On Sunday, I joined with a two other women to complete a half-iron - that's a triathlon which generally consists of Swim 1.2 miles, Bike 56 miles, Run 13.1 miles. This one - The Half Full Triathlon a charity event to raise dollars for young adult cancer support - purposely set the mileage at 70. This mileage was chosen to represent the estimated 70,000 young adults diognosed with cancer annually.
This blog post isn't about the cause (although it could be). It's about the volunteers, the Aqua-Velo option and the relay match. All three are great examples of how we can change our systems to engage members.
Adhoc Volunteers! They knew how to engage volunteers! This was an excellent example of how we can use ad-hoc volunteers. The sponsor set up lots of opportunities along the scale of committment and skill-set. They had jobs for those with a couple of hours, 1-day, several days or full commitment to the event. They had opportunities for those who just wanted to help out and those who had skills suitable for say a medical tent.
Besides defining a great list, they made it easy to volunteer. They asked participants to spread the word about volunteering, and they tweeted, Facebook-ed, and emailed volunteer opportunities. And they gave volunteers cool shirts and lots of accolades!
Aqua-Velo atternative! Yes, they looked for ways to draw folks in. A triathlon is an event that requires athletes to commit to competing in three sports or on a relay team. Knowing that many older athletes are plaqued with aging knees and some younger ones are wanting to test but not sure they can go the full distance, they offered the swim-bike option. You got toforgo the long 13.1 mile run, but still went the distance.
Matching! They offered a Relay Match, an unique serve that matched individuals with others interested in forming teams. A half-iron is a real challenge and there are swimmers, cyclists and runners who have an interest in supporting cancer but prefer to stick to their strenght. The event team understood this so they set up a system to match athletes. This built participation (they sold out!) and energy.
I had a great time and really did enjoy biking the 56 miles and being part of team that rocked. But also really enjoyed how the event drew in voluteers and participants. We can learn so much from groups like Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults who planned and pulled off the first a great event