This is the time when schools and PTOs across the country start organizing school walkathons and fun runs. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools won’t be in session this fall or will have limited online schedules. Therefore, we’re seeing that virtual walkathons and fun runs are quickly gaining popularity with schools.
We’ve put together this article to help organizations learn how to run a virtual walkathon or fun run.
What We’ll Cover
Why Choose a Virtual Walkathon Fundraiser?
Virtual walkathons are great fundraisers for schools that can raise a lot of money with few upfront costs. Nonprofits and schools were hit hard during the pandemic, but COVID has taught us that virtual fundraising is a powerful force. Here’s why virtual walkathons are a great fundraising idea for most organizations:
- Due to social distancing and isolation requirements, many people crave connection and community. Kids are no different! They want to connect with their friends and teachers. A virtual walk allows students to connect with their classmates online.
- Kids need to exercise and be outdoors, perhaps now more than ever, as exercise is essential for physical and mental health and well-being. Your virtual event can motivate participants to get active.
- Many kids love technology and being online. Letting them help build their personal fundraising page and make an appeal to their family to support their school gives them a way to participate and learn new skills.
- You organize the school walk-a-thon every year, right? Why not keep the tradition alive? Kids look forward to their routines and special school spirit activities.
- Your organization’s supporters are ready to give online; just provide easy mobile giving options.
Plan the Virtual Walk Logistics
Successful school walkathons and Fun Runs hinge on the recruitment and action of a strong leadership team. Virtual walks are no different! Don’t try to go it alone – get a walkathon committee in place early to help with all of the run/walk logistics. For school walks, the PTO usually organizes the logistics with the help of parent volunteers.
Virtual walks and runs can occur in a couple of ways:
- Students run, walk, or jog on a specified day. Organizers can schedule a live stream video that morning to get everyone excited about the virtual race.
- Students complete the required mileage at their convenience within a week, month, or another specified period. This can make it easier for working parents to fit the walk into their schedule and motivate kids for a more extended period of physical activity.
Once students finish the virtual walkathon or race, they can upload their results online. This is especially important if tracking units of effort for the virtual event.
Get your Virtual Walkathon Website Ready
Be sure that your virtual events start with a great online experience for your participants. People who sign up for the virtual run/walk will register online and create their personal fundraising page. You can also consider importing your students, so they only need to send a link to friends and family to start taking online donations for your school.
Our peer to peer software for walk-a-thons is a powerful registration and donation management platform for School Fun Runs and other events where individual and team participants solicit and track donations. Each of your students and classrooms can manage personal fundraising pages, which include a fundraising thermometer and social media links. Participants invite friends and family to support your school through secure online donations to their page. Our school crowdfunding platform also has all the privacy features you need to keep students safe.
Kick off the Fundraising with a Pep Rally
With school walkathons, recruiting your walkers is easy, so the power of your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign then lies in your students’ fundraising abilities. Your job as a school fundraising administrator is to motivate the students to raise money.
Get students together with a virtual pep rally to kick off the campaign. Live stream at the beginning (and perhaps throughout) the campaign. Let the students know what to do and how to do it. Make it fun and engaging to get the kids excited.
Our school crowdfunding platform includes live stream video functionality to make it easy.
Get Students Motivated with Prizes
Kids love prizes of all kinds and will work hard to earn even small prizes. We recommend that School Fun Run and Athon prizes are structured in a way that encourages everyone to participate and not leave anyone feeling left out.
Our walkathon software also includes a prize management and gaming incentivization system. These tools allow your organization to monitor fundraising prizes and awards. The function is completely configurable for your prize levels and ideas. A prize widget will appear at the top of personal fundraising pages when a participant has reached a certain prize level, and participants and donors alike will love to see this.
Start Spreading the Word
Now it’s time to start spreading the word and raising awareness for your school or PTO cause. Your school’s website and social media pages are the best places to do this, given that everyone is still connected online.
Virtual Walkathon Alternatives
If a run/walk event isn’t suitable for your school, there are lots of online and virtual fundraising events you can consider this fall. Other peer-to-peer events that make great school fundraisers include reading fundraisers and bike-a-thons.
Conclusions on Planning a Virtual School Walk or Run
There are many benefits to hosting a virtual run/walk for your school, and these events are relatively easy to organize. Even small schools and PTO fundraising groups can put on a successful virtual walk with the proper preparation and tools. We have all of the walkathon fundraising resources to help!