Walking with PurposePosted on: February 20, 2018
Google “quotes about vision” and “quotes about purpose” and you surely will be inspired!
These inspirational quotes are often used to challenge ourselves to hold on to a vision. To find purpose. To not give up. To make today better than yesterday. Why should this concept be any different with our walk/run events?
Do you think that the Boston Marathon—one of the world’s best-known racing events—had tens of thousands of runners and an international runner list its first year? Of course not!
It’s taken 120 years of focused vision and faithful promotion—even through some serious setbacks and challenges—to reach its current status of 500,000 spectators and 30,000 runners. A far cry from the 15 participants who ran in the first year!
Consider the Boston Marathon finishers. How many of them spent the months leading up to the race on their couch, eating potato chips, and hoping for a good finishing time? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say a whopping ZERO. They had to work for that finish—and they worked hard!
There’s a good chance your organization has two vital documents that you quote often: A mission statement and a vision statement.
- The mission statement says what you do.
- The vision statement says how you commit to accomplishing that mission.
These guidelines are referred to time after time as you pursue new ventures. This is important so you don’t suffer from “mission drift,” or work to accomplish things that are outside of your vision plan.
Much like your organization’s mission and vision, I challenge you to consider your event’s mission and your vision for achieving the mission. Let’s tie those two things together in a nice little word called “purpose.”
What is the purpose of your event?
Is it a Community Awareness builder?
How often do you visit a church (or other community members) and find that its attendees had no idea your ministry existed? A walk/run can be a great way to build awareness within your community. Of course, the reach of this awareness is directly linked to the extent of your event promotion, so be ready with a plan.
Is it an attempt to engage a younger audience?
A walk/run event has the potential of attracting supporters from all walks of life. It’s important to show that your event is inclusive, not exclusive. Consider promoting it as a walk/run/stroll event. There is no skill level required—in fact, you can just show up and pray! The important thing is that you’re taking a stand and helping to support the cause!
Is it an opportunity for ministry involvement?
A walk requires a number of volunteers. This is a great way for groups and families to volunteer and help to support your ministry. It could be the catalyst for some of your most dedicated, future volunteers.
Is it a Fundraiser?
Let’s not be ashamed of calling fundraising events, fundraising events! Laying out this expectation in your promotion is going to clarify to others what your event is. Nonprofits function because of donations, and fundraising events are how you get financial supporters. To put it candidly: it’s more profitable for your event to have 20 fundraising walkers than it is to have 100 walkers who show up with empty pockets and simply and carry a sign in support of your cause.
Is it a Call to Action?
For many, participating in an event is their first step in supporting your cause. We are not all called to go on crazy weekend camps with teenagers, physically rescue women from human trafficking, perform life-saving ultrasounds for abortion-vulnerable women, or dig wells in Africa, but we all can be called to support these ventures. Often supporting your organization by participating as a Fundraiser in a walk or run is fulfilling a call to action.
What are you hoping to achieve through your event? Prayerfully consider this question, and don’t be afraid to dream!
I challenge you to take time at the start of each event season to revisit your event’s purpose.
Times will get tough. Numbers will drop. When this happens, use it as a wake-up call to revisit your mission and/or refine your vision. Take this opportunity and consult with others who have found success. Glean from them and other lessons learned in order to make next year’s event better than this year’s.
P.S. Don’t forget to continue nurturing the relationship The Day After the Event. Follow up is key!
This article was inspired by our customers and written to encourage your fundraising efforts. Although we work with ministries and events daily, our team members are not Event Consultants. We encourage you to consult with your event consultant, executive team, and/or affiliate organization before making any major changes to your events.