Archive | May, 2013

Top 10 items for your walkathon logistics radar

29 May



Last week I shared some top ten lists from the NPQ site.  This week I will share a WalkathonMaven original Top Ten list!

Most walkathons usually happen in the Spring or in the Fall.  The weather is usually more cooperative and your constituents are not crazed trying to entertain their kids during school vacation. If you were lucky enough to have your event in the Spring – then congratulations – it’s Miller Time!  If your event is happening in the Fall, then I hope you find helpful the following 10 logistical items that you should have on your radar this Summer: radar

1.  Route –  I like all right turns.  That way my walkers are more safe and I can hopefully reduce the number of police needed if my streets need to be shut down. I also like to take a ride around the route on my bike to check for locations that I may need to place a cautionary orange cone.  I wrote about this a few months ago.

2. Registration – this is the most important area of the event because you are collecting donations and information from your walkers.  Locate and train the volunteers so that you have a smooth operation on event day.

3. Banking – you need to think about how you will locate this in a secure area and train your volunteers on accountability processes.

4. Water – a sponsor would be nice.  I prefer donations of gallon jugs and cups instead of bottles.  Determine your hydration locations around your route.

5. Snacks – donations of individually packaged snacks are preferred. Beware of the big, ugly precedent door.

6. Volunteers – you will need allotta peeps to donate their time and talent to keep the day safe and fun for everyone.  Think about contacting past volunteers and ask them to bring a pal.

7. Transportation – how will all of your supplies, signs, tables and chairs get to the site?  Who will be driving?

8. Emergency services – work with the owner of your event site to update your crisis plan.

9. Setup / breakdown – when can you load-in and what time do you need to be off the site?  What is your site plan?

10. Patient/survivor recognition/activity – keep your cause ‘top of mind’ for your participants by providing a memorable activity.

I think the most important item from above is to find your operation volunteers, train them for their task and make sure they have all the information and materials needed to do a great job.  Then ten items above are just a few(of dozens!) of items for your radar as you enter the final few months before your walk.  I have linked several past posts that drill down into the dizzy details.  Enjoy!


Here is Mr. Wonderful demonstrating his yoga position on a potty

Here is Mr. Wonderful demonstrating his yoga position on a potty


Top Ten lists..Uh Oh and Mmm Hmmm

21 May


top ten


I’m a useless trivia lover, and am fascinated with statistics, rankings and lists.  Especially Top Ten lists. David Letterman, the King of the Top Ten list, has the same birthday as me.  Coincidence?

This love of numbers would be surprising to my high school math teachers and college accounting professors, since my grades in their classes did not reflect my adoration of ‘the digits’.

The website Charity Navigator, has oodles of top ten lists. According to their site, Charity Navigator is America’s leading independent charity evaluator, works to advance a more efficient and responsive philanthropic marketplace by evaluating the Financial Health and Accountability and Transparency of  6,000 of America’s largest charities

Below are a few of my faves. Click on the links if you want to read about the deets.

10 Highly-Rated Charities with Low Paid CEOs.  

10 Highly Paid CEOs at Low-Rated Charities.  Lots of 6-figure salaries.

10 Inefficient Fundraisers – These folks spend more than 50 cents of each dollar raised on expenses.  Ick.  Sad to see several Veterans charities on this list.

10 Top-Notch Charities.  Lots of Food Banks on the list.

There are oodles to choose and read about on the CN site.  I was surprised to see that so many low-rated charities were from Veterans and Public Service (fire, police) groups.  I did a search on getting a non-profit 501c3 status – and found that there are websites that will help you apply for the designation for the low-low price of $359.    No wonder there is so much fraud.  I think there needs to be more oversight to have a tax-exempt status and the state AG office should more closely scrutinize the required yearly filings to their office.  It’s sad that a non-profit organization can submit their yearly forms and there is no discipline for having less that 50, or 70 percent of the donations actually make it to the intended recipients.  Boooooooo!

I love the name of this walk!

I love the name of this walk!

Memorial Day weekend coming up!  I hope you and your family have a good one!





Charity Fatigue?

14 May



The fallout continues from the actions of the two JackHoles that ruined the Boston Marathon for thousands on April 15.

There are things you can control, and things you cannot – like Mother Nature and JackHoles who have the will and find a way to be selfish.  The Boston Globe had an article that fundraising events with large gatherings, like walkathons, are suffering financially since people are shy about being in a crowd of people.  And, these participants may raise less money since they may have already given to another, more trendy, cause. Our 24/7 news cycles have helped contribute to Charity Fatigue.


I had a similar experience happen when I was a Walk Manager for an event happening 3 weeks after the September 11 tragedy in 2001.  Many teams cancelled their participation and many calls were coming in asking how we were going to make sure that 40,000 people would be safe at our event.   We were concerned about making our fundraising goal by thinking that our participants would instead give their charitable dollars to The Red Cross to support the 9/11 victims.

We worked with the City and State to make sure we had a beefed-up emergency plan.  It did not change much from our previous emergency plan, except it cost us several thousand more in police detail.

Because we had good relationships with our team leaders in the months prior to September 11, most of the team fundraising was done.  If the walkers did not want to attend the actual event, they could still send in the donations.  Remember, people will attend your walk because they have an interest in your issue and want to support your organization.  These are the folks that support you before and after a tragedy.   They may give a little less one year and a lot more the next.  I write a lot about the relationship you need to have with your walkers and donors, because you need the relationship to keep your organization afloat when a trendy cause temporarily receives some of their charitable giving budget.

In 2001, we took a small hit financially at the event.  Not as big as we thought. Thankfully.  The frequent communication with our team leaders helped to keep us “top of mind” despite all the other fundraisers happening to support the 9/11 victims.  The following year, we had an increase in participants.  I think many of them missed being part of the event community at the 2001 Walk.  They missed being part of the thousands who came together to support the cause they believed in.  It seemed like they were tired of “The Fatigue” and wanted to get back to their normal.

I look forward to everyone getting back to their normal.


why should donors choose you?

why should donors choose you?






Yo Mama!

8 May




Mother’s Day is this Sunday and my fave gift each year is to simply have the day off.  My wonderful hubby takes care of all the kid taxi duties, cooking (meal arrangement) and child drama for the day so I can go do whatever I want.  In past years, I have leisurely strolled an IKEA store, perused an outdoor artisan market and visited a local museum.  On Sunday, I may go for a bike ride around Boston or see a chick flick if it rains.   Best Day Evah!

Many organizations are also taking advantage of “the day” by marketing their products to raise money for charities.  Major League Baseball is allowing players to use pink Louisville Slugger bats for the day.  According to Louisville’s WDRB: MLB will authenticate and collect the game-used bats and auction them on Louisville Slugger has donated over 250-thousand dollars worth of bats to raise awareness and money for charities.  Proceeds will benefit breast cancer charities

pink batI have visited the Louisville Slugger website several times and cannot find the specific breast cancer charities that will be receiving these funds.  The MLB has a whole pink breast cancer awareness shop. They have a lovely MLBcommunity page that says the monies raised will go to Komen and Stand Up to Cancer.

Speaking of Komen, here is an NPQ article about Nancy Brinker, the founder of Komen.  She supposedly resigned last year as CEO but just received a 64% raise.  Things that make you go Hmmmmmm.

Most of the breast cancer walks and runs happen in either October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month or May – to commemorate Mom’s Day.  May Mutha Nature smile upon you and your participants!

I hope all the mommies out there have a great Sunday!  Happy Mother’s Day!