Walk-a-thons are events that usually consist of noncompetitive walks of 1 to 5 miles that raise money for charity. However, there are longer walk-a-thons, such as the Avon Breast Cancer Three-day where participants walk for 60 miles. No matter what the scope of the walk, there are four major ways that a walk-a-thon raises money.
The organizers of a walk-a-thon require all people who participate to register beforehand for two reasons, so that they can sign liability waivers in case they get injured and so they can collect registration fees. These fees, usually between $15 and $40, go toward the logistical expenses of the event, with leftover funds going to the charity. Registrants are invited to donate extra money when they sign up as well.
People who participate in walk-a-thons usually collect pledges from friends, family and coworkers beforehand. They either ask them to donate a certain dollar amount per mile or to just give any amount they would like. They either write down the names and dollar amounts on pledge forms and collect checks or cash to turn in on walk day or give out a link to a special website where people can donate via credit card. The organizers of the walk-a-thon often reward people who collect the most pledges with prizes, like items branded with the organization's logo, hotel stays or gift cards.
The walk-a-thon can also get donations from people who aren't participating in the walk or sponsoring participants. This includes people who happen by the event and decide to give a few dollars on the spur of the moment or employees and volunteers for the organization who want to give. Also, donations can be accepted from people who give through the organization's website without affiliating with a walker.
Walk-a-thon organizers can collect a lot of money by garnering corporate sponsors. Oftentimes, they offer organizations who donate a large amount the opportunity to have their name and logo on the T-shirt given to participants, recognition on signage around the course or a booth in the celebration village at the end of the walk. All of these can be great advertising for the business. If a company donates several thousand dollars, they can sometimes get their names in the title of the walk, such as the Avon walk. Most larger corporations have no problem doing this since they not only get free advertising and positive press, but they may also get a tax deduction for their trouble.