Skip Navigation

Take steps-literally-for a noble cause

By Darby Jones

SUMMARY: Are you looking for a fun way to support your outreach or mission program? Starting a 5k or 10k walk is an exciting event that draws the community in while lifting up a noble cause. They are especially popular among young adults, families, Church Women United, service organizations, scouts, high school and college students. So choose a local, national or global beneficiary to support and get going.

If you’re looking to do your walk in the spring, then it’s a good idea to start planning in the fall. Here are some steps to follow as you organize your event:

Start a team.

  • Include five or more people who represent community groups likely to participate in the walk.
  • Appoint a treasurer.
  • Meet once or twice monthly before the walk to plan.

Schedule dates.

  • Set a date and time for the walk, and confirm start/end points. It might be a good idea to set a “rain date” and publicize it as well.
  • Schedule a meeting with recruiters.
  • Schedule an evaluation meeting after the walk date.

Set goals for recruiters! Imagine if:

  • 1 recruitment leader can recruit;
  • 5 churches/organizations who can recruit;
  • 10 walkers who raise an average of $100 each, resulting in;
  • $5,000 for your beneficiaries!

Create walk materials.

  • Develop donation sheets for recruiters to give to their team. If possible, set up an online donation Web site that walkers can refer family and friends.
  • Create informational fliers to promote the event and its beneficiaries.
  • Provide public-service announcements for the Web, newspapers and other media.
  • Distribute business- and individual-sponsorship forms and e-mails.

Recruit participants.

  • Find passionate recruiters in your church, other congregations and community groups.
  • Meet with recruiters to discuss strategies and distribute materials.
  • Invite community-service and other groups to walk.

Address safety issues.

  • What route will you use for the walk? You may want to include a shorter route for persons who cannot manage a longer route and for families with small children.
  • Secure special permits, proof of insurance and other required documents.

Prepare for day-of-walk celebration.

  • Plan a brief program before and after the walk to educate and highlight the community’s efforts.
  • Set up an efficient registration process.
  • Involve local media.
  • Invite local charity groups to display information.
  • Encourage church and community groups to create banners.

Garner business sponsors.

  • Ask them to underwrite the cost of T-shirts, refreshments, publicity and promotional items.
  • Invite them to sponsor community groups and teams for the walk.

Create a festive atmosphere.

  • Invite clowns, musicians and other performers to kickoff the walk.
  • Decorate your walk start/finish area with banners, educational displays and balloons.

History of the CROP Hunger Walk

  • Each year, some 2,000 communities across the United States combat hunger and poverty via CROP Hunger Walks. CROP stands for Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty, and is sponsored by Church World Service (CWS). The United Methodist Church is a member denomination of CWS and partners with them to raise awareness and funds for both local and international relief and development.
  • Funds raised go to disaster relief and refugee assistance in some 80 countries. Help can come in the form of food, blankets, seeds, tools, water systems, technical training and microenterprise loans. In addition, each CROP Hunger Walk can choose to return up to 25 percent of the funds it raises to local hunger-fighting programs.
  •  Find a CROP Hunger Walk near you and get your church involved. You also can call your CWS/CROP Regional Office, toll free (888) CWS-CROP—(888) 297-2767. If your area does not have a CROP Hunger Walk, your CWS/CROP Regional Office has all the expertise and free promotional materials to help you take the first steps.