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LATEST FROM OUR BLOG

Thank You Letter Template for Business Donors

Thank You Letter Template for Business Donors

Create genuine and effective thank-you letters for business donors to your school fundraisers. Use this template from FutureFund to get started, then send it out using our platform’s built-in messaging system.

How to Re-Engage Legacy Donors For Your PTA

How to Re-Engage Legacy Donors For Your PTA

Re-establish connection, maintain engagement, and more with this practical guide for re-engaging legacy donors for your PTa. Our team at FutureFund is here to help you understand the value of connecting with past donors and continuing those relationships.

How to Run a Walk-a-Thon Fundraiser

Walk-a-thon’s make for great fundraisers because they tick all the right boxes: participants do something that expands their skills and knowledge while raising money to support their school, extra-curricular program, or club.

Here, we’ll show you the A-Z of walk-a-thons, including planning, tracking donations, and ideas on how to organize and promote it.

Walk-a-Thon Guide Table of Contents

1

Step by Step Guide

Everything you need to know about starting a walk-a-thon from A-Z.

2

Walk-a-Thon 101

A quick introduction to what a walk-a-thon is and how it works.

3

What is an "A-Thon" & How Does it Work?

Thon’s can be a powerful fundraising tool.

4

What do you need to run a Walk-a-Thon?

The tools, support, and volunteers you’ll need for a successful walk-a-thon.

5

Using a Walk-a-Thon to Fundraise

How to raise money with walk-a-thons.

6

Templates, Ideas, Tools, & Resources

Kickstart your walk-a-thon using curated templates and tools.

7

Walk-a-Thon Theme Ideas

Get inspired with our walk-a-thon theme examples.

FutureFund is FREE for Schools

Schools that sign up get full access to all of FutureFund’s features—it’s always free and it always will be.

The Steps to Running Your Walk-A-Thon

Step One: Choose a Date & Theme

  • Choose the date of your Walk-A-Thon three months before the event. Walk-A-Thons usually take place on a single day, so choose a date that doesn’t conflict with other school plans.
  • Make sure your PTA coordinates with the school ahead of time to make sure the school grounds are available, plan any portions of the route that may go off-campus, get insurance if necessary, and arrange custodial services.

Walk-A-Thon Planning Infographic and Checklist

Use these templates to keep your Walk-A-Thon planning on track:

Canva Walk-A-Thon Infographic

Canva Running a Walk-A-Thon Checklist

Step Two: Call for Volunteers

  • Put out a call for volunteers two months before the event. Use FutureFund’s built-in messaging system to reach the parents and volunteers most likely to participate.
  • Make sure your call for volunteers clearly states what cause or project the Walk-A-Thon will support.
  • Perform background checks for any volunteers from outside the school who need to be present during the event (if required by your school).

Example Volunteer Positions for Walk-A-Thons

  • Event Coordinator: Oversees the entire event including planning, coordination, and day-of execution.
  • Route Planner: Designs and marks the walk-a-thon route, ensuring it is safe and clearly indicated.
  • Registration Team: Manages pre-event registrations, day-of sign-ups, and distributes participant materials like bib numbers.
  • Fundraising Team: Coordinates the collection of pledges and donations, and manages any additional fundraising activities.
  • Safety Officers: Ensure the safety of participants and coordinate with any local authorities if the route takes place off campus to ensure traffic closures, permits, etc.
  • Water Station Volunteers: Sets up and manages water stations along the route to keep walkers hydrated.
  • First Aid Volunteers: Provide basic first aid and coordinate with medical professionals for emergencies.
  • Start/Finish Line Coordinators: Manages the start and finish line areas, including timing and organizing the start and finish of the event.
  • Refreshment Coordinators: Manages post-event refreshments and food for participants and volunteers.
  • Photographer/Videographer: Captures moments from the event for future promotion and participant keepsakes.
  • Cleanup Crew: Responsible for post-event cleanup, ensuring the route and start/finish areas are left tidy.

