Policies

Friends of the Poor® Walk/Run Policies and Event Standards

Policy Section
The original policies and event standards were approved by the National Board of Directors of the National Council of the United States Society of St. Vincent de Paul, when the Friends of the Poor® Walk/Run was originally launched in 2008. This version has been updated with the intent to preserve the national branding of the event and to provide further guidance in running a successful event.

By participating in the Friends of the Poor® Walk/Run, all Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) Conferences/Councils and FOP® Walk/Run organizers are subject to compliance with these Policies and Event Standards.


This document reflects the “OFFICIAL EVENT RULES AND STANDARDS.” These policies MUST be followed. Violation of the policies and/or event standards may result in expulsion from participation in the Friends of the Poor® Walk/Run event.


Background/History


The Friends of the Poor® Walk/Run is a nationwide signature event of the National Council of the United States Society of St. Vincent de Paul™ (SVdPUSA). This event is coordinated by the National Development Department of SVdPUSA, with the intended purposes of raising awareness and funds to support local conference/council services to those in need.


Branding


Friends of the Poor® Walk/Run is a trademarked brand, and therefore must be respected as such. Please remember to use the official name as “Friends of the Poor® Walk/Run”, or if abbreviated, “FOP® Walk/Run”. The trademark symbol “®” should be used after the word “Poor” (or after the letter “P” in “FOP”) within the title.
It is important to follow branding requirements, including the official FOP® Walk/Run logo, when creating brochures, banners, social media sites (including, but not limited to Facebook), all walk day materials, etc.

Being a branded event as the “Friends of the Poor® Walk/Run,” please remember that this is the official title, not to be confused with a myriad of other “spin-off” titles, including “Walk for the Poor.” In order to maintain our brand, please use only the official title “Friends of the Poor® Walk/Run” when referring to this event.


Web Site

The official web site for the Friends of the Poor® Walk/Run is maintained by the National Council office: www.fopwalk.org   The site contains the following event resources: planning, media, sponsor, administrative/organizational material including Walk marketing graphics—all downloadable, and administrative reports. The site is linked to the electronic credit card pledge system and also contains the Walker/Runner registrations through a secure system.

 
Online donations are carefully tracked and forwarded to each Conference/Council.  To receive the online pledge contributions, the coordinator must have submitted the event’s final report to the National Council.

Duplication or re-creation of this site, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited.

Benefits  (To Local SVdP Councils and Conferences)

Online funds are raised through the walker/runner registration process, whereby, each participant designates a specific SVdP Conference/Council to receive their funds.  These designated SVdP beneficiaries will then receive their online funds in a check, which will be used by their respective Conference/Council to directly serve the poor.

Pledges are processed via the National Council’s secure Verisign® internet credit card procedure and will be paid as directed by each participant to the designated SVdP Conference or Council.  Donors may also make cash pledge payments directly to the walker/runner for his/her chosen SVdP Conference or Council.


Ethics

All events must be planned in accordance to the Mission of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul:  Inspired by Gospel Values, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is a Catholic Lay organization. Leading women and men to join together to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service, to those who are needy and suffering in the tradition of its founder, Blessed Frederic Ozanam and Patron, St. Vincent de Paul.  Lastly, the Society collaborates with other people of goodwill in relieving need and addressing its causes, making no distinction in those served because, in them, Vincentians See The Face of Christ.


Ethics also includes employing sound event planning; keeping the fundraising costs (event expenses) as low as possible (sponsorships play an important role in offsetting expenses). Suppliers/sponsors of the event should not receive any special treatment in return for their support, beyond the typical recognition for their donation.  Beware of any conflict of interest with your board and/or planning committee members.


Process  

The online walker/runner registration and pledge system will track pledge funds as selected by each walker/runner and capture other vital information for reporting to each event host.  
The event hosts must register their event location online ahead of time.  Walkers/Runners may then register beforehand online, in addition to the day of the event.

