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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Department of Health and Human Services
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)


II. Walk Position Descriptions

Walk Coordinator

Reports to: Sponsoring Organization's President or Designee
Works With: Walk Chair(s) and Walk Committee Members

Major Responsibilities

  • Coordinates the selection of the date, day, location, time, and distance of walk.
  • Leads effort to recruit quality team chairs for the walk.
  • Coordinates the recruitment of a volunteer planning committee for the walk.
  • Coordinates, directs, and supports the activities of the walk committee.
  • Oversees the coordination of all aspects of the implementation of the walkathon program, including:
    • Recruiting team chairs.
    • Organizing and managing a volunteer planning committee.
    • Coordinating all planning committee meetings and activities.
    • Recruiting, training, and maintaining a database for all team captains.
    • Ordering all print materials for the walk.
    • Recruiting local cash and in-kind sponsors for the walk.
    • Developing a timeline of activities for the walk.
    • Coordinating the team captains' kickoff luncheon that will be held approximately 8 weeks prior to the date of the walk.
    • Coordinating all mailings to potential and confirmed walk supporters and team captains prior to the walk.
    • All public relations relating to the walk.
    • Developing community-, organization-, and business-based walk teams after the kickoff luncheon (i.e., helping team captains recruit and track walkers for their teams).
    • Maintaining complete walk records, specifically the teams and walkers that participate in it.
    • Producing regular pre-walk progress report mailings to team captains between the day of the kickoff luncheon and the day of the walk.
    • Coordination of all walk day activities.
  • Completes a comprehensive post-walk income/expense report within 10 weeks of the walk.
  • Handles all other walk-related duties as assigned by the sponsoring organization's president.

Task Assignments During
6- to 9-Month Period

Estimated Hours to Complete

Plan, facilitate, and attend walk committee planning meetings


Coordinate and communicate with walk team captains


Plan and attend kickoff luncheon


Coordinate the recruitment of sponsors and in-kind donations


Attend meetings with potential supporters


Plan, coordinate volunteers, and attend walk event


Total Time Required

540 Hours

General Walk Team Chairperson

WORKS WITH: Walk Coordinator and Members of the Walk Committee

Major Responsibilities

  • Organizes a team of 20 or more walkers made up of family members and friends to take part in the event. Provide these walkers with team T-shirts.
  • Allows letters encouraging other communities to organize a team of walkers to be sent in his/her name.
  • Allows letters of invitation to an initial informational meeting to be sent to potential supporters in his/her name.
  • Allows letters of invitation to the kickoff luncheon to be sent to potential supporters using the sponsoring organization's name.
  • Attends the kickoff luncheon and speaks about why he/she is supporting the walk and the work being done by the sponsoring organization.
  • Joins other volunteers in giving presentations on the walk to potential supporters of the event.
  • Allows pre- and post-kickoff correspondence to be sent to team captains and other walk supporters in his/her name.
  • Participates in the walk as a leading member of his/her community team.

Task Assignments During
6- to 9-Month Period

Estimated Hours to Complete

Attend walk committee planning meetings


Organize your own walk team


Attend kickoff luncheon


Correspond with your team


Attend meetings with potential supporters


Participate in the walk


Total Time Required

35 Hours

Finding a Walk Team Chair

The Walk Team Chair Must:

  • Lead by example in terms of personal teambuilding efforts.
  • Sponsor the "best team" (in terms of the number of walkers) participating in the walk. The walk team chair should be someone who is comfortable with minimum team goal of 25 walkers.
  • Be passionate about the walk and have a personal vested interest. This helps in recruiting people to participate as members of their team.
  • Commit him/herself to a letter writing/e-mailing campaign in support of the walk. He/she should encourage all team members to do the same.

Who Should Be Selected as a Walk Team Chair?

  • The person has been personally touched in some way by mental illness and is strongly committed to the goals of the walkathon.
  • The person may have a large family who will support his/her teambuilding efforts as a walk team chair.
  • The person believes in the walkathon concept and is committed to leading by example in the teambuilding area.
  • The person has a compelling personal story and communicates it effectively.
  • The walk team chair does not necessarily have to be the person who is known by the most people or who has the most "contacts" in the community (although having a person or family who will have a good team and is well-known and respected in the community is a good thing)

Sample—Walk Committee Meeting Agenda

<<Meeting Date>>

Walk Planning Committee Meeting

  1. Welcome (staff person and/or walk chair)
    • Committee List
  2. Sponsorship
    • Goals and timeframe
    • Sponsors recruited to date
    • Status of outstanding requests
    • Targeting of new prospects
    • Available materials
  3. Walk Teams
    • Team building
    • Goals
    • Confirmed and potential community teams
    • Confirmed and potential business and organization teams
    • Recruitment of new teams
      • Consumers and families
      • Mental health agencies and organizations
      • Mental health professionals
      • Hospitals and clinics
      • Other groups
  4. Kickoff Luncheon
    • Overview of event and goals for it
    • Present plans for it (date, time, and location)
    • Planning timeline for it (invitation process and printing of materials)
    • Tentative agenda for luncheon
  5. Publicity
    • Targeting and recruiting media sponsors and celebrity walk chairs
    • Public service announcements during weeks leading up to walk
    • Having celebrity chairs appear at kickoff luncheon and walk
  6. Walk Day Logistics
    • Overview of the day and how the walk site and route will be set up
    • Volunteer needs and recruitment (walker check-in tables, T-shirt distribution, refreshment area, etc.)
    • Food and refreshment needs
    • Entertainment
    • Stage, sound system, music
    • Balloons, signs, and more
    • Equipment needs (tables, chairs, portable toilets)
  7. General Discussion
  8. Next meeting

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This Web site was developed under contract with the Office of Consumer Affairs in SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services. The views, opinions, and content provided on this Web site do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of SAMHSA or HHS. The resources listed in this Web site are not all-inclusive and inclusion on this Web site does not constitute an endorsement by SAMHSA or HHS.