Holding a Walkathon Without the “athon”

Holding a Walkathon Without the “athon”

Large-scale events provide participants an emotional connection to their cause of choice. Walking, running, or biking with thousands of others unites individuals to their peers and allows them to build an affinity with their peers and feel as if they’re making a larger difference in their community. The downside of these events is that they absorb a great deal of staff time and usually cost a lot of money to put on. As city permits increase due to municipal budget constraints, the ROI on large-scale events can be challenging for some organizations.

Recently, Charity Miles released a mobile application that tracks your exercise. While myriad applications exist that track mileage and exercise rates, Charity Miles rewards its user by donating money to charity for every mile conquered. Walkers and joggers raise 25 cents per mile and bikers raiser 10 cents per mile. While the funds raised through the application are currently self-funded by the creators of the application, it foreshadows a future in which event participants don’t need a central location to participate in walk.

As usage rates of smartphones increases, applications like Charity Miles offer an opportunity for individual participants to raise money by walking, running, or cycling in their neighborhood instead of traveling to one central location. While this sort of conceptual event will not capture the emotion that thousands of participants can, it is capable of capturing the logic and intelligence of a constituent base that values their fundraising dollar. Would you rather walk in your neighborhood with 95% of your fundraising dollars return to the cause or walk with 10,000 people and have 55% of your fundraising dollar return to the cause? For the percentage of your constituents base that are data nerds, that answer is obvious.


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