Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Purpose of the Four Events that Make Up the NAMIWalks Program

Walk Managers are often asked - why are there four events that make up the NAMIWalks program? The simple answer is that we want to keep you - our sponsors, team captains, walkers and volunteers - inspired and informed about the program and the great work NAMI is providing in your community. Each event has its own purpose and importance to the NAMIWalk program, so I thought I would breakdown the concept/reason behind the events.

  • Walk Information Meeting - We begin the NAMIWalk season with the Walk Information Meeting. This event is to announce the NAMIWalk date, goals and our plans to make the upcoming Walk FUN! We also discuss how the funds from the previous Walk benefited NAMI’s mission. We invite previous sponsors, team captains, key walkers and volunteers, as well as other people in the community who want to get involved with NAMI and the Walk.
  • Team Captain Kick-Off Luncheon - The Walk Information Meeting is followed by the Team Captain Kick-Off Luncheon. The Luncheon serves as a training session for our registered team captains and those interested in becoming a captain. During this event we do discuss the importance of the Walk program, but we really concentrate on training our team captains on how to form successful teams and providing them the tools to become better coaches and fundraisers.
  • Walk Day – The actual Walk Day is held about 6 to 8 weeks after the Team Captain Kick-Off Luncheon! This is the day we celebrate the hard work that has been done during the Walk season. For months we have been steadily raising funds and spreading awareness about NAMI, so now we get to relax and enjoy entertainment, food and a leisurely walk with family and friends. This is our time to have FUN and reflect on what we’ve accomplished!
  • Post-Walk Awards Celebration - Shortly after Walk Day, we like to host our Post-Walk Awards Celebration. At this event we bring sponsors, team captains, key volunteers and walkers who raised over $250 together to thank them for their support and dedication to the event and to NAMI. We also announce the total amount of funds raised though the event and how we plan to use the funding, as well as recognize our sponsors and top fundraising teams and walkers. This event closes the Walk season, but the new Walk season will be starting soon!

I hope this gives you a better understanding of the NAMIWalks program and why we host four events during the Walk season. As you can see, each event has an important purpose and provides the next step in making the Walk a great success! Here’s a picture of a trio performing at a Team Captain Kick-Off Luncheon (we like to incorporate FUN into all of our events)!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Keeping NAMIWalk Teams Engaged Throughout the Year!

NAMIWalk teams shouldn't get together only once a year to walk in the NAMIWalk; instead they should get together many times during the year! As a group, the team members should host FUN activities and gatherings so team members stay engaged and keep the momentum going. Hosting year-round happenings will help teams to grow and friendships to blossom, so when it comes time to walk in the NAMIWalk, the team will be excited and ready to raise funds and awareness!

Teams can host monthly or bi-monthly gatherings, such as:

Breakfast/brunch/lunch/dinner at someone's home or at a restaurant
A night at the movies
Game/movie night at someone’s home
Attend a sporting event
Visit a museum
Take a bus trip to a FUN destination
Host a happy hour
Attend a theatrical performance or concert
Have a picnic or barbeque
Host a poetry night
Take a walk through a park
Take an exercise class
A trip to the beach or lake
The ideas are endless!

Team captains don’t always have to host each event; instead the team members can take turns. Remember, a team that plays together, not only stays together, but also raises more money and awareness together!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Host a Virtual NAMIWalk!

We understand that some of you, our NAMI supporters, don't live close to an actual NAMIWalk and it can be difficult for you to participate in the event. However, we have now made it possible for you to participate!!! We know how important NAMI is to you and your community and how you want to help raise funds to support our crucial programs and services. Now, you can by becoming a NAMIWalk virtual walker and/or team!

To participate as a virtual walker and/or team, find the closest NAMIWalk to you on the NAMIWalks’ website and simply register for that Walk. After you register you can start asking family, friends, colleagues to join your team and/or to support your virtual walk efforts.  

NAMI affiliates can also participate in the virtual walk and raise funds to benefit their programs and services! To get started, an affiliate leader needs to contact the Walk Manager of the closest NAMIWalks franchise holder and register as an affiliate participant. Once registered as an official affiliate participant, the affiliate can create a team page and have its members join the team and create personal walker pages on the NAMIWalks’ website. Official virtual affiliate participants receive 50% of the funds they collect through the program, while the NAMIWalks franchise holder keeps the remaining 50% to cover administrative fees.

Even though you might not be participating in the Walk like a traditional participant, your dedication to the event is just as important! Like actual walkers and team captains, you’re also spreading awareness about NAMI each time you ask a family and friend to virtually walk on your team or to make a contribution toward your Walk efforts. Plus the money you raise will ensure NAMI has the necessary funds to host the crucial programs and services we provide in your local community.

Although the virtual participants might not be attending the actual NAMIWalk that doesn’t mean you and your team members can’t get together and celebrate your hard work of raising funds and spreading awareness. Virtual teams and walkers can decide to meet at a designated park and walk, host a party or a picnic, etc. Think of something FUN for the group to do to celebrate!!!

Don’t let boundaries hold you back from raising awareness and funds for your NAMI, become a virtual walker today!   

Friday, April 5, 2013

"Out of the Box" Ways to FUNdraise!

We want you to have FUN while FUNdraising for NAMIWalks! Of course you will want to ask your family, friends and colleagues to support you through traditional methods – face-to-face, over the phone or online social networks, sending letters or emails, etc. However, you can also use out of the box FUNdraising tactics to raise money!  

There are plenty of events and small FUNdraisers you can host prior to the Walk and raise money toward your Walk goal! If you’re a team captain, you can round up the troops and host a larger event! Here are some ideas:

  • ·         Host a special brunch and invite friends and family for a small fee.

  • ·         Host a movie night party and pick a certain word, maybe WALK, and every time someone says the word they have to put a dollar in a jar. The money collected in the jar will be donated to NAMIWalks.

  • ·         Host a special exercise class - Zumba, yoga, kick-boxing, etc. - and the fee charged to take the class will be donated to the NAMIWalk.

  • ·         Walkers who are great bakers can hold a raffle for one of their donors to win a cake or a baked good! A walker can decide on an amount, such as $10.00, and every time a friend donates the selected amount to the walker, he/she will give the donor a ticket and enter the person into a raffle. At the end of the Walk season, the walker will pick the winning ticket and prepare a delectable item for the person!

  • ·         Host a yard/garage sale and have the proceeds benefit your Walk efforts.

  • ·         Host a guest bartending night at a local restaurant or establishment and have the tips from the evening benefit NAMIWalks.

  • ·         Host a bake sale or a dessert auction at your office or school.

  • ·         Host a car wash at your office or school!

These are just a few out of the box FUNdraising ideas, as well as some great team building projects! Have FUN with your family, friends and NAMIWalk team mates with coming up with other FUN ways to FUNdraise!