All participants must sign the “Release of Liability” waiver found on the Friends of the Poor® Walk/Run website.  Online walkers sign virtually when registering online, but all offline walkers, volunteers, and other participants must sign a copy before participating.

Event management materials (planning, media, fundraising, PR, logistics,) will be provided by the National Development Department of the National Council Office. Councils or Conferences are encouraged to outreach to the local media and businesses to develop local exposure and sponsorships/donations.

The event can be organized and implemented individually by any SVdP Conference or Council, and/or by banding together to form larger, more lucrative events.  Regardless of where the Walker/Runner actually Walks/Runs, pledges will be credited to a specific SVdP Conference or Councils as designated by each Walker/Runner.  Walkers/Runners are encouraged to solicit pledges. Pledges are collected immediately at the time of pledging; either online (credit/debit card donations processed at no cost to the Conference or Council; see below) or manually at the event.  Each host is responsible for tabulating the total receipts and reporting them to the National Council.  

The respective event host from each Conference(s) or Council(s) must forward the FOP®Walk/Run Report to the National Council by October 15th.  Checks will only be processed for those that have submitted a report. The last deadline for obtaining on-line contributions will be October 31st. 

Each donor and walker/runner’s contact information will be supplied to the respective event host, available in the reports section of the online FOP® Website. The National Council will NOT use this information for any other purpose.  The event organizers are encouraged to track and thank these donors.

**contributions are secured by the website's online pledge and security system**

Privacy Policy
The FOP® Walk/Run website asks for personal information, including credit/debit card information, for the sole purpose of processing donations per the donor’s request.  This credit card information is gathered under a secured website, to prevent any issues of information being stolen.

Should the donor submit their donation with the boxes checked allowing SVdP to contact them via email or mail, then that information will be provided to the local walk coordinator.  This is for the intention of thanking and cultivating that donor.  Personal credit/debit card information is not stored in our system, and will not be given out.  Should a donor not want to be contacted by their local or national SVdP, they will simply “opt-out” by de-selecting the buttons on the donation page asking if they want to be contacted by SVdP.

If you have any questions or concerns about the security or safety of a donor, walker, or walk coordinator, please contact Nathan Martin at the National Council Office.  He can be reached at (314) 576-3993 x218, or nmartin@svdpusa.org.


Enforcement of Event Rules

The rules have been created to brand the event and all aspects of branding will need to be enforced.  Branding is an important aspect, ensuring the event is consistent across the country and it helps to create a positive national public image. This consistency and rigorous enforcement is a hallmark of the national platforms of similar events, such as the Koman Race for The Cure, Arthritis Walk, National MS Walk, National Kidney Walk, March For Babies-March of Dimes, American Cancer Society, and so on.  Violators will be officially warned and if the problem persists, they will be asked to withdraw from the FOP® Walk/Run Program.


Enforcement of Event Rules
The rules have been created to brand the event and all aspects of branding will need to be enforced.  Branding is an important aspect, ensuring the event is consistent across the country and it helps to create a positive national public image. This consistency and rigorous enforcement is a hallmark of the national platforms of similar events, such as the Koman Race for The Cure, Arthritis Walk, National MS Walk, National Kidney Walk, March For Babies-March of Dimes, American Cancer Society, and so on.  Violators will be officially warned and if the problem persists, they will be asked to withdraw from the FOP® Walk/Run Program.


Event Standards Section

  • All FOP® Walk/Run events should occur on the date established by the National Council, usually the Saturday closest to the St. Vincent de Paul Feast Day – September 27 (the day St. Vincent de Paul died).  National media is focused on this day. However, a thirty day window is provided before and after this date to accommodate local scheduling conflicts.  If this is an issue, please contact Nathan Martin at the National Council Office to discuss alternatives.
  • FOP®Walk/Run is a national sub-brand of the National Council of the United States Society of St. Vincent de Paul and all events must adhere to the established graphic standards.
  • Each Friends of the Poor® Walk/Run event should use the national marketing materials including, but not limited to:

    -FOP Brochure
    -FOP Poster
    -FOP Banners/Sign
    -FOP Logo and National USA Logo
    -FOP website

  • The official website for the Friends of the Poor® Walk/Run is (www.fopwalk.org) must be used as the sole website for this event.  Any duplication or re-creation of this site, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited.  We do, however, encourage linking the official FOP® Walk/Run website link to your local parish and SVdP websites, to drive participants and donors to the official event page.

