As any nonprofit professional will know, it isn’t easy to plan a run/walk event.

There are hundreds of details to check off your list before, during, and after race day. But if you start off on the right foot, you’ll be empowered to remain stress-free and confident as the event approaches.

1. Start with a Plan

This may seem obvious, but establishing an actionable plan isn’t just about creating a to-do list.

Start by asking yourself: why is your organization hosting a run/walk event? You should be able to answer this question with a concrete goal that goes beyond the money you want to raise.

Why? Now that you have a tangible goal in mind, you can build out a communication strategy that delivers results. While it’s true that you want to raise $20,000 at your next event, it’s much more compelling for your supporters to join a mission to build a school. Make the mission your goal and the focus of your email marketing campaigns. People will be compelled to get involved when they understand what their time and money contributes to your mission.

2. Build a Power List

A little momentum at the beginning of a campaign can go a long way.

Build a list of supporters you know will participate in, and be excited about, your event. For example, you might segment supporters by how many times they’ve participated in your event in the past and if they’ve added a donation on top of a registration fee.

Reach out to these people before you fully launch your marketing efforts, so your core audience sees and feels the excitement for race day!

Why? These supporters are:

  • Likely to participate in your event this year.
  • Truly enthusiastic about your cause and mission.
  • Unabashed to encourage family and friends to register.

3. Make Some Phone Calls

You’ll certainly want to segment your supporters so you can send them targeted email campaigns, but make sure you’re personally reaching out to your power list.

Give them a call. Thank them for their support and remind them how critical this event is to your mission (remember the goal we talked about in tip #1?). Then, ask them to be a part of your special team of run/walk participants!

Why? Your power list’s support will be critical for you to establish momentum, bring on new registrants, and set the tone for your marketing efforts. A phone call demonstrates your organization’s enthusiasm and appreciation for their support and gets them excited to spread the word.

4. Leverage Technology

Technology has made charity events more efficient, organized, and successful. The modern run/walk isn’t just about raising money, it’s also about being a fun, interactive, and impactful experience for participants and nonprofits alike. From your email marketing software to your event management software, choose technology that works for you to maximize results.

Why? Technology that simplifies event logistics — payment, email updates that go to the right participants, t-shirt sizes — can help reduce stress and anxiety on race day.

The right tools also help you create more compelling messages and raise more money. You can use fundraising software to enable registrants to fundraise for your cause weeks before they hit the pavement. That means more dollars raised per participant and more exposure for your cause.

5. Ask for Help

This sounds like the simplest tip, but it might be the most difficult to execute. Recruit volunteers, reach out to your power supporters, and get your nonprofit’s board involved early in the planning process. That way, you won’t feel rushed or panicked as you approach race day without the right staff.

Even the most successful professionals in the world have had to ask for help.

Why? Events are difficult to pull off! When you ask for help, you’re creating opportunities for partnerships that can help drive your successes. You’ll feel more confident that you have a team behind you both throughout the planning process and during the event.

Hosting a run/walk event doesn’t have to be stressful. Remember to start simple. Set a compelling, tangible goal, build an actionable plan, ask for help, and leverage technology. You’ll make a big impact on your mission.

For more help on planning your entire event, from start to finish, download this comprehensive guide from Classy.