This is a fundraiser that is suitable for any school or church organization, and particularly as a sports fundraiser since it involves physical activity. It requires a lot of planning—especially if you have a lot of participants—but requires very little in the way of facilities or equipment.
People of all ages and physical abilities can participate in this fundraising event. Even people in wheelchairs can do it. It’s an enjoyable way to get outside and enjoy the fresh air, talk with friends, get exercise and make money for your sports team, all at the same time.
What is a walk-a-thon?
Participants solicit pledges from friends, family and businesses for a certain amount per mile or lap walked, up to a pre-determined distance. Usually the longer the walk, the smaller the pledges will be per mile.
A fundraising walk-a-thon can be held on a running track or a bike path, or even on a pre-determined route on the sidewalk, with directional signs showing the way. Have local businesses sponsor your event and put their names on all the signs.
On longer walks, set up “refueling stations” and provide free drinks and snacks for your participants. Of course, try to get donations for all the food and drinks.
The best days for your walk-a-thon is on Saturday or Sunday mornings from late spring to early fall. Be sure to schedule a rain date in case of bad weather on your original walk day.
And the winner is…
If your walk-a-thon fundraiser is a big event, give prizes for the most money raised, the most sponsors signed up, the fastest time and for the person who gets the most participants to join. Give t-shirts or balls emblazoned with the name of your sports team and logos of any business sponsors.
The success of this activity is largely dependent upon the enthusiasm your group generates to get as many participants as possible and who, in turn, get as many pledges as possible. To encourage more pledge solicitation, set an entry fee per participant that can be offset with the same dollar amount in pledges.
My sons school does an annual walk-a-thon. It is the schools biggest fundraiser of the year. I am unsure of the exact amount they raised last year but I believe it was more than $20,000. The students bring home pledge forms where family and friends pledge an amount per lap the child walks. For example I pledged a dollar for each lap and my mother pledged 20 cents per lap that my son completed.
So after the walk-a-thon they calculate how many laps he did and we go out to everyone that signed up and collect the money. The school also gives the children bonus gifts for walking more laps like water bottles for 10 laps and t-shirts for 15 laps to motivate them.
It is a fantastic way to raise money. It gets the kids active. It is a little bit competitive so the kids want to walk more laps. The school provides water cups and live music to “pump” them up. It is a fantastic healthy way to raise money for the school.
Walk-a-thon for School Improvements
My kids attend private school, and for the past five years, we have held an annual walk-a-thon to raise money for the school. The money goes to whatever the school needs that paricular year – repaving the parking lot, a new roof, proving scholarships for in-need families, etc. We came up with this fundraising idea in an attempt to offset the need to raise the tuition yearly. So, far, it has been a great success! Last year alone, we raised over $50,000!
We chose a walk-a-thon because we wanted to do something that the kids could be involved in. This way they feel like they are helping out, and they also get a huge fun-filled day. We make a big production out of it for the kids, and they look forward to it every year.To generate excitement for the kids, we collected prizes from local businesses and from families at the school. The kids collected pledges and received a raffle ticket for the prizes for every $1 they collected. Additionally, on the day itself, there are special t-shirts, a carnival like production with food, drinks and games to play between laps or after the walking is complete. Teachers dress as cheerleaders to root on the kids. It is a complete day of fun for everyone!