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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration


Last Updated: 6/22/2012

SAMHSA’s Resource Center to Promote Acceptance,
Dignity and Social Inclusion Associated with
Mental Health (ADS Center)

 

IX. Team Captains' Kickoff Luncheon

  • Plan to host the kickoff luncheon approximately 8 weeks prior to the walk date.

Things To Do for the Kickoff Luncheon

  • Build a large mailing list of potential supporters to invite to the luncheon.
  • Order invitations at least 6 weeks prior to the date of the event.
  • Mail formal invitations within 1 week of the initial letter of invitation, or approximately 3.5-4 weeks prior to the event.
  • Maintain a luncheon RSVP tracking report to keep track of responses.
  • Prior to the luncheon, walk coordinators should know the total number of potential teams that have responded for the luncheon as well as the total number of people who will be representing each of those teams.
  • Place printing orders for walker registration brochures, posters, and all other promotional materials approximately 3 to 4 weeks prior to the date of the luncheon. NEVER HOLD A KICKOFF WITHOUT HAVING TEAM CAPTAIN FOLDERS, WALKER BROCHURES, AND EVENT POSTERS TO DISTRIBUTE TO THE GUESTS.
  • Keep a good record of those people who respond that they can't make the luncheon but indicate that they want to receive more information about the walk in the mail.
  • Make as many followup calls as possible to your best potential supporters. This includes:
    • Members of your board of directors.
    • Walk committee members.
    • All confirmed supporters.
    • All persons involved with your organization.
  • Send a pre-kickoff luncheon e-mail to the confirmed and potential supporters reminding them how important the luncheon is to the success of the walk. Encourage them to bring as many guests as possible to the event.
  • Assemble your team captains' folders for the luncheon at least 1 week before the kickoff.
  • Mail the folders to supporters who cannot attend the luncheon.
  • Either just before or just after the kickoff, send a team building starter kit to everyone who requests information but cannot attend the luncheon. The kits should include:
    • Team captain folder.
    • 5-10 walker registration brochures.
    • A walk poster.
    • A "Look who's walking on our team" poster.
    • A personalized cover letter.
  • If possible, make a followup call to discuss the walk.
  • Prepare an agenda for the luncheon using the sample provided.
  • Update your walk supporters e-mail and mailing list with the names of all the new supporters you get from the kickoff luncheon and begin sending them regular event update reports (via e-mail and regular mail) between the time of the kickoff and the day of the walk.
  • The business team chair should mail a special business invitation to their target audience approximately 4.5-5 weeks before the actual date of the luncheon, and the formal invitation should be mailed approximately 1 week later.
  • The target audience for the business invitation includes top level business leaders in your community.

After the Kickoff Luncheon

Send a "Sorry you couldn't join us at the kickoff luncheon" letter.

  • Include a walk folder from the kickoff luncheon and all materials (5 sponsor brochures, posters, etc.) in the order they are referred to in the letter. For example, place the team information form in the front, right pocket of the folder. This will make it easy to refer to for the person getting the folder.
  • Whenever possible and appropriate, use the name of your walk general chair (or volunteer walk coordinator).
  • Send the letter to anyone who has expressed an interest in the walk but who was not at the kickoff luncheon.
  • Send the letter to anyone you think should have been at the luncheon, but wasn't there and has not committed to supporting the event.
  • This may include board members, volunteers, mental health agencies, or organizations or professionals who you think really should be involved with the walk but haven't responded yet.
  • Often times these people/organizations do not realize how important and well-organized the event is until they actually see the materials that you have put together. Don't assume that because they haven't responded to a sponsorship request proposal or an invitation to the kickoff luncheon that they will not support the walk.
  • Your goal is to make these people/organizations realize that they NEED to support the walk because of the nature of their business or because of their relationship with mental health issues. Your materials and success to date are the most effective tools to recruit new teams and supporters for the walk.
  • Followup is crucial; make a followup call to everyone you send a folder to. This will significantly increase the positive response rate you will get for this mailing.

Send a "Thanks for coming to the walk kickoff luncheon" letter to everyone who attended the event.

