How to Host a Walkathon

Cheryl Cirelli
Walkers at event registration

Finding out how to host a walkathon is a critical step in planning this type of event. The host of the event is responsible for all the details as well as executing the walk.

About Walkathons

Walkathons are a great way to raise money for your organization while bringing the community together to support a worthy cause. Holding a walkathon is a way to get the word out about your cause and can be a way to recruit new volunteers for your organization as well. Walkathons can be held at school tracks, in parks and on paths around town.

How To Host a Walkathon Event

When considering how to host a walkathon event, take into consideration the many details that go into the planning and execution. A team effort is critical for a large event such as walkathon. Rely on help from volunteers to assist you in the task. The organization hosting the walkathon is in charge of everything so the more help you get from within your organization the better it will be.

The concept for a walkathon is simple: get walkers to participate in the walk and have each of them solicit donations to support their efforts. Consider how each walker can raise money. Have each participant be responsible for raising a certain amount of money. There are several ways to do this. They can ask for a certain amount of money from a donor in order to sponsor them in the walk or they can ask for an amount for each mile or lap that they walk. The participants can walk at their own pace and not feel that it is a competitive event. The purpose is to raise money for the organization while having fun and exercising in the process. Most organizations ask that participants raise $50-$100 each. The more walkers you recruit, the more money for your cause.

Another way to raise money at a walkathon is to have corporate sponsors for the event. These sponsors can be local businesses in your community. In exchange for their sponsorship, they will get recognition at the event and in the media. Some corporate sponsorship ideas include:

  • Banner with the sponsor's name displayed at the event
  • Tent named after the sponsor
  • Sponsor a team of walkers
  • Name the walk after the sponsor

You can offer different levels of sponsorship so that there is something that will appeal and fit into the budget of more potential sponsors.

When planning a walkathon, you should always have a kick-off event such as lunch or a pizza party. This gets participants and sponsors enthused about the event as well as keeping everyone on track.

The day of the event should be about getting the word out about your cause. This can be done at the beginning of the event. Have a media person or a famous person in your community make an opening announcement at the walkathon.

Other Elements

There are other elements to include at your walkathon event that can also bring in profits for your organization. You can hold contests in conjunction with the walk such as:

  • Tent decorating contest
  • Best team name
  • Most money raised by a team

You can also hold a drawing at the end of the event and giveaway a grand prize to the winner. Ask a local business to donate the prize.

Another way to raise money at the walkathon is to set up a food and beverage tent. Participants and spectators can purchase refreshments at the event and in return you will make money. If possible, try to get the food and beverages donated from a local merchant so you will make the most profit.

Finishing Touch

A final touch at the walkathon is entertainment. Try to get a local band to play music or a clown to make balloon animals for the kids, anything goes as long as it is enjoyable to the masses. The most important thing is to have fun. After all, this is an opportunity to raise money and support for your cause.

How to Host a Walkathon