Step Three: Choose Student Incentives

  • Incentives motivate students to register for your Walk-A-Thon and collect pledges. Each student should have a specific fundraising goal—usually between $300-$500.
  • It’s better to offer incentives to the class or grade that raises the most money than to individual students, as this is a more cost-effective way to motivate groups and can also discourage unhealthy competition. Try an ice cream social or a pizza party for the best results.

Step Four: Create Your Walk-A-Thon’s Campaign

Use FutureFund to create a Pledge-A-Thon campaign and provide your campaign details.

Make sure your campaign has the following elements:

  • A clear and compelling event description and rules, including what the money raised will go towards and what the incentives will be for participating students.
  • A leaderboard that shows the grades and teachers for each participating class, along with how much each has raised. These are fully customizable in FutureFund, so you can create custom categories for each Walk-A-Thon.
  • A template students can use to collect pledges from members of the school community. FutureFund provides a sample template for this in all A-Thon campaigns, which you can modify to include the specific details of your event.

Sample Walk-A-Thon Rules Template

Here’s a Canva template of sample Walk-A-Thon rules. Click “Use template for new design” to create an editable version, then add custom information for your event, change fonts and graphics, and more!

Canva Walk-A-Thon Rules Template

Step Five: Announce the Event & Sign-Up Students

  • Send out an announcement of your Walk-A-Thon to the school community two weeks before the event begins and request that students sign up to participate.
  • Share the news in as many places as possible—use the school newsletter, morning announcements, and FutureFund’s messaging system to tell everyone why the event is important and how they can be part of it.
  • Use FutureFund to send follow-up messages every other day leading up to the event to encourage participation.
  • The night before the event, send a final reminder to get the school community excited about the event and encourage them to keep offering support.

Initial Email for Student Sign-Ups

Subject: Join the Fun at [School Name]’s Annual Walk-A-Thon!

Hello Students,

Step right up for our exciting Walk-A-Thon! It’s not just a walk; it’s an opportunity to enjoy a day outdoors, support our school, and participate in a community-building event.

Why participate in the Walk-A-Thon?

  • Enjoy a healthy, fun walk with friends and family.
  • Help raise funds for [insert cause or school project].
  • Earn rewards and recognition for your walking and fundraising efforts.

How to Sign Up:

It’s easy to get involved! Just click on this link [insert FutureFund link], follow the simple registration steps, and you’re ready to go. You’ll also get a link to share with friends and family for pledges based on the distance you walk.

Whether you’re an avid walker or just want to enjoy a leisurely stroll, this event is for everyone. Let’s walk together for a great cause!

Warm regards,

[Your Name]

[School or Name of School Group]

You can also use this Canva template to keep a copy of your email script handy. Click “Use template for new design” to create an editable version, then add custom information for your event, change fonts and graphics, and more!

Canva Walk-A-Thon Student Sign-up Email Template

Sample Follow-Up Email to Donors

Subject: Your Support Goes the Distance – [School Name] Walk-A-Thon Update!

Dear [Donor’s Name],

Thank you so much for supporting our Walk-A-Thon! Your contributions are helping us provide a memorable experience for our students and reach our fundraising goals for [insert specific goal or cause].

Current Update:

  • [Number of students] excited walkers are lacing up their shoes!
  • We’ve reached [percentage] of our fundraising goal.

There’s still time to support our walkers through FutureFund at [insert link]. Your generosity is vital to our success and greatly appreciated by our entire school community.

Thank you,

[Your Name]

[School or Name of School Group]

You can also use this Canva template to keep a copy of your email script handy. Click “Use template for new design” to create an editable version, then add custom information for your event, change fonts and graphics, and more!

Canva Walk-A-Thon Donor Email Template

Templates for Promoting Your Walk-A-Thon

Here are some Canva templates to help you spread awareness for your Walk-A-Thon on social media and in your community! Click “Use template for new design” to create an editable version, then add custom information for your event, change fonts and graphics, and more!

