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Running an Event

10 Tips for Planning a Great Charity Walk

By Lance Trebesch June 13, 2018

Who would want to get exercise while raising money for a great cause? Lots of people! That’s what makes a charity walk such a brilliant fundraiser. Having a load of people out exercising in the name of your charity raises its profile within the community, and participants tend to come back again in following years.

Convinced to give it a go but uncertain about logistics or where to begin? With the help of our amazing customers, we’ve got tips and answers to common charity walk planning questions to get you started on your journey:

  1. When should my charity walk take place? Warmer, drier months are often more appealing for exercising out of doors, but that also happens to be when many other charity events and holidays will be taking place. Be sure to check that the date you’re leaning toward doesn’t clash with other major events—you may have to compromise! Sometimes finding a day that doesn’t have some sort of conflict isn’t possible, so you must weigh your options and choose the circumstances best suited to set your fundraiser up for success.
  2. What sort of charity walk works best in drawing a large participation? Casting the widest net works best! What we mean is, a charity walk that isn’t too difficult (but interesting and challenging enough) will appeal to most. Someone who doesn’t exercise much or has mobility issues may be deterred from signing up, so unless you’re appealing to a specific group of outdoor enthusiasts who you know would be up for a rigorous test of fitness, choose a route many can travel.
  3. How do I choose a route? A great place to start is to contact local walking, running, or hiking clubs, as well as local parks. They’ll know all sorts of loops and routes as well as be informed as to the difficulty of each. Once you’ve got an idea of where your charity walk should take place, go do it yourself! There’s no better way to familiarise yourself with traffic, parking, difficulty, scenery, and such. If while doing so you encounter issues of safety (perhaps a busy street or difficult section) or logistics, take note so you can troubleshoot and prepare. Once you’ve chosen a route, map it out and have a large poster or banner printed with its details to hang where all can see on walk day. Participants will be able to take a picture on their phones to refer to as they walk.
  4. How many volunteers will I need? The size and scope of your charity walk determine how much help to call on. When looking at your route, where do you want helpers stationed to hand out water or food? Remember, you’ll also need a sign-in desk, someone to direct parking, and people stationed at the finish line to provide direction and cheer participants on.
  5. What sort of resources should I organise? Not unlike planning any other sort of event, there are lots of details to attend to. To start, consider the following: trash cans, portable toilets (if there are none at the venue), tables for sign-in as well as for handing out food and water, PA system of some kind (depending on your event, a bullhorn may do), two-way radios, signage or banners leading to the event, course markers, first aid, tents/canopies, electricity in the form of outlets or a generator, and parking or transportation for attendees.
  6. How do I keep track of participants? Likely there will be supporters and other people out enjoying the fine weather. Being able to discern participants and staff from the rest of the crowd is essential to staying organized. Wristbands are an excellent way to identify participants—they’re easy to spot and wear, affordable, and can be a fun memento of a day doing good.
  7. Do I need to notify authorities about my charity walk? When should I do so? Every city and town has its own set of regulations, and your walk may require special permitting. It’s a good idea to ring your area’s police, emergency services, council, and, if you’re passing through private property, the land owner. Begin doing this four months in advance for a smaller walk and six months before a larger event. Another group to consider are local businesses. If walkers will be affecting traffic or boosting business, it’s a good idea to chat ahead of time with those who will be impacted so that they can then prepare and make it a better event for all!
  8. What about insurance? Liability insurance is a must! It should cover any medical issues that might occur and damage to the land where the walk will take place (as well as the surrounding property).
  9. How do I promote my charity walk? A good place to start is by reaching out to all the local shops and businesses with whom you chat. Ask if you can hang posters or leave postcards for customers, or even work together to promote the event. Do the same thing with gyms, schools, clubs, libraries, and community centres. If you’ve got an email list, send out missives to everyone, and utilise social media to market your charity walk. If you’re raising funds for a larger, national cause, ask them if they’ve got a mailing list or if they can post the details of your event to their social media platforms.
  10. What information should I include on my charity walk’s posters, postcards, and invitations? If you’re working with an existing charity, ask them for a logo to include on all your materials. Be sure to list the when and where, information about the cause, how to register, and provide contact information. Choose a look for all your materials and keep it consistent. Doing so makes it easy to recognise at a glance and gives a professional impression, which in turn affects how many people sign up to participate.