Five Tips to Help Your Walk-a-Thon Participants Raise More Money

by Joe Garecht

Walk a thon crowd

Guest Post by Kari Ann Kiel from DoJiggy

Let’s begin by asking a question: “Why do donors choose to give money to one worthy cause over another?”

Some donors have a solid relationship with an organization where they choose to donate funds year after year. But many donors—specifically new prospects—need a compelling reason why they should choose to give to your cause instead of another. After all, there are many wonderful charities that donors would love to support. Often, people choose to donate because a person they have a relationship with is fundraising for a charity through a walk-a-thon or other participatory fundraising event.  This then becomes the “tipping point” helping them make their decision to give to the specific charity through the person they know.

Therefore, it’s very important for you to empower your walk-a-thon participants, as they are the true champions spreading awareness and raising funds for your cause. Provide online tools that make raising funds easyand allow them to engage with their peers by explaining why they personally chose to get involved. Creating an emotional connection to the “cause” is an effective way to gain support from family and friends.  The success of your walk-a-thon lies in the success of your individual participants.

So, how can you maximize the efforts of individual participants thus contributing to the overall success of your participatipatory fundraiser?  Here are five tips to help them succeed.

Five Participant Fundraising Tips:

#1 – Help Them Prepare.  Have a kick-off party or create a packet that provides guidelines to help your event participants prepare for the fundraiser such as:

-Establishing goals & setting timelines

-Creating a list of potential supporters

-Drafting a pitch (so they know what to say when they make phone calls or send emails to request donations)

-Overview of common courtesies (please & thank you’s, but also be sure to explain what funds are being raised for, how people can truly make a difference, etc.)

#2 – Make It Easy.  Participants are going to be more likely to succeed if you make it easy for them to participate.  Consider allowing walkers to set up individual fundraising pages where they can easily manage all aspects of their fundraiser.  Here they can establish and track goals (with a fundraising thermometer), inform people about their cause with a personal appeal and photos, and securely collect donations.  They no longer need to walk door-to-door asking for donations or be responsible for managing money.  All they have to do is share their website link!  Many database programs and online fundraising tools offer this functionality.

#3 – Make it Personal.  Give participants the opportunity to tell their personal story. Why did they choose to be involved in the fundraiser? What does this non-profit mean to them? Give them the ability to share photos and videos.  Walk-a-thon participants are more likely to embrace the initiative if it is fun and personal. Instead of sending supporters to a general site, they can send them to a personal fundraising web page that includes all these details.  Not only is this beneficial for participants, but it’s likely that these personal stories may be the selling point that gets donors to take action.

#4 – Provide Sample Templates.  Don’t make participants reinvent the wheel.  What tools do you already have?  Provide sample templates participants can use including: donation request letters and sample email requests, timelines and event check-lists, thank you letters, promotional event flyers, and more.  Give your walkers what they need to help you fundraise… make it easy on them!

#5 – Motivate Them.  Provide incentives for your walk-a-thon participants to succeed.  A little healthy competition goes a long way in helping your organization reach its fundraising goals. Be sure to track the fundraising progress of each participant and highlight your top performers.  You may want to give awards to motivate participants.  Here are a few ideas for motivational awards:

Top Performer:  Reward the participant who raises the most for the walk-a-thon.

Social Star:  Recognize the person who increases awareness of your cause by sharing the most posts, blogging about the event, etc.

Teamwork Award:  Recognize the team that performs the best overall with each individual achieving their goals.

Kari Ann Kiel works for DoJiggy, one of the web’s leading non-profit fundraising platforms.  You can download DoJoiggy’s recently released  free guide to hosting a walk-a-thon for more tips on successful walk-a-thon fundraising.

Photo Credit: Matias-Garabedian

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