One of the programs I inherited when I arrived at the hospital was our annual "We Care Walk." A better name for it would have been the "We DON'T Care Walk." It never caught on. Not with our donors. Not with our employees. We never had a lot of walkers. We made very little money.
After last year's walk I practically begged my boss to drop it and I had a million reasons why. Walks were overdone. People were sick of them. We didn't have the right cause. We didn't have the right donors. I went on and on. But my boss knew better. He really believed that a walk could work for us and I now know he was right.
When we finally stopped whining about the walk, we got down to the business of creating a walk WE really wanted to work on and OTHERS would want to attend. The result was the South End Shop Walk to Benefit Women's Health Programs at Boston Medical Center. Scheduled for the weekend before Mother's Day, the walk is a traditional walk with a twist: along the route, restaurants and shops and stores will open their doors to walkers and offer special discounts.
The details so far are that walkers will--as usual--have to raise a minimum donation of between $50 and $100 to participate and receive the special discounts. One of the things we love about the shop walk is that it will give us something we always wanted but never had: a positive, win-win partnership with the retailers of Boston's South End.
To date, we've started recruiting businesses and the response has been great. And why wouldn't it be. All they have to do is agree to participate, offer a discount and promote the event with their customers. The reward to them is significant: exposure to 5,000+ hospital employees, 7,000 donors and 1,000 business partners. The result will be hundreds of walkers in the South End on May 6th.
Below is the flier we've been using to solicit businesses. Next steps are to finalize the route, create a web site, pull together sponsorship packages and, most importantly, create brochures and fundraising tools for walkers.