  • The purpose of the letter is to keep the walk at the top of everyone's consciousness and to succinctly review what it is you are asking them to do as team captains.
  • Include a team information form with this letter just in case they didn't submit it at the luncheon they forget to complete it and send it in after the luncheon.
  • Include the walk materials order form for people to reorder materials. It is not uncommon for team captains to run out of materials between the time of the kickoff and the day of the walk.
  • Continue to communicate with your team captains and supporters over the weeks through letter should be the first in what should be a continuing series of written, verbal, and face-to-face communications.
  • Make sure that you have a comprehensive database (name, mailing address, e-mail address, team name, phone and fax numbers, and team goals) of all of your team captains. This will enable you to mail "progress reports" on the status of the event to everyone between the time of the kickoff and the day of the walk.
  • Develop a broadcast e-mail for all of your team captains and walk supporters (for those you e-mail addresses of) so that you can communicate with them quickly and efficiently about the walk.
  • Speak with each of your team captains by phone within 2-3 weeks of the kickoff luncheon. Confirm their support or delete them from your lists if they inform you that they will not be participating this year. The main goal is to try to get to "know" your teams and team captains through these calls. Develop a mailing (e-mail or regular) schedule for the walk update reports that you plan to send during the weeks leading up to the walk. These reports should be sent from your general walk chair, family team chair, or another well-respected volunteer. Walk update reports usually include the information listed below to keep everyone informed, involved, and motivated about the walk:
    • Share stories about the good things team are doing for the walk. Focus on the success that your team captains and supporters are experiencing with teambuilding efforts.
    • Highlight things that you WANT teams and team captains to do (order team T-shirts, collect and send in walker registration cards, ensure their walkers know what team they are on, gather more walkers.)
    • Recognize cash sponsors and donors of goods and services.
    • Review walk day registration procedures and day of logistics info (entertainment, food, parking, etc.).
    • Develop a master list of teams and update the number of registered walkers for each team as the registrations are received. Include this list with the progress reports that you send the team captains in a format such as this:

Date of Report:

Team

Team Captain

Number of Registered Walkers

  • Do as many walk-related presentations as possible to potential supporters during the weeks leading up to the walk.

Planning Checklist

  • Build a mailing list of potential supporters to invite to the luncheon.
  • Order invitations for luncheon at least 6 weeks prior to date of the event.
  • Mail formal invitations within 1 week of the initial letter of invitation, or approximately 3.5-4 weeks prior to the event.
  • Maintain a luncheon RSVP tracking report to keep track of responses. The two key numbers any staff person responsible for coordinating a walk should always know prior to a kickoff are the total number of potential teams that are attending the luncheon and the total number of people who will be representing each of those teams.
  • Place printing orders for walker registration brochures, posters, and all other promotional materials approximately 3-4 weeks prior to the date of the kickoff. NEVER HOLD A KICKOFF WITHOUT HAVING TEAM CAPTAIN FOLDERS, WALKER BROCHURES AND EVENT POSTERS THERE TO DISTRIBUTE TO THE GUESTS.
  • Keep a good record of those people who cannot attend the luncheon but want to receive more information about the walk.
  • Make as many followup calls as possible to your best potential supporters. This includes members of your board of directors, walk committee members, and all confirmed supporters.
  • Send a pre-kickoff luncheon e-mail to all your confirmed and potential supporters reminding them how important the luncheon is to the success of the walk. Encourage them to attend and to bring as many guests as possible to the event.
  • Assemble your team captain folders for the luncheon (and to mail to supporters who can't attend the luncheon) at least 1 week before the date of the kickoff.
  • Just before or just after the kickoff, send a team building starter kit (team captain folder, 5-10 walker registration brochures, a walk poster, and a "Look Who's Walking on Our Team" poster) to everyone who can't attend the luncheon but wants walk information. Include a personalized cover letter and, if possible, make a follow-up call to discuss the walk.
  • Prepare an agenda for the luncheon.
  • Update your walk supporters' e-mail and mailing lists with the names you get from the kickoff luncheon and begin sending them regular event update reports (via e-mail and regular mail) between the time of the kickoff and the day of the walk.

Sample—"Thanks for Coming" Letter

<<Insert Date>>

Name
Address
City, State Zip

Dear <<Insert Name>>:

Thank you for attending our inaugural <<Insert sponsoring organization's name>> kickoff luncheon on <<insert date>>. As you could see, we had a great turnout and people are clearly excited. We have no doubt that with the support of friends like you, the walk will be a great awareness-raising success!

