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#Walk4MD: Planning with a Passion

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walkblog-001Hi there, my name is Candisse McCormick, and I have been the Calgary Walk for Muscular Dystrophy organizer from the start.

When Muscular Dystrophy Canada first brought out the idea to have nationwide Walks to raise funds and awareness, I was thrilled!  This idea that turned into a reality has made a huge impact on the lives of so many!

Many people think that planning the Walk event is a lot of work, and sure it is.  However, when you have the passion to do it and see it come to fruition, it’s an empowerment that no words can truly explain.  But I will try…

Going back to our very first Walk in Calgary, I was STRESSED!  I had such high hopes for us to meet our fundraising goal, worried about if enough people were going to show up, wondering if we had all the details covered…

Then registration time came and I was ecstatic to see the lines of the people show up, the money rolling in and being counted;  We WERE DOING IT! It was awe-inspiring to see how much money could be raised by just one person, or a team! Even more impressive is when you finally add it all up and get your grand total! It seems hard to believe, but that’s just proof that when you have the passion for a cause – anything is possible.

Since our first Walk we have continued to grow, to raise more awareness, and have raised even more funds from our efforts!

“How do you do it?” you might ask.  These are my tips and advice from experience, which I hope will help you improve or join your local Walk for Muscular Dystrophy today!

TIPS & TRICKS

walkblog-volunteersWork closely with your local Fundraising and Community Development Coordinator.  They are there to help you with so many things and have a lot of resources to help make your task easier. From connecting with media outlets, to providing printed material and helping with ordering walk swag, they are the go to person!

Start planning early!  The earlier the better, I usually start about 9 – 12 months before.  This forces you to pick a location, date, and time so you have the grounds to build from. Plus, the sooner you set the date the sooner you can book outside services & entertainment so you’re not scrambling because no one is available.

Ask for everything for FREE or at a discount.  There should be no shame in asking services providers for their required services to donate or cut you a deal.  This is a fundraiser, and every dollar we don’t have to spend is money back into the pot of making muscles move!

Get Volunteers! And lots of them.  It takes a small army to make the Walk go off smoothly as possible, and many hands make light work.  From family and friends, to Fire Fighters and school groups, these people are the angels behind the scenes and make the day much easier for everyone.

Use Social Media. Social media is the way of now.  From calling for volunteers to raising funds to registering participants, social media is the best way to engage a wide audience – and it’s FREE! It is also a great way to give live updates about Walk day, and remember to use #Walk4MD.  People can still donate, it might be a friendly reminder, and it just gets us out there in people’s faces – which is raising awareness.

walkblog-prize winnersPrizes & Recognition.  The Walk already offers some great incentive prizes, but I like to do some right during the Walk.  We’ve received many donated items and given them away as a door prizes where everyone there got a ticket, and have given larger items away to individuals or teams who raised the most money.  Ideas are endless here, and when people feel special and acknowledged for their efforts, they’re more likely to do it again next year!

Family Fun Time! Our event is great for all ages, so make sure that if you’re having other activities that there is something for everyone.  Parks, face painting, bouncy castles – the kids love this!  Coffee truck, good music, and appropriate seating – adults appreciate this!

Make it ACCESSIBLE.  It may seem crazy for me to even mention this, but it’s not.  What may seem accessible to you or your group is not always the case for others.  I highly recommend paved walk ways and a gathering area that is as smooth as possible.  Have volunteers available at any hills or “hazard zones” on your walk path – the firemen are great for this!  Always keep in mind that we have wheelchairs, strollers, walkers, canes, etc and everyone’s abilities are different, and no one should feel left out.

Never lose your PASSION. Planning a walk is something that you take on because you want to make a difference, you want to help others, and you have a passion.  No matter your reason, remember to let that passion drive you and never lose sight of it.  If you have passion, you’ll be just fine!

Happy planning!

For more information on the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy and how to get involved please click here.

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