How to Make a Dog Walk Successful

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The girl communicates with a stray dog on the street. Pet the dog.

Are you planning a dog walk this spring? How do you transform a ho-hum dog walk attended by a small group of your donors into a much loved annual community tradition which raises hundreds of thousands of dollars?

One of the largest dogs walks in the US is the Furry Scurry sponsored by Denver, Colorado’s Dumb Friends League. Families, friends, and co-workers join for a morning of fun with their best friends to raise money for the 25,000 homeless pets served by the DFL. The DFL has grown this event to 10,000 participants. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of this organization, the fundraising goal this year is $1,000,000.

Take a look at the Furry Scurry website for ideas on their winning strategy. Described as a “two-mile walk and fun run,” this event will be held on May 1st. Organizing and planning start many months ahead.

The Furry Scurry raises money from several revenue streams.

Individuals or teams can register to walk dogs. Individuals pay $50. Teams of 6 or more people pay $45 per person. A personal page for each individual or team shows the fundraising goal and allows for online donations or printed donation forms to mail in checks.

Sponsors include King Soopers grocery store (Krogers) as well as local news media (Denver Post, 9News, KYGO radio station). Loews Hotels, Wells Fargo Bank, and many other well-known names sponsor this event. The news media offers promotions prior to the event and the day of the event.

Cat lovers are welcome to participate. They can carry or wear photos of their cats.

Vendors – The Dumb Friends League asks that 20% of sales be donated to the shelter.

Participants can enjoy a wide variety of activities. On the Event information page, you’ll see:

Enjoy refreshments and demonstrations before, during and after the walk.
Shop our Flealess Market for pet-friendly merchandise and services offered by more than 100 vendors.
Enter our Pet/Person Look-alike, Best Pet Kisser, Best Tail Wagger and Best Trick contests

 

Offer prizes and recognition. Special recognition is given to teams with the most spirit, the highest amount raised, and the largest number of team members present. It is a great event to promote teamwork and positive morale in the workplace. Last year we had over 100 corporate teams register for the event. Prizes are awarded to each level of funds raised, with a T-shirt for those pledging $50. Those T-shirts serve as excellent publicity after the race is over.

Social media and personal web pages for the participants generate interest, spread the word, and provide a place for secure donations.

The Furry Scurry provides personal pages for participants (individuals or teams) so they can encourage friends to sponsor them. Participants state their goals and then spread the word to friends, families, and co-workers to sponsor them with donation pledges. Many companies participate with co-workers walking their dogs and asking for pledge money from within their companies. You’ll see clever stories and photos about family dogs, why they love this event, etc. See Ralff’s page and his fundraising goal of $2500. You can donate online on behalf of Ralff or print out a donation page. The Furry Scurry could have a contest on the best personal page.

Social networking icons allow sharing via email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. This makes it easy for participants to spread the word about the event and ask for donations.

You can use the ‘tell a friend” form to inform others about the event. A well-written message is already formatted to explain the event.

Anyone can download and print out flyers for the event. Animal lovers all over the area can help advertise.

Go to the Furry Scurry’s Facebook page and see the enthusiastic comments and photos.

The website has a “participant center” for participants to log into and get information on the details they need.

A well-organized volunteer sign-up page allows volunteers to sign up using the Eventbrite service. The sign-up form lists all the volunteer opportunities, how many tickets are available (these are all volunteer positions so all show as free). Once they have enough people signed up, that position is shown as sold out. Take a look at the very specific volunteer needs they list, the time, number of people, etc. So often volunteer efforts are not well organized and too many people are assigned for some functions and not enough for others.

Enjoy viewing photos from last year’s event. Everyone, including the dogs, is having a great time. They could add a photo contest to this event.

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