We want you to know that we (the walk coordinator and the walk planning committee) are available to answer any questions and to provide you whatever support you may need to organize your team. We will send our supporters and team captains regular progress reports on the walk over the coming weeks. We would love to include any good teambuilding success stories or ideas that you may have in these reports. Please share your good news, ideas, and recommendations with us so we can in turn share them with everyone else!

If you are a team captain (or helping a team captain) here's a summary of what we are asking you to do:

  • Select a name for your team and complete and return a Team Information Form for your team. If you did not complete and turn in a Team Information Form at the kickoff, another copy is enclosed.
  • Be the first walker to sign up for your team by completing the walker registration form in your walker commitment brochure.
  • Collect registration forms from all your walkers and send them into the walkathon office on a regular basis. Use the "Look Who's Walking on Our Team" poster to keep track of all your walkers.
  • Design and order team T-shirts for your walkers. (Remember we can help you with this. Just call us!)

For the past 20 years, dozens of non-profits have used walkathons to recruit countless volunteers and raise tremendous amounts of public awareness for their causes. Now it's our turn! Together, we can make our walkathon as successful as any of those other walk programs. Together, we can make a real difference in the fight for those with mental illness. Together we are STRONG and will be HEARD!

Sincerely,

Name
Title

Sample—"Sorry You Couldn't Attend" Letter

<<Insert Date>>

Name
Address
City,State Zip

Dear <<Insert Name

We are sorry that you were not able to join us at the kickoff luncheon for the inaugural <<Insert name of sponsoring organization>> walkathon on <<Insert luncheon date>>. We had a great event with more than <<Insert number>> people in attendance, but your presence was definitely missed!

Enclosed you will find a folder containing the walkathon material that we reviewed at the luncheon. It is our hope that you will consider supporting the walk by using the material in this folder to organize a team of family members, friends, and business associates. The <<insert distance>> walk will be held on <<insert date>> at <<insert location>>. If you are interested in organizing a team for the walk, or would just like more information, please complete and return the team information form that is in the front of the right-hand pocket of this folder.

In addition to the team information form, you will find the following materials in this folder:

  • Information on our organization and mental health issues
  • Five walker sponsor brochures that you and the walkers that you recruit for your team can use to sign up for the walk
  • A packet of information on how to organize a community or business-based team to take part in the walk
  • A packet of information on how a company can become a corporate sponsor of the walk
  • A "Look Who's Walking on Our Team!" poster that you can use to keep track of your walkers
  • An 11" x 17" walk poster

Please consider this folder your "starter kit" for the walk and don't hesitate to contact (name of person in charge of walk) at the walkathon office (phone number) if you have any questions about the walk or need more materials.

The response we have received for the walk has been truly fantastic and all indications are that it is going to be a great success at increasing public awareness of mental health. We sincerely hope that you can be a part of this historic event.

Best wishes,

Name
Title

Sample-Kickoff Luncheon Invitation

<<Insert Date>>

Name
Title
Company
Address
City, State Zip

Dear <<Insert Name>>:

I am writing to invite you to join me and my colleagues at <<insert name of business team chair's company>> in supporting the inaugural <<insert area of walk and sponsoring organization's name>> walkathon. The <<insert distance>> walk will be held on <<insert day and date>> at <<insert location>>.

Here are three good reasons why I think you should join me in getting your company and employees involved with this walkathon:

Mental illness is one of America's most serious public health problems. Mental illness costs employers tens of billions of dollars annually in lost employee productivity and health care expenses.

Participating in the walkathon is easy and fun. All you have to do is appoint someone to serve as your team captain and we'll supply all the direction, support, and materials needed to organize a team of employees to take part in the walk.

Participating in the walk is good employee and community relations. It shows your employees and the general public that you are concerned about health issues that affect our community. Participation in the walk is also a great way to develop a sense of team spirit and camaraderie among your employees.

Here's how you can get involved with the walk-you, or any representatives that you designate, can join me and our friends and supporters at a special team captains' kickoff luncheon on <<insert day and date of kickoff>> at <<insert location of kickoff>> from <<insert time>>. This luncheon is free for all our guests <<acknowledge kickoff luncheon sponsor here if you have one>>, and we will provide all our supporters with the instructions and materials that they will need to organize a walk team.

You will receive a formal invitation to this kickoff luncheon in about 1 week. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions regarding this letter. I hope to see you or your designated representatives at the <<insert kickoff luncheon site>> on <<insert date>>!

Sincerely,

Name
Walk Team Chair

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