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Head of the Charles Regatta

19 Oct





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!



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!


Cause Calendar 2016

28 Jan



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?



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!


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 — 
27: International Polar Bear Day#PolarBearDay
29: Rare Disease Day — #RareDiseaseDay


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


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


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


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


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


8: International Cat Day#CatDay
9: International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples — 
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


5: International Day of Charity#CharityDay
8: International Literacy Day — 
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


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


13: World Kindness Day#WorldKindnessDay
14: World Diabetes Day — 
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


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

Super Bowl XLIX

31 Jan




Super Bowl XLIX (or 49 for the roman-numeral-challenged) is tomorrow!  My beloved Patriots are playing the defending champs (name omitted on purpose) for the title of Best NFL Team. Being an event junkie, I needed to read about the logistics involved in hosting such a HUGE event.  I found the Host committee website to peruse the volunteer opportunities, sponsors and the like.

Apparently, Super Bowl Central in downtown Phoenix is sponsored by Verizon. The VSBC Verizon Super Bowl Central (VSBC) will take over and transform Downtown Phoenix into the epicenter of Super Bowl activities with 1 million visitors expected to attend.  I think that the Host Committee did a great job on the website making the event idiot-proof with regards to transportation and other FAQs.  They even have a tab that lists contact information for ALL of the vendors that have provided services to their event.  If you have room to spare on your walkathon website, it would be nice to include ALL the vendors that provide services for your event.  Perhaps the mention on your site will encourage a greater discount or outright donation of services for your next walk.   FYI – the name of the potty company is called “A” Company Portable Restrooms.  Your welcome.



Many news sites have done non-football-related comparisons between New England and the other team.  My favorite is the one from titled: Super (Generosity) Bowl: Which Team Has the Edge?  The article compared things like:

Which city is more generous?  (Answer: the other team. Their giving ratio is 3.09% vs. our 2.54% of income. )

Which teams foundation gives more?  (Answer: Patriots with $3.12 million in grants. BTW, only the Cowboys give more)

Which team owner is more generous? (Answer: The other team.  The owner, Paul Allen,  is the co-founder of Microsoft.  ‘Nuff said.)

Charitable standouts on the roster. (Answer: toss up)

Looking forward to seeing the commercials, especially the Budweiser Clydesdales search for ‘Lost Dog’!  Let’s go Patriots!!!





#Giving Tuesday – Today!

2 Dec





Holiday Traditions. Some are are a time suck, like Black Friday, when my daughter wakes me up at 2:30am so we can go be part of the mayhem looking for good deals (read: clothes for her and only her).  We get back home around 8am and I’m a body-clock-wreck for the next day.

Some traditions are practical, like Cyber Monday, when you can bang-out most of your holiday shopping list and have things delivered for free.  I love the deals and free shipping to my home makes me love it even more. The anti-time-suck.

A new tradition, Giving Tuesday, is today.  Time to think about others who need our help.  Give your time and talent to others in your community.  Give a donation to an organization that is meaningful to you or your family.

We celebrated having full tummies and full hearts for a long weekend.  Time to share the wealth.


Pink in the News

9 Jan



Pink is in the news.

No, not the dynamic performer with the amazing estro-abs (who I did happen to see in concert last month) – but some pink events that raise money for the fight against breast cancer.

Today, I read an article in the NPQ about how the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation had a 22% drop in income last fiscal year. They made $77 million less than the previous year.  Yeowza! Due to this decrease, they had to cut $50 million from breast cancer research and public health education.  That is a huge bummer. Why did they lose so much money? Several reasons, including some bad funding decisions regarding Planned Parenthood and the revelation of the Chief Executive’s big-honkin’ compensation. I wrote all about it here a few months ago.  

Many Komen constituents got angry and stopped participating in fundraising events and stopped making charitable contributions to the organization.  Who really got hurt here?  For starters, the breast cancer researchers who depend on organizations like Komen to fund the research that will hopefully find a cure for this disease.  Second, the men and women who are not getting educated about the need for early detection. Without a cure, early detection is the best prevention.  So there ya go.

Other pink news, locally, for me is the publicity machine that has started for the Boston Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.  For the low-low price of $1850 ($50 registration plus $1800 minimum fundraising requirement) you can participate in this weekend-long walk. So what is an Avon Walk?  Their website says what they are, and are-not:

“The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer is a national series of 39-mile weekend fundraising events launched in 2003 by the Avon Foundation.

The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer event series is a project of the Avon Foundation for Women and is not affiliated with any other breast cancer organizations or programs such as Susan G. Komen for the Cure, American Cancer Society, or Breast Cancer Research Foundation.”

I wondered where the money goes that is raised by the Avon Foundation and found this:

“Avon Foundation brings this mission to life through two key areas: breast cancer and domestic violence. The Avon Breast Cancer Crusade launched in 1992, and Avon breast cancer programs in more than 55 countries support advancing access to care and finding a cure for breast cancer, with a focus on the medically underserved and uninsured. Funding is awarded to beneficiaries ranging from leading cancer centers to community-based breast health programs for awareness and education; screening and diagnosis; access to treatment; support services; and scientific research.”

