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Walk for Hunger this Sunday!

29 Apr






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.


Looking for a billionaire donor? Here they are!

30 Sep



Looking for a large donation? Do you have a sad and unproductive donor database? Not sure where to start?

Lucky you!

Fortune has released the Top 400 list of Billionaires.  You only need $1.7B to get on the list. That’s all!

So how do you get on their donation radar? Email them and as for a million or billion for your cause? Call them and hope they personally pick up the phone? Mail them the “proposal” and hope it does not go directly into the trash with the others? Or better yet – wait for the letter or postcard thanking you for thinking of them for their charitable giving and sadly explaining that their efforts do not align with your mission. What to do?

I started this blog a few years ago with a post about Magic Mike with hopes of answering this question. Magic Mike did not wait for his donors to come to the club and place (donate) dollar bills into his thrusting pelvic region. He walked around a different club before the event and cultivated his donors by talking to them and personally invited them to his event.

magical mike

What did Professor Magic Mike teach us?

1. All good donor cultivation starts with a relationship.

2. If necessary, find a door opener to the person you want to cultivate.

3. Foster the relationships with the door openers because they can be as important as the ultimate check-writer.

4. It is a relationship and hand holding is necessary before you hug, then kiss, then get engaged and then married.

That’s the order – right? Magic Mike did not teach us all of the above but you get the idea of taking baby steps to meet the right people and the “art of the ask.”

I could be wrong about all of this and I’d love to hear from somebody that has received a 5-digit donation from an email or a written proposal. I want to know if anyone has ever received a large donation from a person or foundation or corporation without actually having to speak to a human.  C’est impossible? Do tell!

Thanks for Fortune magazine for providing this call list for free. Now get on it and let is know how you did!


Just another gratuitous photo of Magic Mike. Because I can.


Start a charity or name a building?

23 Sep




The Powerball jackpot is over $250 meeeeeellion dollars tonight and it is always fun to think about what you would do with the money if you won.

My kids and I talk about winning the lottery when a large jackpot is in the news and what we would do with the money if we won. My kids look at me skeptically when I tell them that they have already won the lottery since they have me as their Mommy!


What do you do when you come into a big honkin’ pile of money through hard work, family assets or winning the lottery? There are lots of decisions to make regarding how (and if) you want to leave your charitable financial footprint. I appreciate and congratulate the good intentions of wealthy people who want to make the world a better place by giving their money away to a cause that is meaningful to them.  Some people will start their own charity as a way to do this.  Sometimes that is not a good idea.

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal speaks of the pitfalls of starting your own charity.

Having worked for a few charities, I can tell you that there are some serious (and sometimes debilitating) overhead and expenses that come along with being a charitable organization.  Much has been written about charities that give few, if any, dollars to their intended recipients. I see this a lot with celebrities and professional athletes. Their bank accounts are large and intentions are good, but the operational aspect of running an organization can be overwhelming. Some of the larger expenses include:

Salaries:  Expect to pay people to run your organization. Family members included.

Professional Services:  Accountants, Consultants, Lawyers etc..

Facilities: (If you are not doing this out of your home) Rent, Utilities, Maintenance, Snow removal!!

Insurance: Especially if you are having any events. You are liable if your guests gets injured.

Equipment: Computers, hardware, software, printers, desks, chairs, phones

Supplies: Pens, pencils, paper, postage

There are plenty of charitable avenues to take to be a hero for your cause. I’d like to recommend that the most responsible way to do this is to give your money to an established charity that has a mission similar to your own. They are staffed and already figured out the financial logistics on how to appropriately manage expenses (we hope).  If you want your name to be associated with your mission, then let the charity name a building, a wing or a conference room after you!


Check out my LINKS page to see the websites that can help you with your research.

If my kids ever win the lottery, I can only hope that they will be smart and not buy all of their friends gold necklaces or depreciating assets.  Good luck!


The forgotten charities of Boston 2024

5 Jun




I get annoyed when charities waste money.

A recent article in the Boston Business Journal describes a study from a Charitable Foundation with over $1B in assets that commissioned a report on the economic impact of the Olympics coming to Boston.  The report was favorable – however – they forgot to mention the part about how it may affect local charities. Is this really happening? A large Boston foundation that supports local charities paid for a report that did not include information about how the Olympics would potentially impact the corporate giving of Boston companies. Jaw drop.

