Archive | August, 2012

Pink Ribbon now appearing on a…. Car!

30 Aug


Just when you think you have seen all of the opportunities to use the color pink to raise money…

Here ya go

People walk or pet walk?

28 Aug


Once upon a time, when I was an event manager – there were always a few things that appeared, uninvited, to my walk:

1.   The guerilla-marketing ad-wrapped vehicle that pulls up onto the property to distribute free samples.

2.   The man wearing a (choose your color) spandex unitard making sure everyone could see his moose knuckle while ‘stretching’.

3.   Pets wearing decorative shrapnel.

A popular question always comes up during my logistics trainings:

“How can I tell my walkers NOT to bring their dogs to the event?”

So many fantastic event photos are photo-bombed by an adorable two-or-four-legged friend wearing the most outrageous sweaters, hats, antlers, etc…   If you want to discourage this, then ask your photographer NOT to pose the people and their pets so as to not encourage this behavior for future events.

BTW, an event I managed was sued by a walker that broke her hip after tripping over a dog leash.   And THAT is why you need insurance!

I tell my clients to use the following phrase in the event collateral, so the walkers know what to expect before the event:

“For the safety of our walkers, please leave your pets, bicycles and roller blades at home.”

I’m no pet-hater (although one of my Humane clients remind me that they are not pets, but animals we share our home with) and I love seeing the creative get-ups that these pets wear.  I just don’t want the photos to appear on the web site, posters, walk papers etc..  If the walkers see these cute photos on the collateral, then they will think it is OK to bring their pets.

Remember, it is YOUR event. If you will be welcoming to pets, then please make sure your have services for them.

I’ll post again about this once I find the llama photo.




3 fixable mistakes that new events make

21 Aug


A few weeks ago, my family volunteered at an outdoor fundraising event to benefit the nephew of a close friend.  My friend joked that I would find a few gems to write about for my blog, and she was right!

Luckily, I had my camera and was wearing my ‘volunteer hat’ instead of my “wench-on-wheels-event-manager-hat.”.   The latter is quite a sight, and it smells bad too.

Here are three ‘gems’ that are common mistakes of new events – and are easy to fix for next year:

1.   All signs should be at least 5 feet off the ground.   If there is a line, or crowd of people in front of a table with signage,  then the messaging is lost.   I see this alot at events where there is a registration table.

Hanging signs off the end of a table seems sensible, but use an easel or a tent pole when you can so people can see it.


2.   Items for sale should be in dollars only, not cents.    You have a captive audience, so keep the money simple.  I always tell my clients that are selling shirts to make sure the price ends in a zero (0) or a five (5).  It saves alot of monetary headaches.

It is enevitable that your customers will pay with a $20.  Make sure you start with enough money to provide change.







3.   Be prepared for the food donations you receive.  This event was fortunate to receive lots of food and beverage donations.   A volunteer thought ahead to bring a toaster, but no knives to cut the bagels and spread the cream cheese.  BTW, there was no power to available to use the toaster.  

I am a big fan of using the website to organize tasks and donations for schools or small events.  You can plug-in all the things you need for your event and your volunteers can respond to the invitation by choosing a time shift, or items to bring.

Overall, the event was a financial success and raised awareness about a disease that needs more research dollars!




EZ money for your event!

14 Aug

Matching gifts are a corporate donation where the employer will match a percentage or a multiple of the employees’ donation.
These matching gifts can double, or triple the donations of your walker!
Some organizations employ a staff person who has the sole responsibility of processing the matching gift forms from all of their events.  If the organization has several events throughout the year, the return on investment of this staff person is very high, because they can process tens of thousands of matching gift dollars a month or quarter.
Your (non profit) organization should have a running lists of these companies so you can maximize the monetary impact of your walkers.
This article from Triple Pundit shows some serious matching gifts superstars in the corporate world.
If I was still an event manager, you can bet that I would recruit walkers from the companies mentioned on this list!

We love our sponsors!

9 Aug


Reading this article by the Sponsorship Strategist, about Olympic sponsorship made me think about how walkathons may rely too heavily on corporate sponsorship to meet their financial event goal.


Event sponsorship is a necessary evil of most walkathons.  For some start-ups, sponsorship dollars may be upwards up 50% of the event income.  This can be scary if the sponsor(s) decide not to return.  I have tons to say about sponsorship but will try to keep this focused for today.

For walkathons, event sponsorship should be limited to a small group of companies that would like to partner with your organization to further your mission.  This limited number will allow you to keep it exclusive and manageable for the staff that is tasked to cultivate the relationship.  The more sponsors you have, the more staff you need to manage them.  Your sponsors need constant hand-holding.  If they feel under-appreciated, they will break-up with you.  Just like most old-fashioned relationships.

Many mature events that slide backwards, either with donations or participation, tend to use sponsor dollars to make-up lost revenue.
They do this by selling-off the naming rights for anything and everything: Water stops, mileage checkpoints, snack stops, toe-trucks, rtc..

Having so many sponsors and levels (gold, silver, bronze etc..) dilutes the exclusivity of a sponsorship program.

Sponsorship can be subject to a flavor of the month syndrome and may not be guaranteed from year to year.  If you care for your walkers that care for your cause, then they will be back.

Walkathons need participants to bring donations to the event. You need guests to have a party, and walkers to have a walkathon.

Focused energy on finding walkers that share your mission will outlast the relationship you have with your sponsors, and will result in a longer-lasting constituent relationship with your organization.

The following logos belong to the sponsors of the London 2012 Olympics.   See the levels here.  I wonder how many people are on payroll to manage these relationships.



Gotta get wet before your event

7 Aug


If you are married, or have ever booked entertainment for a special event, then you have probably gone to spy on the potential entertainers at someone else’s wedding, or event.

You want to make sure they sound good – right?

You want to make sure the lead singer has all their teeth – yes?

You want to make sure they will work well for your big day.

Same idea goes for your outdoor event site where you will have a stage, or tents and tables for things like Registration, Merchandise Sales, etc…

You need to go for a site visit well in advance of your event to make sure it will work for you.

Please, visit your outdoor event site in the rain.

Visit your outdoor event site in the pouring, torrential rain.

It is important to see where the rain moves, flows and creates lakes or streams.

You want to make sure that your walkers are not standing in a body of water while they are waiting in line at your registration tent or table.

Please do not make your walkers wait in ankle-deep water to turn-in their information and hard-earned donations!

Depending on Mutha Nature’s mood, you may have a beautiful sunny day or a cloudy day or a full-out rained-soaked nightmare.

(I prefer a mostly cloudy day in the high 60s)

Being prepared for her potential wrath will allow your guests (walkers) to enjoy the day without much discomfort.

My tip for you event managers….  Bring extra dry socks!

I am always a new woman when I replace my dew-soaked-wet-socks with nice and dry socks!