Canva Walk-A-Thon Template for Instagram Story

Canva Walk-A-Thon Template for Instagram Post

Canva Walk-A-Thon Template for Printable Poster

Example caption: Support [insert school name]’s Walk-A-Thon from [insert date]. Help our school community raise money for [insert cause] by registering to walk!

Sample Email for the Final Day Before the Walk-A-Thon

Subject: Final Steps Before [School Name]’s Walk-A-Thon!

Hello [Name of School] Students & Families!

The big day is just around the corner! Our Walk-A-Thon is tomorrow, and we’re thrilled to see everyone come together for this event.

Here’s what you need to remember:

  • Last chance to gather pledges! Encourage your friends and family to support you viaFutureFund at [insert link].
  • Join us at [Location] on [Date]. The walk starts at [Time], so come early and get ready to step out in style!

Let’s make the final day a stride to remember. Your support and encouragement are key to our students and make a real difference in our school community. Let’s walk towards a fantastic finish!

See you there,

[Your Name]

[School or Name of School Group]

You can also use this Canva template to keep a copy of your email script handy. Click “Use template for new design” to create an editable version, then add custom information for your event, change fonts and graphics, and more!

Canva Final Week Push Walk-A-Thon Email Template

Step Six: Find Sponsors

Ask local businesses to sponsor the Walk-A-Thon. This can help your PTA reach your fundraising targets while business owners get exposure and positive PR.

Make sure to explain how each sponsor’s contribution will be recognized. For example, you could:

  • Hang a banner in the gym with sponsor logos during the event.
  • Offer branded water bottles or other swag to participants.
  • Add sponsors to your school’s online store using FutureFund.

Types of Sponsorship:

  • Direct donations—either towards your fundraising goal or to help cover the costs of supplies.
  • Corporate matching is where a business makes a donation equal to all or a portion of the funds you raise from the community.
  • Selling sponsorships on FutureFund via advertising on your campaign page.

Step Seven: Host the Walk-A-Thon

Finally, the day of the event will arrive—and if you’ve followed all the steps above, you should have everything you need to make it successful. Here’s a sample event schedule:

Early Morning Session

  • 6:00 AM – 7:00 AM: Setup and Volunteer Arrival: Volunteers arrive to set up the course, registration area, water stations, and first aid stations. They also set up any additional areas like refreshment stands and sponsor booths.
  • 7:00 AM – 8:00 AM: Participant Arrival and Registration: Walkers arrive, check in, and receive their race numbers and any other materials.
  • 8:00 AM – 8:30 AM: Opening Ceremony and Warm-Up: Welcome speech, brief overview of the course and rules, followed by a group warm-up session led by a fitness instructor or volunteer.

Morning Session

  • 8:30 AM: Walk-A-Thon Start: Participants start walking. Depending on the number of participants, start times can be staggered in waves.
  • 8:30 AM – 11:00 AM: Main Event: Participants walk the course. Volunteers at water stations provide hydration and encouragement.

Midday Session

  • 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Lunch Break and Entertainment: A break for lunch with food available for purchase. Entertainment, such as music or a guest speaker, can be provided.
  • 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM: Final Laps: Last chance for walkers to complete their laps or distance goals.

Afternoon Session

  • 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM: Cool Down and Refreshments: As participants finish, they are greeted with refreshments and an area to cool down. This can include light snacks, water, and fruits.
  • 2:00 PM – 2:30 PM: Awards and Recognition Ceremony: Awards for various achievements such as most laps completed, highest funds raised, best team spirit, etc.
  • 2:30 PM – 3:00 PM: Closing Remarks: Thank you speech by the event coordinator, announcement of total funds raised, and official closing of the event.
  • 3:00 PM onwards: Cleanup: Volunteers and staff begin cleaning up the venue, dismantling any temporary setups, and ensuring the area is left tidy.

Post-Event Tasks

  • One Day After the Event: Send out a message thanking all donors, participants, and volunteers.
  • One Week After the Event: Hold an event for the winning class or grade (ice cream social or pizza party).