According to the article “The omission is noteworthy because of evidence that prior Olympics badly hurt local charities in other host cities..”

So there it is.  Hosting the Olympics would be good for the economy but bad for the local charities.

 I wrote about this is January and here it is again, regarding the possibility of the Olympics coming to Boston in 2024.

I love watching the Olympics.

I get the tingles when I hear the big drum beat when the Olympic rings appear on the screen.

Boom boom ba boom boom…..

If you haven’t heard, Boston is the USAs submission for consideration of the 2024 summer games. Officially known as the Games of the XXXIII Olympiad. We will find out in 2017 which city is chosen to host.

Much has been written these past weeks since Boston has been chosen for the short list. According to CBSnewsBoston joins Rome as the only other city that has officially decided to bid. Germany will submit either Hamburg or Berlin, with France and Hungary among those also considering bids. Some Bostonians feel that there should a referendum put up for a vote to gauge the support of those residents that may be affected.

The hope is that no public funds will be needed or used to help pay for the Boston Olympics.  Things that make you go Hmmmmmm. A CNBC article  says that the Olympic organizing committee hopes to produce this event for ONLY $5 Billion! What a bahgain!

So how will they pay for this?

If you have read my previous blog posts about the Sochi and London Olympics, then you have seen that millions (billions?) of corporate dollars are needed to produce these events.  Sponsorships. Corporate Sponsorships will help pay for the games.

This is where the WalkathonMaven is concerned.  Having a blog allows me to have an opinion on many things. Since this potential event is close to home (I live 20 miles from Boston) there will be many-an-opine coming from moi.  Buckle up. As you may know, I am an event junkie. I love attending, volunteering and sometimes producing an event.  If the 2024 Olympics do come to Boston, then I will be out there volunteering with my other AARP-brethren pointing to where the toilets are.  I may even brush-up on the French I forgot from high school. I may even challenge myself to learn “the toilets are this way” in several languages!  WooHoo!  I will live in my SUV near Carson Beach while I rent out my home for meeeeeeellions of dollars.

Local non-profits rely on the corporate dollar and mostly the corporate sponsorship dollar to produce their walkathons in and around Boston.  The corporate sponsorship dollars help defray the costs of producing an event.  Corporate sponsorship dollars are needed to pay for sexy things like tents, toilets, chairs, printing, police, postage etc… This allows more of the walker donations to go toward the mission of the non-profit organization. With me?

There are many worthy causes competing for the corporate donation dollar. When the Boston Marathon bombings occurred and the One Fund Boston was established to help those affected, many corporate donation dollars were directed toward this.  Great cause, yes – but these same corporations have a limited donation bucket capacity and had to reduce the support they usually gave to the other organization that rely on their sponsorships.  Many walkathons in Boston had reduced support from local corporations since they were supporting the One Fund instead. Still with me?

My main concern regarding the Olympics coming to Boston is that many of the corporate donations that local walkathons rely on will be directed instead to Boston2024.  While many of the local walkathons have sponsorship levels at $5K, $10K, $25K or $50 thousand, these same corporations will instead be asked for $5M, $10M, $25M and $50 MILLION to sponsor the Olympics.

I really HOPE that Boston gets the Olympics and I really HOPE that the corporations will minimally level-fund their walkathon sponsorships.  This way the for-profit and non-profits in and around Boston can happily share the world spotlight on our great city!  For more information about the Boston bid for the 2024 Olympic, please check out their website here.



The Mutha of Walk Weekends

11 May


mom weekend


Mother’s Day was this past weekend and it is a traditional time for me to escape my mommy duties for a day, and also for many fundraising events to happen.

One of the larger national events that occurred last weekend is the the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Washington DC. This year, they had 15K participants and their top fundraiser raised over $31K!!   Whoa!!!   Years ago, this 5K walk/run event had 40,000 participants and was the largest in the nation for Komen. I was surprised to see that Hulk Hogan made an appearance as the Grand Marshall. I thought it was a random choice for a Grand Marshall, but apparently Komen has a partnership with the WWE that has helped them raise over $1.5M!!  I wonder if any events have a partnership with the MMA.  Can you imagine seeing a promotional charity banner hanging in the Octagon while the fighters kick each others teeth out?