For more info – check it out here.


Let’s hope that there is not any controversy with the Avon Foundation so that more money can go toward the programs and services that were cut by Komen.

One more thing..  If you would like these literary ramblings to come straight to your inbox once I publish, then please subscribe with the link above!!


Mark your 2014 calendars!

31 Dec

found this on the non profit tech for good blog!

found this on the non profit tech for good blog!


The New Year is hours away, and I’m populating my calendar with all kinds of family and fun events for 2014.  I found this gem on the Non Profit Tech for Good blog and thought I would share.  I have never heard of most of these. Some are worth an eyebrow-raise and others I may read more about to see if they have a walkathon or what color their awareness ribbon may be. I like that they even have their twitter hashtags ready!

As you know, some causes have adopted a whole month. Let’s see if any of these below can gain any traction to do so – although I am unsure if there are any un-adopted months left on the calendar.  International Day for Street Children happens to fall on my birthday, but I doubt I will be celebrating it – unless they are serving my favorite orange vodka, limes and lotsa ice 😉


20: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service — #MLKDay


2: World Wetlands Day — #WorldWetlandsDay

4: World Cancer Day — #WorldCancerDay

5: Digital Learning Day — #DLDay

14: V-Day — #VDay or #1BillionRising

20: World Day of Social Justice — #SocialJusticeDay

25: World Spay Day — #WorldSpayDay

27: World NGO Day — #WorldNGODay

28: Rare Disease Day — #RareDiseaseDay


8: International Women’s Day — #IntWomensDay or #IWD

22: World Water Day — #WorldWaterDay or #WWD

24: World Tuberculosis Day — #WorldTBDay


2: World Autism Awareness Day — #WorldAustismDay

12: International Day for Street Children — #StreetChildrenDay

22: Earth Day — #EarthDay

25: World Malaria Day — #WorldMalariaDay


1: International Workers’ Day — #IntWorkersDay, #MayDay or #LaborDay

10: World Fair Trade Day — #WorldFairTradeDay

16: National Bike to Work Day — #BikeToWorkDay

18: International Museum Day — #IntMuseumDay or #MuseumDay

23: World Turtle Day — #WorldTurtleDay


8: World Oceans Day — #WorldOceansDay

14: World Blood Donor Day — #WorldBloodDonorDay

20: World Refugee Day — #WorldRefugeeDay or #RefugeeDay


11: WorldPopulationDay — #WorldPopulationDay

18: Nelson Mandela International Day — #MandelaDay

29: Global Tiger Day — #GlobalTigerDay or #TigerDay


9: International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples — #IndigenousDay

12: International Youth Day — #IntYouthDay or #YouthDay

12: World Elephant Day — #WorldElephantDay

19: World Humanitarian Day — #WorldHumanitarianDay


8: International Literacy Day — #IntLiteracyDay or #LiteracyDay

21: International Day of Peace — #IntDayOfPeace or #PeaceDay

22: World Rhino Day — #WorldRhinoDay

28: World Rivers Day — #WorldRiversDay or #RiversDay


4: World Animal Day — #WorldAnimalDay

5: World Teachers Day — #WorldTeachersDay

10: World Mental Health Day — #WorldMentalHealthDay

11: International Day of the Girl — #IntDayOfTheGirl or #DayOfTheGirl

11: National Coming Out Day — #NationalComingOutDay or #NCOD

12: World Arthritis Day — #WorldArthritisDay


14: World Diabetes Day — #WorldDiabetesDay

20: Universal Children’s Day — #ChildrensDay


1: World AIDS Day — #WorldAIDSDay

2: Giving Tuesday#GivingTuesday

3: International Day of People with Disabilities — #IDPWD

10: Human Rights Day — #HumanRightsDay

11: International Mountain Day — #IntMountainDay or #MountainDay

I hope you and your families have a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Happy New Year!

How do you measure success?

22 Oct



How do you measure the success of your walkathon?

This article in CIT magazine made me start to thinking about how we measure the success of our events.

Traditionally, most walks measure their success on the numbers:

– Number of walkers

– Number of teams

– Number of donated dollars


As an event manager, I see success measured by different elements:

– Setup and breakdown without incident

– The number of complaint emails I receive after the event

– The amount of eye-contact I receive from senior management the day-after

– The number walker incidents I need to follow-up on

– Rental vehicles making it back without an insurance claim

– The speed at which I can evict the guerilla-marketers from the event site

– Expenses under 20%


You may have some staff colleagues that measure success differently.

Communications staff may measure success with the number of mentions on Twitter, or likes on the event Facebook page, or news outlets that show up at the event.

Mission staff may measure success with the number of volunteers they have recruited.  Measuring awareness of a mission is a hard one, but I would think that any new walker or donor to the walk would be counted.

Advocacy staff may measure the number of signatures they receive for a petition.

Finance may measure the size of the deposit or the time it takes to close-out the event.

HR may measure the number of complaints they get from staff for having to work on a weekend.


Here is how Bill and Melinda Gates measure success.

