to the art fest Sunday morning, so Mom could pick up “just one more thing.”  Some of the tents and exhibitors were missing, and we asked about them. Turns out one of the tents that was weighted, collected a lot of water on the roof which then dipped down into the center. The wind came under and picked the whole thing up and carried it about 20 feet.  It landed onto another exhibitor tent.  A few other unweighted tents were also lifted up from the wind. No idea how much they lost. We saw a few vacant spots on the pavement. Sad.IMG_1602

While walking around on Sunday morning. many exhibitors had their front tent flaps down and were drying off their merchandise.  I’ll call them lucky since they had a tent and some merchandise left. Some of the exhibitors I spoke to said they did take down their artwork and packed it at night.  Others told me they left some heavy items hanging on the walls and put away the rest.

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hunka hunka cement

So what to do when you have tents at your walkathon and there is potential for inclement weather?

The weather forecast on Saturday had a significant potential for rain that night. They certainly did not expect a tornado. I’m not sure that staking a tent into the ground would have worked here. I’m not sure attaching weights would keep a tent from flying away that night either.

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PVC pipe filled with cement and a sandbag

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cement-filled PVC pipe with caps and screw-eyes

This tornado touched down few blocks north of the art fest.  If an EF2 tornadowind is up to 135 MPH, then something close to that must have been blowing near this event. I’m can only imagine if this was a direct hit.

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barbell

When I was a walkathon manager, we would always setup as much as possible the night before (tents, tables, chairs, merchandise) so that we could show up in the weeeee hours the next morning to finish preparing for the walk.

The lesson I learned here for night-before-setup is to place important things low to the ground (on a tarp) under the tent. Surround this with the flat tables and chairs. If you rented tent flaps, then put them down for the evening. This should help prevent too much damage if heavy winds or rain comes that night.  Your tent company may have some suggestions since they do not want to lose their merchandise either.

The good news is that there were no injuries from the tornado and my Mom is giddy with her new yard art purchases.