The 8-foot Egg Peddler

24 Mar


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



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

Logistics Lessons with Tents and Tornadoes

12 Jan




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.


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.


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.


PVC pipe filled with cement and a sandbag


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.



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.



Nonprofit internships – paid or unpaid?

23 Dec





Should nonprofit interns be paid?

I read a good article in the NPQ about an interesting debate on whether or not interns at nonprofits organizations should be paid. Ideally, everyone should get paid for a job well done.  Realistically, nonprofits significantly rely on free help from volunteers and interns to accomplish the mission.  According to the article:

Interns are usually young and comparatively unskilled persons undergoing a period of apprenticeship for the purpose of learning an important life or work skill.

Agreed. I would welcome my interns and spent allotta time training them so they could do a good job for us. It was always sad to see them go back to their studies. I relied on my interns so much that I would always try to convince them that they should stay with me and not go back to school. I could teach them everything they needed to know about life. Once upon a time my summer intern from UPenn almost believed me but her mom thought I was trying to brainwash her and she had to ‘leave early for a family situation’. Sad.

Were my walkathon interns always paid? Sometimes Yes and sometimes No.


When I was working for the Walk for Hunger, we had a relationship with the co-op program at a local university. The university would pay a stipend to a student if they took a co-op with one of the approved nonprofits in the area. Luckily, we were one of them and we were able to have a student join us full-time for a few months. We had the student lead the volunteer recruitment for the event. I liked that we could give the student a specific task that they could see through from beginning to end.  Recruiting and training 2,000 volunteers was a HUGE job and having the co-op allowed us to focus on team recruitment.

These co-ops earned their stipend (and then some!) and were crucial to the success of the walk.

While working on the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk, I would have both paid and unpaid interns. Since we raised over $3M each year, we allocated small budget for an intern to help us with the donated snacks and beverages for the finish line. This was always a summer internship and for some reason it was a pretty competitive gig. We would receive upwards of 100 applications for the opportunity to be part of our crazy train.

We would also have a few high school students that we could not pay and they would receive a glowing recommendation letter for their college applications as compensation.

It is crucial that a high percentage of the fundraising dollar go toward the mission. Headcount can be a detriment to that percentage. Nonprofits rely on volunteers, interns and co-ops to work toward that goal.  We appreciate all you do to contribute to the success of the event!


Pinkshaming the Pinkwashers of Pinktober 2015

13 Oct



October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

If you are a regular reader of my blog then you know my main pink peeve it the marketing of all things pink to support those affected by breast cancer. Pinkwashing. It makes me nuts that companies will spend more on the Pinktober marketing budget than the donation (if any!) to a breast cancer charity. Companies have been marketing pink items since August and some are promising to donate a portion of sales to a breast cancer organization. Some companies just market pink items for the heck of it.  Here are a few Pinkwashers I’d like to Pinkshame this season:

Need some Pink Pepper Spray? Here ya go!  Found this one at BassPro Shop.  I did not see any beneficiary of this on the packaging, but BassPro does give 20% of their
“Hunt for the Cure” proceeds to  Yep. Hunt for the Cure.  I wonder if Komen will go after them for the use of their trademarked “for the Cure” slogan.


Michael’s Craft Stores have a big-honkin’ pink display and tagging the items with Team Hope.



Michaels craft stores are marketing their pink items under Team Hope.












I visited the Michaels website and did not see anything regarding Team Hope. I typed “Team Hope” into the search bar and no products were found to match my search. I scrolled to the bottom of the Michaels webpage to look for any charitable alliances and found nothing. There is no charitable alliance noted on any of the Team Hope packaging. I think it is safe to say that none of this pink product money is going toward any breast cancer organization.  Pppfffttthhhhtttt.

These next pink items were found at the checkout at one of my fave crack dens –  Five Below.





The laces are packaged with “Walk of Hope” and the mirrors are packed with “Reflections of Hope”


I visited the Five Below website and was pleased to see a tab on Philanthropy.  Nothing was found regarding a donation to breast cancer charities, but they do align themselves with Alex’s Lemonade Stand and St. Jude Children’s Hospital.  The packing of these items do not indicate any charitable intentions with the sale of these products.  Ppppffftthhht.

One organization doing Pinktober the right way is the NFL and their Crucial Catch campaign.  If you are a football fan, then you have seen the pink accessories and signage at the games this month. The NFL is aligned with the American Cancer Society and promotes what each of the 32 NFL teams are doing this month to promote breast cancer awareness.

The Arizona Cardinals is having Gloria Gaynor sing “I Will Survive” accompanied by 175 breast cancer survivors and their cheerleaders. Not joking.

I did not see any outright dollar amount for a donation, but the NFL indicated that pink items worn by players will be auctioned off with proceeds going to ACS.

Pink skull cap worn at game.  Anyone?

Pink skull cap worn at game. Anyone?


Stay tuned for more pink-shaming!  And go get your mammogram! xoxo



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!


Walking On Deck for a Cure

12 Aug





Walkathon on a cruise ship – why not? Great idea!

Our family recently went on a cruise, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that a walkathon was happening while on board!  We received a flyer in our stateroom promoting the “On Deck for a Cure” walk that raised money for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.


WalkathonMaven was intrigued, and checked out the logistics of the event.

 Walkathon Route – Promenade Deck! One mile around = 2.5 laps. All right turns. No police needed for street crossings!

Registration – Wheelhouse Bar on Deck 7. Each participant is asked to contribute a minimum of $15 that will be charged to the onboard account. No money handling! Participants received an “on Deck for a Cure” baseball cap and refreshments.

Transportation/Parking – none needed! Participants are culled from GenPop. GenPop is jailspeak, I hear,  for General Population, but you know what I mean!

Entertainment – none. This tradeoff with the ability to walk with an alcoholic umbrella drink makes up for it.

First Aid – onboard infirmary

Snacks and refreshments – Deck 15 buffet!

Volunteer NeedsShip crew

So where does the money go? I found that Princess Cruises and Komen have had a partnership since 2007, and The Foundation donates 75 percent of each registration fee to Komen for the Cure, with a minimum guaranteed donation of $450,000 through 2014.

The crew was unable to tell me how much was raised during our voyage. It appeared that several dozen people took part in the walk. I watched them while sitting and sipping inside the Fusion nightclub during the afternoon bingo session. (I lost – again.)

The Princess Cruises Community Foundation website noted the response from passengers was nothing short of amazing. Over 11,000 vacationers spent a portion of their holiday time on board walking in support of breast cancer research.

I applaud the cruise line for doing a charitable good deed with a captive audience at sea! Our cruise was to Alaska and I highly recommend this for your family. Go see the glaciers before they are gone!




What’s your sign?

17 Jun





I love a good outdoor event. I love a good outdoor event with plenty of potties. I love it even more when I see some reaalllllly bad logistical decisions, which gives me things to write about.  Lucky you! I was at my daughters lacrosse jamboree last weekend (she scored a few times – thank you!) and came across these signs:

lax1 lax2

The tent offenders can probably plead ignorance since the signs were barely visible, barely readable and were randomly placed.  Here are some sign suggestions from the Walkathon Maven:

  1. Use large, bold letters or numbers
  2. Ensure the sign is readable from 20 feet away
  3. Raise the sign at least 5 feet off the ground
  4. Place the signs in heavily traveled areas
  5. Make sure the materials are weather-resistant

If the organizers distribute a survey, I’ll be sure to share the above with them!

Reminder – Father’s Day is this Sunday.

Make that Daddy in your life feel loved!


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.