  • Located on the FOP® Walk/Run website under the “Coordinators” tab the following information is housed and must be reviewed by each event host:

-Walk Administration (overview of information for the event coordinator)
-Walk Marketing (Customizable Documents and Graphic files)
-Tips and Ideas (how to organize the following committees: Publicity, Recruitment/Volunteers/Manpower, Sponsorship, Logistics, AND Tips to work with the media)
-Best Practices – Examples from the field that have worked well for other walk locations.

  • FOP® Walk/Run is a pledge-based “thon” event composing of the following:

-All Walkers/Runners are encouraged to obtain pledges
-Participants have the ability to start a team, join a team, or participate individually
-Each participant is encouraged to make a personal donation and solicit from their friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances.  A personal minimum goal of $100 is recommended; many individuals raise much more than this minimum.
-Sponsorships also play an important role in revenue, and every walk location should make a focused effort to obtain sponsorships.  Typically sponsorships should account for at least 20-25% of total revenue.  Team and individual walkers’ donations do not count toward sponsorships

  • Each FOP®Walk/Run event should have the following elements of the event day experience:

-Registration (collections of pledges/waiver forms and distribution of event information)
-Welcome Comments (sharing of the SVdP Mission) and Prayer
-Start and Finish Line
-Sponsor identification
-Thank You to walkers/runners, sponsors, volunteers, staff

  • Event general liability insurance is required by each event Host ($1,000,000 per occurrence and $2,000,000 in the aggregate, recommendation is that the National Council-SVdPUSA is named as an additional insured).
  • Conferences and Councils are allowed to band together for one large event, should they choose to do so.
  • Each event should have a planning committee and participation by the local SVdP Board of Directors and/or executive management.
  • Each event must have an alternative plan in case of inclement weather.
  • Safety of participants is a major concern.  Event plans must include safety as a priority, especially in the staging area, walk/run course, and start/finish area. In case of an emergency, Event Hosts must have access to Police, Ambulance, and Fire Department. 
  • The Final Event Report is to be turned into the SVdPUSA office on or before October 15th.  If you walk is held after the October 15th date, you have one week from the walk date to turn in your Final Report Form.  Online contributions will be processed after the Final report is turned in.
  • Event Host will be asked to help evaluate the event, sharing with the National Council how it can improve its performance (written evaluations, phone calls, conference calls, etc.)

  • Each individual FOP® Walk/Run coordinator is responsible for ordering and purchasing their event’s t-shirts. A pre-determined vendor will be offered at the National Council’s recommendations, based on price and company review.  The National Council will announce this t-shirt vendor on an annual basis, giving the local conference/council the opportunity to order their shirts at that company’s bulk rate.

    If a walk coordinator wants to use their own t-shirt design company, he or she may choose this alternative (for example, if shirts can be attained as an in-kind donation or at a further discounted price, this is encouraged).  However, the design chosen by National Council must be placed on the front of the shirt.  All national sponsors should be placed on the back of the shirts at the top, with local sponsors placed below.

  • Linking websites: Walk Coordinators are encouraged to promote their event on their local website and provide a link to the National Friends of the Poor® Walk/Run Website (www.fopwalk.org) for walker registrations and donations.
  • Disclaimer: SVdPUSA works to ensure that the information provided on the website is accurate, timely, and useful.  SVdPUSA, its affiliates, or agents, or any other parties involved in the preparation or publication of this event/website are not responsible for errors or omissions in information provided on this site, or actions resulting from the use of such information.  Please direct any of your concerns or questions to: nmartin@svdpusa.org.