This article at CNN Money, mentions to measure success by relationships, not money.  I like this because you need to bring these relationships into your organization and move them up your development pyramid.

The more I read on this – the more I see that everyone has their opinion on what a successful event really is, and how they like to measure it.


Here comes the Pink!

26 Sep



Hello September!

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is next month, October, and the shameless-self-promoters of pink have been at it since August. I think they drink the same marketing punch as the Halloween (August rollout) and Christmas (October rollout) folks.

Here’s the latest Pu-Pu platter of pink marketing items that I have come upon during my shopping travels:

Staples display

Staples display

This is interesting, since Staples has their HQ in Framingham, Massachusetts – yet they are raising $75,000 with these pink pen sales for a hospital in Southern California.   I understand the Staples Center is in LA, maybe there is a tie-in there.

Here is a pink mailer I got from BJs:

pink3 pink4 pink5


BJs is supporting the National Breast Cancer Foundation, and has even created a website describing their Power of Pink promotion. According to their website: “Since its inception in 2005, the BJ’s Charitable Foundation has provided over $17 million in grants to more than 2,000 non profit organizations that provide basic needs to individuals in our communities. This includes over $2.3 million dollars in support of breast cancer research.”

BJs is headquartered in Westborough, Massachusetts and the NBCF has their HQ in Frisco, Texas.   I wonder how they got together.

Finally, I read an article on about the pink promotions, and how a tagline is a crucial part of your call-to-action messaging.  This is a funny read about the pink promotion machine.  Enjoy!



Pick up the phone!

29 Aug

pick it up!

pick it up!

Great article today in the Wall Street Journal about how we need to get off the computer and pick up the phone if we want to communicate with someone.

So true!  I tell my clients that relationships with constituents – whether they are a walker, team leader or a corporate sponsorship decision-maker, need to be started with a conversation. Ideally a face-to-face is best, but a phone call is a sometimes necessary second.

I’ll continue to preach this until someone tells me that they were able to close a five-figure event sponsorship or a major gift with an email.

If you were a fan of the movie “Flashdance” (I saw this 7 times!) then you may recall how Pittsburgh welder/exotic dancer Alex Owens (played by a terrific Jennifer Beals) was distraught over her relationship status with her boss Nick Hurley (played by foxy Michael Nouri).

Alex was being annoyingly needy while talking to her co-workers about the situation and a patient woman that happen to be sharing the space with them became irate and yelled “just pick up the phone and call the dude!”

Again. So True!  One needs to remember that this movie was released in 1983 and cell phones/texting was not yet invented. However, the old-school-rule still applies when it comes to relationships – personal or business.  You gotta talk to make “The Ask”.

what a feeling!

what a feeling!

Events and the new security world

16 Aug



It’s a new, hyper-secure world for special events. Two articles this week on how new security measures are affecting outdoor events in the Boston area.

The first is kinda sad. A long-standing, 20-year annual celebration that was supposed to be held at the Esplanade in Boston (where the Boston Pops play on July 4th) had to move since they could not afford the new security measures.  The India Day celebration would have had to hire 27 State Police officers and a vendor to do bag checks at the entrance.  They have since moved to another location 25 miles north of Boston to hold the event.

bag check

According to David Procopio, the State Police Spokesperson:  “India Day’s security plan called for 27  troopers, including members of the bomb squad, K-9, and marine units, paid for 7½ hours. Because those are specialized units, troopers assigned to work the shift are paid an overtime rate of $73 an hour, rather than the $40 per hour paid for a detail assignment. Increased costs are passed on to event organizers.”

Yikes.  With a  4-hour minimum – these 27 troopers cost $7884.  If they work one minute over 4 hours, they can charge for 8 hours. You can do the math on that one.  If you read my previous post about the 3, budget-busting P’s – then you saw that police is one of the largest expenses you will have.  These new rules for the Esplanade may force many other events to move.

I talked to my pal, who runs the logistics for an event happening at the Esplanade in October, and she said regarding the new security measures: “Yes, definitely an increase. But for us, who use alot of police anyway the jump isn’t as obscene. I probably have to add another 6 troopers, and bomb dogs. Not sure of cost of dogs.. But the added police probably only about 3-4K more than I already pay.”

The second article I read in the Boston Globe is about how fans that want to attend any Patriots events at Gillette Stadium will have some new restrictions with what they can and cannot bring in.  “The only bags allowed in the stadium must be clear and must not exceed 12 inches by 12 inches by 6 inches, said Stacey James, Patriots spokesman. Women’s clutches do not have to be clear, but they must not be larger than 7 inches by 4 inches by 2 inches. One-gallon clear freezer bags are also allowed, as are cameras and binoculars, but not their cases. Blankets, jackets, and coats are subject to searches, James said.”

Here is a graphic on the new policy at Gillette Stadium.


Those two Boston Marathon bomber-JackHoles have really affected the non-profits that need these outdoor events to raise money for their missions.  I think that the lone, surviving bomber-brother should have to do clean-up on the Esplanade after every event as part of his punishment.  Give him a rake, a broom, some gloves and lots of garbage bags – oh, and a bright orange shirt that says “JackHole” on it.