Walk-a-Thon 101

What is a Walk-a-Thon?

A walk-a-thon is a popular a-thon type of fundraiser since they’re easy and effective. It’s easy for students and parents to participate since they don’t need any special skills or equipment.

It’s also easy for PTAs to organize since it doesn’t require a ton of planning. And it gets participants outside and moving, which is always a win.

Walk-a-Thon Goals & Rules

Treat these as a base and feel free to tailor these to suit your specific event.

Length

The length of your Walk-A-Thon will largely be determined by the age and fitness level of your students. Typically, Walk-A-Thons will be held over the course of a single day—but you can expand this into a multi-day event if you have the volunteers available for it.

Walking Route

It’s usually a good idea to make the course on school property instead of having students walk through public areas, as this can create challenges with permits and city bylaws.

We usually recommend planning the Walk-A-Thon route around the school grounds—this not only helps ensure that students will stay on school property the entire time, but also makes it easier to track their progress if you’re measuring it with laps around the building or athletic field.

Walking Goal

Students can either pledge to walk a certain distance or walk for a certain number of minutes based on pledges collected. It’s best to seek out larger pledges if you’re organizing your event on a per-lap basis, and make donations more granular if you’re having a time-based Walk-A-Thon.

Grade Considerations

Walk-A-Thons are appropriate for students of all ages—but keep in mind that younger students will likely get bored or tired faster than older ones, and factor this into your event planning.

Pledge Collection

Start telling students about the Walk-A-Thon at least two weeks before it starts.

Students should be signed up in your fundraising system so they can gather donations for at least seven days before the fundraiser starts (although it’s still okay to take last-minute sign-ups).

Confirm That Everyone Knows What to Do

On the day the fundraiser starts, be sure to re-explain the rules and encourage students to continue fundraising.

Frequently Asked Questions About Walk-a-Thons

How do I use FutureFund to track my fundraiser’s success?

FutureFund gives you the ability to generate financial reports for fundraising campaigns in just a few clicks. To do this, navigate to Store and click the Reports tab near the top of your screen. Then choose Campaign Summary from the drop-down menu and click Generate Report.

Can volunteers for my Walk-A-Thon sign up automatically through FutureFund?

Yes—FutureFund lets you create a list of the volunteer positions you’ll need to fill, then add a volunteer page to your registration portal so parents can sign up in just a few simple clicks. See the steps for signing up volunteers here.

How does a Walk-A-Thon work?

Participants collect donations for participating in the walk-a-thon. Like other a-thons, walk-a-thons follow a peer-to-peer fundraising model, so you aren’t limited to gathering donations from only the participants.

Each walker asks their family, friends, and coworkers (or parents’ coworkers) to donate, which gives you a huge donor pool compared to other fundraisers. From there, participants walk a set course around your school, town, or city.

How long does a Walk-A-Thon last?

One of the great things about a walk-a-thon is that you can customize it for your school’s needs. If you’re an elementary school, you’ll likely want to make the route shorter, so younger students can participate.

For junior high or high school students, you can look at making the course longer. Walk-a-thons aren’t a race, so no matter how long the course is, participants can take as long as they need to complete the walk.

When should you hold a Walk-A-Thon?

Walk-a-thons are best held outside, so you’ll want to plan yours for a warm time of year. For most schools, this means holding your walk-a-thon in September, May, or June.

What do people need to participate?

That’s the beauty of walk-a-thons; participants don’t need any special skills or equipment to participate. To make your walk-a-thon accessible for students and parents with limited mobility, make sure your course is fully paved, on wide paths, and not too long.

Are Walk-A-Thons good fundraisers?

Walk-a-thons are great fundraisers for everyone involved. They’re easy to plan and easy to participate in. Plus, they help raise awareness for your causes, as the public will see a large group of people walking along your route.