I found that Washington DC has a walkathon just about every weekend, and came upon a fantastic and comprehensive listing of all the events for the area. SO many walks for so many great causes. Holy Walkathon Hotbed!  Is your cause or issue having a walk in the DC area?  Here are the links:

Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation

National Walk for Epilepsy

MS Walk – National MS Society, National Capital Chapter:

Walk for Lupus Now

Breath Deep 5K Walk for LUNGevity

National Kidney Foundation Kidney Walk

Avon Walk for Breast Cancer

Relay for Life

Ronald McDonald House Charities® Red Shoe 5K Run & Walk

Great Strides for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

We’ve Got Your Back 5K Race and 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk

Walk to Cure Diabetes

Psoriasis Network Walk to Cure

Stomp Out Sickle Cell Walk

Walk Off Parkinson’s

Out of the Darkness Community Walk

Prevent Cancer Foundation 5k Walk/Run

“Join the Voices! D.C. Walk”

Huntington’s Disease Society of America Hope Walk & 5K Run

FARE Walk for Food Allergy in Northern Virginia

Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s

Cornerstones Help the Homeless Walk

Down Syndrome Association Buddy Walk

Making Strides of Washington, DC 5K Walk

Walk Now For Autism Speaks

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walk

American Diabetes Association’s Step Out: Walk to Fight Diabetes

National Walk for Hemophilia

AIDS Walk Washington


Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation 5K Walk

CureSearch Walk for Children’s Cancer

Greater Washington Heart Walk

St. Jude Give Thanks

You could say that the DC area is the Muthaship of all Walkathons! I may need to create a WalkathonMaven satellite office in the Nation’s Capital!


Walkers at the POTS event

Walkers at the POTS event


Not every walkathon has to be huge to bring awareness to an issue. Yesterday, I read a story in the Boston Globe about a small walkathon for a disease I have never heard of.  POTS. About 400 people showed up for the walk in the Boston area to raise money and awareness for an organization called Dysautonomia International, that raises money for postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome.

What is POTS? The article says that POTS is A malfunction of the autonomic nervous system that can leave sufferers unable to function, POTS is estimated to affect between 1 million and 3 million Americans, most of them young womenWho knew? Dysautonomia International is a new (2102) organization and is currently unrated with Charity Navigator.  On GuideStar, I found that they have an annual budget of $100,000.  All of the big walks started small like this, and I wish them the best as they grow to be a more visible event that provides a place for other caregivers/affected persons to gather.

Why do you walk?

For the t-shirt?

For the cause?

To be part of a community of people that would like to bring awareness and raise money for a cause that affects them?

Big or small, a walkathon is a great way to be with other like-minded individuals who share the same interest in making things better.

Here is a walk coming up next weekend that raises money for homeless kids so that they can have a birthday party.  Everyone loves a Cake Walk!









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!!!





The 3 budget-busting P’s

19 Dec



Event expenses can sometimes ruin all the good things you want to accomplish at your walkathon.

Since the holiday season is upon us, and we (me) are overspending on gifts, I thought I would post on budget busting.

The three primary budget busters for walkathons all happen to begin with the same letter. P!

1. Printing

It’s the little things that get ya.  Walk papers, buttons, posters, apparel, tchotchkes and all the other event collateral adds up.   Be mindful of what you really need and make sure you include a phrase on the paper products that read: “This (item) was paid for  by the funds raised at the (your event here) walk”.

2. Postage

Donors are getting wise to the real stamps that are actually bulk mail stamps.  Historically, you could look at the bulk mail markings and know that it was probably junk mail.  Whether it is a first class 49- cent stamp or a bulk mail stamp, postage really adds up.  Think about the stuff you mail out and how much of it you can place online to be downloaded.

3. Police

If you read my previous post about planning your route, then you saw that having mostly right turns will hopefully allow you to reduce your police detail since less streets will need to be closed. Some police have 4 hour minimums and you pay for 8 hours one minute over the four hour minimum.   One of my clients had the police department tell them they needed $93K for police detail on their route!  That was a budget buster!

Sure, there are plenty of other things that can get expensive for your event, but I have found that the 3 P’s above are the expenses that are usually not on the budget radar.

Happy Holidays!

#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.


The Hunt for Pink October

28 Oct


pink fumes


The month of October is winding down, and so is Breast Cancer Awareness month.

November is Diabetes Awareness month, yet I have not seen any purple (I think that is their color) items for sale promoting the cause. November is also the official month for many other organizations:

Pancreatic Awareness Month

Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Prematurity Awareness Month

Epilepsy Awareness Month

Some of these organizations have walkathons, and some promote their cause thru other activities.

