Author: Jen Franklin Kearns, ds-connex team member
The Chattanooga Buddy Walk® was held on Saturday, September 27th, at AT&T Field. Andrea Holmes, Event Coordinator for the Chattanooga Down Syndrome Society Buddy Walk®, has some great tips to share with other walk coordinators.
1. Invite a Nationally Recognized Guest
This year, the CDSS invited Rachel Coleman, star and creator of Signing Time, as a guest of their Buddy Walk® event. As many parents of children with special needs use sign language to help aid in communication, Ms. Coleman’s presence was a perfect addition to their walk. Not only could she provide entertainment and support for those within the Down syndrome community, but Ms. Coleman also widened the appeal of the event for those beyond the CDSS family, therefore raising even more awareness for their programming and ultimately bringing in donations that possibly would not have come in otherwise.
2. Ask Everyone for Sponsorships
When sharing about sponsorships and in-kind donations, Andrea emphatically states, “Ask EVERYONE. If they say no, they say no.” This is terrific advice, and can result in sponsorships that you did not think were possible. Andrea also advises taking your child with Down syndrome along with you when you request support for your event; this helps establish a personal connection between the potential sponsor and your organization. When a perspective supporter can see whom they would be helping, it is much more difficult to say no. Andrea approached not only large companies in Chattanooga, but also the smaller, local companies, where she found that they were willing to donate just as much (if not more!).
3. Utilize Online Fundraising
Andrea refers to their online fundraising as “a blessing” that was “great for all involved”. Online fundraising allows event coordinators and committees to spend more time on gathering sponsorships, promoting the event, and organizing the walk rather than processing paper registrations and payments. Online fundraising also makes it easier for those outside of your immediate area to contribute to your walk.
By incorporating these tips into the Chattanooga walk, Andrea and her committee succeeded in hosting a wonderful Buddy Walk® event. We look forward to seeing an even bigger success at next year’s walk!
The Chattanooga Buddy Walk® fundraising site is still accepting online donations. To donate, please click here.
If you enjoyed this post, please check out the rest of our Event Coordinator Tip series. We feature event tips from around the country in an effort to share ideas and help build our Down syndrome community.