Can you believe it’s Septober? A.K.A fall event season. One of the greatest uncertainties that comes with Septober is… drum-roll please…weather. It could be hot and sunny one day and stormy the next. When planning an event, you need a back up plan in case favorable weather isn’t in the forecast. I drove to an event during a tropical storm, put up tents in a downpour, but one event stands out above the rest: Memory Walk 2007. Here’s the back story. In 2007, the Alzheimer’s Association, NCA chapter merged several walk events into one walk on the National Mall in Washington, DC.
All year we planned and before we knew it walk day was here. And with walk day also came rain. But, it was not just a quick storm. It rained all week. I woke up Saturday morning at 5:00 a.m. with the anticipation of child on Christmas morning excited to see what Santa had brought. I was hoping it wouldn’t be raining, but as I looked out my window I was greeted with raindrops. My next thought was… well it’s the National Mall, maybe there’s good drainage. What I didn’t realize at the time was that Washington, DC is built on a swamp. Instead of the water draining off the grass, it sat there and formed massive puddles.
We did our best to set up the walk site and I just kept thinking to myself… no one is going to show up. Seriously, who wants to get up and go to the mall at 8:00 a.m. on a rainy Saturday morning? But, I was so wrong. A little after 8, walkers started arriving. We stood there together in the rain listening to the opening ceremony and I watched the colors run on the walkers’ hand made signs. It wasn’t the crowd of thousands that I had envisioned, but it was beautiful. Just as the walk was about to start, the rain stopped, the sun came out and a gloomy morning turned into the perfect fall day.
I share this story, with hopes that you have sunny days for your fall events. But if you don’t, no worries. The rain will not deter your participants. Your walker collection envelopes might be a little wet, signs might be ruined and you’ll need to do post walk follow up to collect donations. But, it will be a great day and one to remember.
Here are some ideas for post walk follow up if your event is a rainy one:
- Send out a thank you and event update email immediately.
- Keep your event website active and let participants know they can still raise funds after the event.
- Create a post walk challenge. Challenge your walkers to raise $XX to help you meet your goal. Include a fun prize for those who participate.
- Host Happy Hour. Invite participants who could not make it to your event to your office for an open house or happy hour. Participants can drop off the donations, pick up their t-shirts and other walk day prizes.
- Dine Out. Instead of hosting an event at your office, have it at a local restaurant. This gives your participants a chance to pick up their t-shirts, get together with team members, and celebrate their fundraising success. Don’t forget to ask the restaurant to donate a portion of proceeds to your organization.
- Call your zero dollar walkers to let them know the website is active and they’re still able to make a difference and support cause.