5 Tips for Hosting a Charity Hike

You have the passion, dream, and drive to help a cause that is close to your heart. There are a multitude of ways to help fundraise for this cause, however many may seem daunting or a hefty time investment. Instead of scouring the internet for different ways to make your fundraising dreams come true, why not determine an outlet that wouldn’t seem like work to you. Why not host a charity hike?

You love nature and the great outdoors. You find yourself hiking almost every weekend. Combining your favorite activity with your favorite charity is the perfect solution to your challenge. Charity hikes are a great way to expose a worthy cause to a new demographic while also raising funds participating in a healthy activity. They bolster excitement, can raise a significant amount of funds, and encourage an active lifestyle. With so much good that can be achieved through a single event, it’s time to get to planning. The following five tips will not only help you plan your charity hike event, but also ensure it is a success.

1. Utilize Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

The most seamless way to encourage multiple people to donate is using an online donation platform that allows for peer-to-peer fundraising. Peer-to-peer fundraising allows for you to write a personal story on why the cause is important to you, allows multiple people to make donations to your campaign, gives you the option to thank your donors, and shows a progress bar to set a visual goal. You can share your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign across your social media accounts and email your personal network to encourage giving. With the right software, a beautifully designed peer-to-peer fundraising page can be created in 30 minutes or less.

2. Select the Right Location

It is important to consider a number of factors when determining where to host your hike including:

  • Difficulty

    • The hike should be easy enough for inexperienced hikers to complete. Look for trails that have beautiful views, little elevation gain, and do not have dangerous obstacles such as rock scrambling or creek crossings.
  • Accessibility

    • Your hiking destination of choice should be in near proximity to the city where you will be hosting the event. To ensure a greater turnout, choose a hike that is central and has plenty of parking.
  • Distance

    • Your hike should be short enough in length that it doesn’t deter beginner hikers from participating but should also be long enough that it makes the event worth it. Hikes between 2-3 miles will likely hit that sweet spot.
  • Weather

    • Keep in mind the weather in the area where you choose your hike. For example, if this hike is at the top of a mountain that typically experiences colder temperatures and more frequent rainstorms, you will want to select another location.

3. Communicate the Benefit

People will want to know how their donation contributes to the cause they are supporting. This should be clearly communicated on your peer-to-peer fundraising page, in emails, and even on social media. A good way to communicate this is to show the impact based on different levels of giving. For example, perhaps you are supporting a local orphanage. Maybe a $10 donation will provide an orphan with enough food for a week. Maybe $45 will buy them enough clothes to last all year. Showcase the tiered impact for different levels of giving in hopes this will encourage higher donations and to better communicate how giving truly impacts your cause.

4. Find Event Sponsors

Most events have a cost associated with it. A charity hike is no different. You can offset these costs with the help of event sponsorships. Anyone and everyone can be an event sponsor. The best places to start looking are your current employer, local outdoor/recreation companies, your professional network, and friends’ employers.

Nothing motivates people more than food. Another great place to look for sponsorships are local restaurants and grocery stores who often build charitable giving into their budgets each year. They can provide your hikers with water stations and healthy snacks to eat during the race.

5. AssemblHosting a Charity Hikee a Team

Hosting a charity hike isn’t a solo effort. Even smaller-scale events require a team. It is essential to form a group at the planning stage of your event to allocate areas of responsibility. Additional help can be brought in for smaller roles that require less planning. These roles are easier to fill because it reduces the amount of time commitment needed.

You will need a group of volunteers who will assist you in setting up, and preparing for the event. At the event itself you will also need volunteers to help greet participants, check them in, handle the water stations, provide guidance along the route, congratulate hikers at the finish, and hand out goodie bags. Additionally, you will need passionate advocates to help you begin promoting your event once all the planning is completed.

Now that you’re set up for success, let’s get to planning! Start your planning process well in advance (at least 3 months out) and stick to a strict timeline to ensure your first charity hike is a hit. Keep in mind: preparation is the hardest part but once you’ve laid the foundation, the rest is rewarding.