A fun November event is Movenmber. Men (and some women too, I guess) are encouraged to grow facial hair to bring awareness to men’s health.   I hope they have a walkathon someday, because I have a feeling that would be a fun one to attend! movember


Movember participants are encouraged to become a Mo Sista or a Mo Bro and raise money for the Movember Foundation.  I checked with Charity Navigator and they are unrated. Not sure what they do with the money, but I love the unique concept.

I came upon a big-honkin-pink display at Bed Bath and Beyond.  I had no idea there were so many items using pink to sell their products!  Take a lookie:

pink toothbrush!

pink toothbrush!




pressure cookers! TicTacs, tweezers, ice compresse, pillow, curler, tumblers and pens!


Eos for lips, airline carry ons, binder clips and spatulas!













I hope all the money made from these pink items makes it to the right place, and by right place I mean a place that supports breast health.   Off to November!  I wonder if we will see fake moustaches for sale!



FIFA fever

8 Jul




The World Cup futball games are now in the semi-final stage, with 4 teams (nations) left to play.  Fédération Internationale de Football Association (“FIFA”) says it is the largest single sports event and most-watched competition on earth.  Brazil is the host country, and one of the final four teams to play.  I happen to live in a town that has a large Brazilian population, and we have plenty of traffic jams downtown before and after each game with cars proudly displaying the Brazilian flag.

I have watched a few games, and like how the sideboards rotate the sponsor names in sporadic intervals. It made me wonder who the sponsors are, and how much they have to pay for the privilege.  I found some good info on the “official documents” page on the website.  

I had no idea that there was an official mascot


And an official slogan

fifa slogan


An official look element. Say what?



An official poster with logos



Here are the companies that are allowed to use the above “Official Marks” for promotion:


According to their website, here is the breakdown of the sponsor levels:

FIFA Partners – pay between $25M and $50M for the privilege.

FIFA Partners are altogether 6 entities to which FIFA has granted or

will grant the most comprehensive package of global advertising,

promotional and marketing rights in relation to FIFA, all FIFA

activities and all FIFA competitions, including the 2014 FIFA World



FIFA World Cup Sponsors – pay between $10M to $25M each.

FIFA World Cup Sponsors are a maximum of 8 companies to which

FIFA has granted or will grant the second-most comprehensive

package of global advertising, promotional and marketing rights in

relation to the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ (and the FIFA Confederations

Cup Brazil 2013).


National Supporters – combined $170M to promote only in Brazil

National Supporters are a maximum of 6 companies to which FIFA

has granted or will grant a package of advertising, promotional and

marketing rights in relation to the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ (and the

FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013) for the territory of Brazil.


When I see that there is a price range for sponsorship, and everyone gets the same – it makes me nervous for the sponsor-sales peeps.  What if a company comes back at them with information that one company paid less than them?  I would always protect the integrity of my event by making sure that everyone pays the same.  No side deals. It helped me sleep at night knowing I was not going to have any uncomfortable confrontations.

These FIFA-folks are serious about their brand protection, and have a complete section on their website talking about intellectual property and enforcement.  I guess there really is such a thing as the Logo Police!  FIFA is serious about protecting the rights of their sponsors, and have a three-prong brand-protection plan: Communication, Surveillance and Enforcement. How do YOU protect YOUR event brand?


I found this under the Enforcement section, wondering if there is a FIFA-Hit-Squad for those street-corner-vendors selling unauthorized merchandise:

FIFA’s approach to brand protection focuses on education and guidance, rather than enforcement by means of legal threats and sanctions. FIFA prefers direct personal contact to bring infringing situations to an end by speaking to the business in question, explaining why the specific situation is problematic and seeking cooperation in solving the issue.

In more serious cases, where there is a clear intention to take a free ride on the goodwill vested in the event and the public excitement surrounding it, FIFA may need to engage in court proceedings to halt an infringing situation and to claim financial compensation for the damages suffered. However, FIFA will not resort to such legal action without an in-depth analysis of the intention, scale and commercial impact of the matter at hand.

Perhaps your walkathon should incorporate some of these tactics when your teams make their own shirts using your trademarked event logo. They should be supporting your cause by buying YOUR event shirt.

I wonder if the Logo Police will come after me for using these “official Marks” on my blog.  I’ll be waiting with the official Brazilian drink, a  Caipirinha, in-hand.   Good luck to my Brazilian neighbors today!