Mango, banana, and chocolate are a few of the flavors of frozen custard that were available this afternoon at my favorite deli. It is great to have a choice. Providing choice appeals to more people and allows variety.
Charity walks also come in multiple flavors to meet different needs and to include people with different interests and abilities. I have divided charity walks into five different types:
An awareness walk is a charity walk that is held for the primary purpose of rising awareness for a cause, not for raising funds.
A good example of this flavor of charity walk was the Walk for Healthcare. Dr. Ogan Gure walked from Chicago, IL to Washington, DC to raise people’s awareness of the problems in the healthcare system. He also used it as an opportunity to collect stories from people who have been personally affected and share those stories with the world.
A walkathon is the flavor of charity walk that is the most common. Individuals and teams meet together and walk for a set distance or time. Funds are raised for a cause through sponsorships, donations raised by the personal fundraising efforts of the walkers, and/or registration fees.
The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life is a good example of a walkathon. This walkathon is a signature fundraising event for the organization. Although fundraising is a primary purpose of the event, there are many additional benefits that come from holding the event as well.
A hybrid walk is basically when a walkathon is combined with other events. Several charity run events are adding a charity walk component to increase participation. But runs are not the only events that are being combined with walks. There are events that include biking, dancing, duck racing, and many other creative combinations.
A good example of this flavor of charity walk is the Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run/Walk. This event started out solely as a charity run event and has expanded to include walkers as a prominent part of the event.
A virtual walk is an extension of another type of charity walk. Some people will not be able to directly participate in a charity walk because it is located too far from the walkers home or the potential participant is not able to physically walk at the event. Virtual walks allow people to participate by participating in their own community or in another way they can physically participate. Walks can be supported by methods including “walking” laps around a pool and walking on treadmills.
A great example of this flavor of charity walk is Food For The Poor’s Walk for Hunger event. They are only able to manage a single charity walk in their local area. However, they recognize that many people outside of their area will want to participate as well. So they are encouraging anyone to sign up and walk in their own community for the cause.
Virtual World Walks
If you have never joined a virtual world, this flavor of charity walk may not make much sense to you. However, every year there are many people sitting at their computers controlling a computer generated avatar that participates in a virtual world charity walk and raises funding for a cause.
An example of a virtual world walk is the National Down Syndrome Society’s Second Life Buddy Walk. Although this walk was held in a virtual world, it still included things like sponsors, auctions and live entertainment. Imagine, it wasn’t that many years ago that this was considered science fiction. Now we are holding charity events using this technology!
Are you aware of other types of charity walks I haven’t captured in these five categories? I would love to know what they are. Do you have a favorite type of charity walk that you enjoy participating in? Please leave a comment and let me know.
Photo credit: Becco Eliacik