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How do I host a virtual walkathon?


All of us as humans can accomplish great things through unity and collaboration. Especially when we brush shoulders with strangers and walk-in unison for a better cause. Something is liberating about taking part in sponsored walks/walkathons, knowing you’re playing your role for humankind. 

However, due to the pandemic, many have had to introspect and look at how we can add meaning and stay active in a safe way. As a result, races and walkathons have been canceled, causing many of us active types to become dispirited. 

Don’t be one of those individuals.  Imagine the power of people all together in one place, walking for a cause. That’s just one place. Hosting a walkathon virtually, you can influence many people from different backgrounds, cultures, destinations, and abilities allowing them to take part.  

Be that person who sparks change.

Ok, so you’ve decided to host a walkathon, here are some tips on how to make it great:

1. Plan

Like any event, you have a healthy amount of logistics to figure out for your walkathon before you put it out there. Once you have all of these figured out, it will help your event to saily smooth and fewer setbacks to occur.

Establish a Cause

First of all, you need to know your cause and reason for the virtual walkathon. As walkathons are hosted to benefit humankind or the environment, you must establish a cause having a charity in mind for the funds to raise. More importantly, this will be one of the motivating factors as to why people will sign up, raise sponsors, and participate in your walkathon.

Determine the distance 

Have you participated in a walkathon or a race? If you have, you’ll know that often there are multiple distances to suit different abilities. Likewise, some events promote one length to walked. You may want to consider certain people have different levels of fitness and schedules. Therefore you must think about your participants, their ability, and their commitments to this event. 

Select the rules and platform

When people register for an event, they want to know more about it. Participants like to know the rules before they commit to anything. A lot of the time, even when its paid people feel inclined to know the specifics. 

Before you entirely go into the rules of your virtual walkathon, you should state your walkathon’s mission and aim. In regards to the rest, you might want to think about how many participants can attend. Are you limiting your virtual event to a particular country/time zone, or is it open to a few? You will want to be clear about this in your outline.

How are you going to monitor your participant’s distance? 

We recommend your participants tracking their steps using a tracking app. A fantastic example is Strava, a free app for your smartphone, which operates off GPS commonly used by walkers, runners, and cyclists. Once you start, it records, time, and distance. It also provides a map showing the ground you covered. 

Ensure you have a clear plan on how participants track and then submit their steps to you as the organizer. Likewise, the time frame for them doing so, so you can acknowledge the successful participants. 

Provide Incentives 

Walking and raising money is fun. However, sometimes people also need an extra motivator for taking part. You could perhaps provide certificates, medals of participation, or a t-shirt that you can post to them. Providing an incentive to take part in and have a souvenir of your virtual event will encourage more participants. 

Decide your entry fee

Many physical walkathons have a minimum entry fee for participants before they collect sponsors. As humans, we tend to sign up for something and not follow through with our decision. Unfortunately, this does not change in the virtual world either; it probably occurs more as people are behind a screen. A minimum entry fee protects you as a host, allowing money to be still sent to your cause and holding the participant accountable, making them feel more inclined to be active as they’ve already paid a small free.

Also, do factor in the price of the incentives you will use. You may want to increase your entry fees slightly, so your money is protected, and you don’t lose out on as much

Set a time/Date for your virtual walkathon

Depending on your event guidelines, you will need to agree on a date and time. Ideally, walkathons are best held on a weekend. Fewer people work on the weekend so that you may have a bigger audience. 

Create a logo

Events become more credible when they have their logo. People connect with logos or catchy images. Your logo will help people identify with your event, and you can use it on your certificates, medals, or t-shirts. Likewise, you can use it later for your event promotion.

You don’t have to be an expert at photoshop; there are other tools such as Canva and Adobe Spark, which help you design logos, banners, and much more. Having a logo adds more authenticity to your event. 

Create a way to sign up/pay/collect data 

Before you promote it, you need to have an efficient system where the participant can register, pay their entry fees, and collect sponsorship. 

There are several tools online for doing this; one is qgiv, which allows you to manage event registration, donation forms, and collect statistics. Once you have the data, you can email event information to your participants.

2. Promote

Now you have your event thoroughly planned out; you need to raise awareness, so you have enough people to sign up. You should spend a substantial amount of time doing this to get people interested. 

Social Media

Create a page for your event on Facebook and social media handles for the likes of Instagram and Twitter. Likewise, create an event on Facebook and a link in the bios referring visitors to your registration page.

Start actively posting about it and information about the cause. Become creative such as doing live streams or Q&A’s across your platforms to generate more attention. Further to this, you could interview someone from the charity your raising money for, to gain more attraction. 

Event Platforms

Add the event to other platforms such as Eventbrite and redirect them to your sign up page. Many people who also don’t use social media yet look on different platforms for upcoming events they may be interested in doing.

Word of Mouth

Promoting an event is not best done alone. Gather a team of volunteers such as friends, family, or co-workers to help promote it themselves. They can encourage it verbally or across their social media handles. 

Sponsored Ads

If you have a spare bit of cash, you can promote your event using sponsored adverts. If you know how to use Facebook or Instagram, pay for the sponsored adverts to reach a broader demographic. Moreover, if you don’t hire someone who knows how to do it.

You could even advertise in an online newspaper or magazine. Similarly, ask them for them to feature you in a section on their website.

3. Host The Walkathon!

It’s walkathon day! Today, you may want to post updates on your social media handles and find words of encouragement for the participants.

Add in specific stats and statistics to help influence them. You could even add a live video of you doing the virtual walkathon. 

4. Follow Up 

Once finished, thank everyone for participating in the event you hosted. Email all participants and post to your social media channels about the outcomes of the walkathon. It would be best if you did so and recognize their achievements.

If you have incentives such as medals, certificates, or t-shirts, post or distribute them to your participants accordingly. Likewise, submit the money to the selected charity.

Finally, sit back and appreciate the hard work you’ve put in to host your first successful walkathon. You’ve just managed to gather and connect many humans virtually, for the greater good.

Reading this, and struggling on how to host a virtual walkathon? Contact us for further information.

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