FutureFund is FREE for Schools

Schools that sign up get full access to all of FutureFund’s features—it’s always free and it always will be.

What is a “Thon”?

Thon’s Are Fun & Effective Event-Based Fundraisers

An “a-thon” is a peer-to-peer style fundraiser that involves participating in a certain activity and gathering donations for participating in said activity.

The activity can be almost anything, from reading to running to bowling. No matter what activity you choose, the premise is the same. Participants commit to doing the activity (reading a certain amount of books, running a certain distance) and ask their friends, family, and coworkers to support them.

A-thons work great because you reach a huge donor pool through peer-to-peer fundraising. People are also more likely to donate since participants are “working” in return for the donations.

What Do You Need to Run a Walk-a-Thon?

Power it With FutureFund

FutureFund’s built-in pledge campaigns allow you to easily collect money and keep donations/pledges organized. Since parents cover payment processing fees, 100% of the funds raised go to your school!

FutureFund is easy to use - for everyone

FutureFund makes running a walk-a-thon easy for everyone. Easier for PTAs to run, for students and parents to participate, and for donors to donate.

Accept online donations

Instead of dealing with paper pledge forms and cash and cheques, FutureFund takes the process online. Donors can donate instantly online with their credit or debit cards.

A single tool to power your entire Thon!

FutureFund makes it easy to track how the fundraiser is going. Easily view how much money has been raised and more with detailed reporting.

Using a Walk-a-Thon for Fundraising

Consider the below when organizing your walk-a-thon. Spending a bit of time up front getting organized from an admin and donation perspective will save a lot of time and potential frustration later.

Managing and organizing pledges

Each student will sign up as a participant in the fundraiser. Then, they can collect pledges individually by credit or debit card. You can also accept cash pledges, but be mindful of properly storing and tracking cash you collect.

If you are using FutureFund, you can record these pledges and they will automatically count towards the student’s total and the grand total for the fundraiser.

Donor information and donation management

Before launching your fundraiser, confirm what records you need to collect from donors.

If you are using FutureFund, it’s easy for students to sign up, especially if their information is already in the system. You can bulk sign up entire grades or classes. All donor payments are automatically entered into the system, so you can instantly see each student’s total and the grand total.

Make sure you accept online donations

Fundraising campaigns that accept online donations perform much better than fundraisers that only accept cash or check.

If you are using FutureFund, you can accept payments online. Donors are given a donation link and can pay by credit or debit card. Any cash donations can also be noted in the system to be collected later.

Walk-a-Thon Templates & Resources

Planning Resources

Use these templates to keep your Walk-A-Thon planning on track:

Canva Walk-A-Thon Infographic

Canva Running a Walk-A-Thon Checklist

Sample Walk-A-Thon Rules

Eligibility & Registration

  • All students wishing to participate must be registered by [insert deadline].
  • Parental consent is required for all participants under 18.

Pledge Collection

  • Participants are encouraged to collect pledges based on distance walked or a flat donation.
  • All pledges must be recorded and collected through the official school fundraising platform (e.g., FutureFund).

Safety First

  • Participants must follow the designated Walk-A-Thon route at all times.
  • Crossing streets must be done at marked crosswalks and under volunteer supervision.

Attire & Equipment

  • Comfortable walking shoes and weather-appropriate clothing are required.
  • Participants may bring water bottles, hats, and sunscreen.

Behavior Expectations

  • Respectful and courteous behavior is expected from all participants.
  • No running or rough play is allowed during the Walk-A-Thon.

Check-In & Check-Out

  • Participants must check in at the designated area before starting and check out upon completion.
  • Participants under a certain age must be picked up by a parent or guardian.

Health and Hydration

  • Water stations will be available along the route.
  • If you feel unwell or need assistance, please approach the nearest volunteer or first aid station.

Litter & Environmental Responsibility

  • Please use the provided trash and recycling bins along the route.
  • Help keep our school and community clean.

Photography & Publicity

  • Photographs or videos may be taken for school publicity purposes.
  • Please notify event staff if you do not wish to be photographed.

