Step-by-step: sponsored walk
A sponsored walk is a great way to raise money without
the need for lots of planning and volunteers. It also promotes
exercise, takes your fundraising into the public eye and can bring
your whole community together. And with a short, flat route
everyone can join in - even those in buggies and
- Decide which day of the week you want to hold your walk and
agree a date, checking that nothing else is going on locally that
may affect numbers. Each local authority is structured
differently, so it is wise to contact yours to see who you may
need to consult.
- Start planning your route - a circular course starting and
finishing at the same place makes it easier for you to sign
everyone in and sell refreshments. Complete a risk assessment,
thinking about trip hazards, crossings, weather (heat/rain),
overcrowding and how marshals can contact one another (especially
if mobile phone reception is poor).
- Publicise your event around the community, in the local press
and on social media. Explain how to enter/raise money, how long the
route is, and a list of what participants might need to bring with
them. Draw up a sponsorship form for entrants to collect/download.
Collate participants' information, including contact details in
case of emergencies or last-minute changes.
- Enlist the help of volunteers. The number of volunteers
required should be determined by the route distance and likely
number of participants. You will need clearly visible marshals
along the route and people to serve refreshments. Appoint qualified
first aiders to attend and provide contact numbers to all
- On the day, be ready to collect entry fees and monies, and hand
out maps if necessary. Can you get a local celebrity to open your
event with a brief speech? A member of your organising team should
remain at base camp to deal with any issues that crop up. Thank
everyone for taking part and seek feedback.
Tips and advice for organising a sponsored walk
- Rewards: Give an incentive to those taking part by offering a
prize for the most sponsorship money raised, or the biggest
achiever. Once walkers return, consider giving them certificates or
- Planning: A well-planned event will anticipate safety issues,
thus avoiding any disasters on the day. If you expect large
numbers, notify relevant authorities beforehand, and ensure that
you have sufficient volunteers/staff to cope. Check that your
public liability insurance cover is up to date.
- Licensing: There are no licensing requirements arising from a
sponsored walk. If you are walking on public highways or public
land, it would be good practice to advise your local authority,
particularly if the walk is going to involve mass crossings of
people. If using roads, you may need to contact the highways
- Boosting profits: Claiming Gift Aid is a pretty straightforward
process and can add an extra 25p to every £1 raised. You don't
need to be a registered charity, you simply need to register with
HMRC. Read our online guide to Gift Aid.
Download a print-friendly PDF version of our
step-by-step guide to organising a sponsored walk.
Sponsored walk success story
David Keys, PTA secretary at Phoenix Integrated Primary
School, Cookstown (180 pupils) told us: 'The PTA of
Phoenix IPS is small and relatively new, so it's important for us
to keep our events simple. Last year we decided to run a sponsored
walk, incorporating a 'fact hunt'. Participants had to answer
questions about landmarks along the route, for example, what date a
building was constructed, or the number on a particular post box.
Participants had two options for raising money - sponsorship or an
entry fee of £10 per family. On entering, every pupil received a
fact hunt pack which included a sponsorship form and map. Just over
100 walkers took part. Only on the day were they given the question
sheet! The route started and finished at school where we provided
tea, coffee and juice, and sold cupcakes donated by parents. The
walk itself went through the centre of town and back - just over a
mile. This was short enough for all ages, and we kept road
crossings to a minimum. We completed a risk assessment prior to the
event, walking the route to check for any potential issues, and we
had PTA members supervising the group on the day (12 volunteers in
total). We contacted the local police station to make them aware
that the event was taking place. On the day, our principal gave a
quick talk before everyone set off, explaining that parents were
expected to supervise their children at all times. The sponsored
walk was very easy to organise, and raised £1,150. Not bad given
that it really only took a morning to scope out the route and set
the questions, and a few hours to prepare all the paperwork!'
The above is intended as guidance only. We
recommend that you contact the relevant organisations with specific
reference to insurance, legal, health and safety and child
protection requirements. Community Inspired Ltd cannot be held
responsible for any decisions or actions taken by a PTA, based on
the guidance provided.
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