Walk For Fragile X Toolkit
To create awareness about Fragile X in your local community and help raise funds for continued education, support and research.
In order to organize a successful walk, it is critical to have a team of volunteers ready to help with planning. There should be a chair or co-chairs who can delegate responsibilities and make sure activities are coordinated and accounted for. Possible tasks may include but are not limited to:
- Registration: Someone has to create forms, flyers, webpage updates, and Firstgiving connections, then receive forms back in the mail.
- Water: Volunteers must pick up water and ice and set it out on the day of the event, along with cups, trash and recycling containers.
- Food: Decisions and arrangements must be made on any food provided for the walkers, either during or after the event.
- Raffle: Donations from local merchants and supporters can be solicited for fun raffles. Someone must be in charge of raffle logistics, including tickets, sales, and announcing.
- Signs: Directional AND informational signs must be made, transported, put into place and removed.
- Publicity: The event must be promoted using any and all available media, both within and outside the Fragile X community.
- T-shirts: Someone must seek price quotes, order all shirts and organize distribution.
- Run/Walk: The route must be determined, along with any support required such as law enforcement, permitting, etc. Professional events service providers or consultants may be a good investment if the event is of sufficient size.
- Entertainment: Music during and/or after the walk/run is a common and welcome feature of such events.
- Games: Volunteers can help organize other entertainment for the day of the event, including games, balloon artists, clowns, bounce houses, etc.
Volunteer Coordination: One person (or a pair working together) must have ultimate responsibility for organizing and overseeing all volunteer activities.
6 – 8 months before approximate date of event
- Choose date, time, location, distance, and targeted participants.
- Have an alternate date in mind; local parks present less safety issues than streets. Check to see if permits are necessary or if rental fees are charged, and determine whether restrooms are available. Will you need security or local police involvement? Is there a central pavilion or gathering area that can serve as walk headquarters?
- Decide on format: Do you want to have an out & back walk, a timed walk, or walk for an hour? Is the event going to be family-friendly? If so, do you need a shorter distance for kids? Or do you want to target serious walkers looking for a cause? Also, consider getting your kid’s schools involved. High schools are great places to look for day-of-event volunteers as well.
- Options: Do you want the venue to be bike/stroller/pet-friendly? Do you want a playground close by?
4 – 6 months before event
- Prepare solicitation letters to local businesses asking for donations of cash, water, food, bags or raffle items. Offer advertising opportunities to all businesses that support the walk with a donation (Start/Finish Line banner placement, , logo on t-shirts and publicity materials, etc. Ask for their logos, phone numbers, website addresses, or anything else they want publicized. The NFXF can supply FX flyers to include with the letters. Be prepared to follow up the letter with a phone call or visit. Target the places you normally shop.
2 – 4 months before event
- Prepare posters/flyers to advertise the walk and create registration and pledge forms. Be sure to include a liability waiver on the registration form. Include t-shirt sizes on registration form so you know what quantities to order of each size.
- Contact your local printer to see if it will donate the cost of flyers, registration and pledge forms. Get permission to post flyers at local businesses in your town. Be sure to include contact information. Also distribute flyers to your intended audiences—school students, families, etc. (get out your holiday greeting card lists!), church, synagogue & mosque bulletins, school newspapers, local papers and local news stations, which are often pleased to promote local events.
- Create an online registration option with FirstGiving and advertise the link through email and social media.
View sample registration forms
Considerations: Do you want to charge a minimum entry fee? If a participant raises a minimum pledge amount then entry fee is waived? Do you want acknowledgement letters sent to all donors? Set your registration deadline about 10 days prior to the walk, but be prepared for event-day registrations with extras of everything.
1 – 2 months before event
- Follow up with local businesses. Restaurants are often eager to support your cause with a percentage of the profits from “FX Night” in return for an increase in their overall sales. Talk to the owner/manager of your local burger joint or national pizza chain to explore the possibilities. Look for matching grant opportunities such as Wal-Mart.
- Design t-shirts. Keep in mind that more colors = more expense. Look for a t-shirt sponsor or a printer that can give a big discount.
- Start to put together raffle prizes. Decide on price per ticket. Determine advance & day-of-raffle ticket sales.
1 week before event
- Order t-shirts—include extras of each size for last minute-registrants; order balloons or make/order start/finish sign; obtain tables/chairs for day of walk headquarters; pick up/organize non-perishables (waters, coolers, First aid kit, etc.). Assemble donated bags or manila folders with t- shirts, FX information, business coupons and giveaways.
- Prepare labels for the bags or folders—last name first with t-shirt size, and organize alphabetically in boxes.
- Confirm job assignments, duties, and event-day volunteers, and designate volunteer supervisor volunteers whom they contact upon arrival.
- Create a check-in form with columns—name, t-shirt size, amount of money raised, packets picked up, etc.
Day of event
- Set up registration tables at least one hour in advance. Have a sufficient number of volunteers on hand to keep check-in running smoothly. If large numbers are expected, create separate check-in areas A-M, N-Z. Have extra registration/pledge forms on hand.
- Set up boxes with bags for pre-registrants.
- Set up raffle display and refreshment tables.
- Collect pledge money as participants check in.
- Hold the raffle drawing after the walk is over while people are mingling and eating.
- Take lots of photos and encourage others to do the same—and to share them with you! (This can assist with publicity for the following year and also help bring attention to your event and group via reports in NFXF print and website materials.)
- Thank everyone for participating.
Considerations: Determine a safe place to keep pledges. Be clear on how to handle event-day registrations—minimum entry fee, t-shirt, etc. The NFXF can supply literature for an information table. Have a volunteer (someone familiar with FX) on hand to answer questions. You might include family photos or an “FX Family Tree” on display.
- Decide how you want to try to collect outstanding pledges.
- Send thank-you letters to everyone who donated and let them know how it went. If you plan to do a walk on an annual basis, it’s really important to build on the relationships you establish with your initial event. Also, be sure to thank your volunteer groups and/or individuals.
- Relax for at least a little while, taking time to reflect on and feel good about your and your group’s generosity in assisting the Fragile X community.