Completion & Awards

  • There is no minimum distance; participants are encouraged to walk at their own pace.
  • Recognition will be given to top fundraising groups and for other notable achievements.

Parent and Spectator Guidelines

  • Parents and spectators are welcome to encourage walkers along the route while maintaining a safe distance.
  • Please follow all directions from event staff and volunteers.

Cancellation or Postponement

  • In case of severe weather or unforeseen circumstances, the Walk-A-Thon may be postponed or canceled.
  • Information about any changes will be communicated as early as possible.

Or, here’s a Canva template of sample Walk-A-Thon rules. Click “Use template for new design” to create an editable version, then add custom information for your event, change fonts and graphics, and more!

Canva Walk-A-Thon Rules Template

Sample Walk-A-Thon Event Description

Unsure of where to start? Use this sample student and parent messaging to get the ball rolling!

Let’s get moving! On [date], [school name] will be hosting a walk-a-thon to help fundraise for [cause]. You can help by joining our walk!

Parents, each student will be collecting pledges online through FutureFund: [link]. Please spread the word to your family, friends, and coworkers to help make this fundraiser a success!

Set Up Online Pledges With FutureFund

Let parents and supporters donate online with FutureFund’s online pledges. Try it out for free!

Make your donation easily and instantly! Click this [link] to make your donation through secure credit or debit card payment.

If you prefer to donate by cash or check, just donate directly to the student you’re supporting. Thank you for your support!

Sample Walk-A-Thon Email Scripts

Use these Canva email script templates to call out for Walk-A-Thon participants, donations, and to keep your fundraiser top-of-mind. Click “Use template for new design” to create an editable version, then add custom information for your event, change fonts and graphics, and more!

Canva Walk-A-Thon Student Sign-up Email Template

Canva Walk-A-Thon Donor Email Template

Canva Final Week Push Walk-A-Thon Email Template

Design Templates for Promoting Your Walk-A-Thon

Use these Canva templates to help you spread awareness for your Walk-A-Thon on social media and in your community! Click “Use template for new design” to create an editable version, then add custom information for your event, change fonts and graphics, and more!

Canva Walk-A-Thon Template for Instagram Story

Canva Walk-A-Thon Template for Instagram Post

Canva Walk-A-Thon Template for Printable Poster

Example caption: Support [insert school name]’s Walk-A-Thon from [insert date]. Help our school community raise money for [insert cause] by registering to walk as far as you can!

Walk-a-Thon Theme Ideas

Holiday

You can do a walk-a-thon at any time of year and match it with upcoming holidays. In the fall, for example, you can do a turkey trot for Thanksgiving or a zombie walk for Halloween.

Color Walk

You’ve probably heard of a color run, and you can use the same theme for your walk-a-thon. They’re tons of fun and make for great photos once everyone is covered in flour paint.

Bubble Walk

Bubble walks are a fun alternative to color runs. Everyone gets covered in bubbles which are easy to wash away while still making for great photos.

Costumes

Every student has a favorite TV show or movie. Encourage them to come dressed up as their favorite superhero, princess, or another character.

Neon

Really make your fundraiser stand out with neon outfits. It’s fun and easy for families to participate, plus, it keeps everyone safe and highly visible on your walking route.

Food

There’s no better motivator than food. Incorporate food with a potluck or food truck frenzy after the walk.

Trusted By Schools Everywhere

FutureFund is used by over 1,000+ organizations, including:

Over

Raised For Our Schools Since 2014

S. Bucceri

Board Clerk for Salisbury Central School

"FutureFund has been a game changer for our school. We love it because it keeps track of all the purchases for fundraisers and field trips and eliminates the need to handle cash and checks."

Made by PTA volunteers and former school faculty

Heather Wright

PTA Member

"The biggest thing we love about FutureFund is how easy it is to keep our group organized! I love the parents directory and volunteer tools because its so easy to get everyone organized and informed!"