PTA Great Idea Bank

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Has anyone ever done a walk-a-thon? Our fall fundraiser (sales based) didn't work out very well this year. We are considering doing a walk-a-thon in the spring to help make up for it. Any tips on coordinating it? How big is your school and what was your participation/profit like?

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Just out of curiosity, what was your fall fundraiser? What state are you writing from? Please e-meil me when you have a minute.


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We are in Indiana.

We did a sales-based fundraiser like usual - candy, wrapping paper, magazines, jewelry and cookie dough. We only got about 1/2 way to our goal.

Our direct donations were very low this year too.

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A school that I used to be at does a "Turkey Trot" every year. It's K-8. It was popular, but we didn't try to make much money from it. It was a "fun activity" for students, parents, and teachers. In addition to the 3K walk/run, we had a short run for the very little ones at the beginning. We had a local bicycle club mark the route and judge. The fire department that was nearby let us use tables and chairs. We had to get permission to have the event. (I not sure who all had to approve.) (This walk/run is on a city street along a beautiful residential bluff, along a river, not at our school.) We got permission from some churches in the area to let participants park in their lots and permission to use the church lot where we started and ended. We got donations for bags that went to each participant, including a t-shirt that was pre-ordered. We had a contest to design the T-shirt and recognized the winner. We printed and distributed tri-fold flyers with information and a sign-up form. There was publicity in newspapers, our church bulletin, and school newsletters. We had to organize the entries, get volunteers to stuff and distribute the bags the day before, as well as take new entries and give out packets to those people that day, as well as give packets to the people who didn't pick up their packet the day before. It was tricky having a smooth process both days, but we pulled it off (unlike in some years.) We let people sign-up the morning of the event, but they weren't guaranteed a t-shirt. Cheerleaders were at the mid-point, to cheer people on. People gave out water on the route. At the finish line, we had fruit, yogurt cups, and water. There were awards for many categories (age groups.) There really is a lot to it. Three of us worked on it for a few months. I don't even know everything that had to be done because our lead person did much of it herself. It was a job to get everything to the site and set-up that morning, even though we were able to leave somethings nearby overnight. Also, we arranged to borrow tents from a funeral home to cover the registration/award area and the refreshment area. (We had volunteers at the refreshment area, too.) We also sold the t-shirts at the school, and allowed people who registered to order multiple t-shirts. (So we put the right shirts into each packet labeled with the person's name and entry number, and sorted the packets by name. We had tables set-up by parts of the alphabet.) I hope this helps. I really don't suggest doing this unless you have a lot of time to plan - at least not the way we did it. (Sorry for the rambling nature of my reply.)

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Wow Lenora. What an accomplishment. I have a blog all about planning walkathons. May I do a success story about your school? If so would you mind emailing me a photo? Send it to

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I'm not at that school anymore. I'll check to see if you can contact them.

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Here is a link to the 2009 event, along with contact information:

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You can check out these tips for organizing volunteers found on

They were presented by Lee Garverick, a member of the Great Idea Bank, who wrote a guidebook for planning walkathons.

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Hi Carissa, I am a PTA mom and also have a blog all about planning walkathons. It's at I hope it helps! If you have any suggestions I'd really appreciate hearing them, for what info would be helpful. -Lee Garverick

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We have been doing fundraising events for the last four years and the results have been incredible. So much so, that I started Pride Fundraising - - to provide pre-packaged Fun Runs, Walk-a-thons and Bike-a-thons.

We beta tested the site with our daughter's school this year, with great results. The site will be 100% live on the 1-1-10 when we will be ready for a full launch.

Regarding our fundraiser, we have 79 k8 students that participated in a bike-a-thon. Using the our tools, we raised about $5000 in cash from local business, a few thousand in in-kind contributions and about $18,000 from the students. Overall we raised just over $23,000 and our profitability, after expenses was 95%.

Let me know if want the same results by visiting

Good Luck!

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I have never done a walk-a-thon, though I hear they are usually very successful when done the right way. You seem to need a lot of planning and volunteers for it to go really well. I actually was looking in to walk-a-thons when I came across Learn2Earn-a-thon. Our elementary school will be running one of these near the end of March. We don't have great parent volunteer participation in our school so we had to turn back from the walk-a-thon idea but I love the idea of the learn a thon. We'll see how it goes!


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