How to guide: organise your own walk
Ipswich Defeat Dementia Walk (IDDW) has been an established fundraising event for Alzheimer’s Research UK for the last three years, raising over £50,000. The walk attracts 70–120 people each year, taking on a minimum of ten miles across Ipswich in Suffolk. There are four members of the organising team, who all take on separate roles to ensure the smooth running of the event. It’s a fantastic way to fundraise and engage your local community.
Creating your own event: a step-by-step guide
- Block out the route. Check with your local council for any road closures or special events which may cause unusually busy traffic or pavements. Ensure to plan rest and toilet stops along the way. Keep in mind accessibility and enough space for walkers to congregate.
- Consider the length of route. To keep logistics simple, stick to a 10-mile walk for your first event. After that, you should feel confident in branching out to add more challenging 15-mile walks too, plus family friendly 5-mile walks.
- Find a venue for the start and finish point. The key things to consider: parking nearby and a large outside space for walkers to all start together.
- Marketing the walk. Make sure you give plenty of time to advertise the event. IDDW runs in October with registrations opening in May. Utilise your local press. Organisers of IDDW had great contacts at their local newspaper who gave them a double page spread to help market the event.
- Create an entry form. This will help to capture key details for each participant. Available upon request from your local fundraising contact.
- Send a comprehensive pre-event email. Here you can include all the important details e.g. timings and route. Example available upon request from your local fundraising contact.
- Registration booth on the day. It is important for each walker to sign in, collect their bib number, and to pay in any cash sponsorship before the start time.
- Recruiting volunteers and marshals for on the day. Walkers are colour-coded into groups of 10-15 walkers, and each marshal looks after a group of walkers. It is important to have marshals to ensure safety of participants.
- Each group leaves in waves. This helps to allow distance between each group as to allow for road crossings and toilet stops.
- Organising a team to do a final walk of the route. Complete this a week or two before the event date to make sure the route is safe and fit for purpose.
Key fundraising opportunities
- Corporate sponsorship opportunities. Approach local companies who can support the event in-kind. This will help keep costs low and increase the promotion of the walk. Sponsorship packages include: Start Line sponsor, Finish Line sponsor, Prosecco Point sponsor and Water Stop sponsor. (IDDW key sponsors have included local Co-op supermarkets and care homes). Examples available upon request from your local fundraising contact.
- Minimum sponsorship. IDDW ask each walker to raise a minimum of £150.
- In 2019 the IDDW had a ‘photobooth’ opportunity, with photos sold for a £5 donation after the event.
- JustGiving team page. Walkers can link their Just Giving pages to a joint team page and all be part of hitting the event’s target. Ask your local fundraising contact for support on how to do this.
About the author
I work in the Central Fundraising Team stewarding our supporters across the UK, particularly in the North East of England, Scotland and Wales. I also help support our Regional Fundraising Officers, their social media channels and fundraising groups.