Walk: MS Philadelphia for Multiple Sclerosis

I am sure that most of us know at least one person who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis (MS). On the Greater Delaware Chapter’s website:  “Multiple sclerosis (or MS) is a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves.”

Aspen Advisors selects several walks/runs per year to raise money for a variety of charities.  This May 5, we are participating in Walk: MS Philadelphia for the Greater Delaware Chapter.  I began to think of how many walks are conducted around the country, the organization and project management that must go into planning each one. I spoke with Elizabeth (Liz) Price, the Development Director of the Greater Philadelphia/Delaware Chapter of the National MS Society. She oversees corporate sponsorship for all mass-market campaigns.  She shared some information on what goes into planning Walk: MS.

How many walk(s) does the Greater Philadelphia/Delaware chapter organize per year? How many locations/dates are there?

There are 18 walks, ranging from 3 – 6 miles, in the spring and there is a Challenge walk (2 days, 30 miles) in the fall.  There are three different dates and multiple locations around Southern NJ and Pennsylvania.

“We try to put a walk in everyone’s backyard; into the communities that we serve,” says Liz.

The smallest walk can have 500 and largest up to 2000 people.  The two largest are Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia.

When do they begin planning the walk(s) during the year?

The Walk Manager works on the planning the walks all year.  There is a full time staff of walk coordinators that work November through May on the various walks.  They manage 4-5 sites each from marketing, vendors, donations, the site location, entertainment, etc. Their main focus, though, is to work with participants.  They are out in the community to see the sites, visiting companies that are participating/sponsoring the walk.

How large is their project team?  Are they all volunteers?

The main project team comprises five full-time individuals.  There are volunteers engaged throughout the year that could help support the team.  For example, a smaller project is to reach out to those members who have raised over $100 the previous year to see if they will be walking again.

What type of software do they use to track your tasks and milestones (MS Project, On Line software, Excel?)

They use excel for their own management.  Convio is an online fundraising tool that NMSS uses. They are able to pull various reports out of it per location, how much has been raised, etc. 

How did she get involved with MS organization?

 This is Liz’s 11th year with MS.  Out of college, Liz worked for AIDS Fund of Philadelphia doing fundraising/developing.  Then she moved over to NMMS.  She began as a walk coordinator and is now the Development Director – Oversees corporate sponsorship for all mass-market campaigns.  She said

“The most important thing about the walk is showing up and supporting your friends and loved ones.”

Aspen is walking for MS this year.  Please show your support!! Go to race.myaspenadvisor.com and join our team or donate.  Thank you!!

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