Hike-a-Thon: Putting the Fun in Fundraising
Whether you're already signed up or are just getting going, we've pulled together a few tips from Hike-a-Thon veterans to help you win prizes and make your month a success for trails. What's your Hike-a-Thon strategy?
In the first three days of Hike-a-Thon, hikers have gotten up at the crack of dawn and tackled hikes across the state. They've also raised thousands of dollars for trails! Not signed up to hike yet? It's still not too late to register and join the hiking bonanza now. Or, you can participate by sponsoring a hiker or hiking team.
Whether you're already signed up or are just getting going, we've pulled together a few tips from Hike-a-Thon veterans to help you win prizes and make your month a success for trails.
Try these fundraising tips
- Personalize your Hike-a-Thon. Set a goal or take up a theme. Some of this year's Hike-a-Thoners are taking on epic journeys, including the Wonderland Trail and the Camino de Santiago (in Spain). Others have organized their hikes around a theme, like Sasquatch or waterfall hikes. Also, don't forget to personalize your Hike-a-Thon page with a photo or stories.
- Get silly. Reward your would-be sponsors with a smile. Giving to trails feels good. Laughing while you do it feels better. Ask for pledges in a song or take some video tips from Julie Cassata, who shot this incredible film dancing her way along the Pacific Crest Trail before she became a WTA staffer.
- Ask your friends and family. People love to give to causes they love; all you have to do is ask. Send your personalized Hike-a-Thon page to them. Write a letter, call, email or post on Facebook. Give friends and family an opportunity to sponsor you, and you'll be surprised who gets on board.
- Take your Hike-a-Thon to work. Stick a "Sponsor Me" sign on your desk or cubicle wall. If your company has a matching program, make sure your coworkers know this qualifies. Some companies, like Microsoft, may even count your hiking time as “volunteer” time eligible for a matching gift.
- Share your ongoing adventures. Update your community (of sponsors and non-sponsors alike) of your progress. Share your miles progress (and fun photos) via email or on your social networks. File trip reports and post them to your Facebook page. Hikers are always looking for hiking recommendations, so your hike-like-crazy August will give them good ideas.
- Promote what you're doing while you hike. Wear your shirt, put a stack of 'Sponsor Me' cards in your pocket. Deck out your backpack or dog with Hike-a-Thon gear, and your fellow hikers will ask what it's all about. Tell them it's about the trails and how they can help!
- Treats at the trailhead. Bake (or buy) some treats, and hand them out to hikers at your favorite trailhead. With every treat comes the chance to talk about your Hike-a-Thon and how they can help.
- Look for other creative ways to reach your goal. Ask your carpool for pledges instead of gas money. Next time you get coffee with friends, pick up the tab and ask them to “pledge” their share.
- Say "Thank you." Whether it's a card, a photo or a singing telegram, thanking your sponsors will make their contributions feel appreciated and ensure them as your sponsors again next year.
- Perhaps most importantly, have fun. After all, you're hiking! What could be better than that?
Share your tips
What works for you? Let us know how you sign up sponsors and spread the word.