FAQ

What is the Autism Speaks Walk?

Autism Speaks Walk is the world’s largest fundraising event to enhance the lives of people with autism today and accelerate a spectrum of solutions for tomorrow.  The Autism Speaks Walk is powered by the love of parents, grandparents, children, siblings, friends, relatives, and support providers for the special people in their lives living with autism.  Funds raised help fuel innovative research and make connections to critical lifelong supports and services. Begin your fundraising today: REGISTER for an Autism Speaks Walk near you.

How do I register?
To register online, go to http://act.autismspeaks.org/walk search by zip code to find your event. You can also contact your local walk staff member by scrolling to the Event Details page of your local walk.

Walk Day registration is also available although we strongly encourage everyone to register pre-event. Early registration enables you to take advantage of our new “Express Check-In.” Bypass the long registration lines and be on your way to enjoy the many activities that much sooner! Check the homepage of the site you are participating in for specific information.

How much is registration?  
Because the Autism Speaks Walk is a fundraising event, we do not charge a mandatory registration fee. Rather, we encourage you to set a fundraising goal and utilize the tools provided to share your story and ask your family and friends for their support. The money you raise helps fuel the Autism Speaks mission to enhance the lives of people with autism through innovative research and service and support programs. We hope that everyone will raise a minimum of $150 to receive our one-of-a kind commemorative Walk T-shirt.

Do I need to register my child/children for the walk?
Children who are under 18 and wish to fundraise for the walk should register online.  Children under 18 who will just be participating on walk day do not need to register online but we will need their guardian to fill out a waiver form at the registration tent on walk day.

DONATIONS

Where do the funds from the Walk go?
Autism Speaks is dedicated to advancing research into causes and better treatments for autism spectrum disorders and related conditions both through direct funding and collaboration; increasing understanding and acceptance of autism spectrum disorders; and working toward solutions for the needs of individuals with autism and their families across the spectrum and lifespan through advocacy and support.

Autism Speaks 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All donations are tax-deductible.

How do I donate?
There are several easy ways to donate:

  • Donate online to a specific team, individual participant or walk via their fundraising page
  • Donate on walk day: Cash, check and credit card donations are accepted
  • Donate via mail
    • Make checks payable to Autism Speaks and mail to:

      Autism Speaks
      1060 State Road
      2nd Floor
      Princeton, NJ 08540

  • If you wish to credit a particular team or individual please be sure to include an offline donation form found on that individuals fundraising page or a note that states:
        • Walk Name, Individual or Team to Credit

PLEASE DO NOT SEND CASH IN THE MAIL

Donations can also be turned in the day of the walk. Please make sure an offline donation form, found on the walker homepage, accompanies each donation to ensure proper credit.  We strongly encourage all participants to mail their donations to the Princeton, NJ address above prior to walk day.

During the heaviest fundraising weeks of the walk (April, June and September - October), please allow up to 2 weeks for mailed donations to be fully processed.

What if my donors need a receipt?
When a donor gives online, they will receive an automatic thank you letter that can be used as a receipt. All other acknowledgment letters will be mailed after the event. If you donated to a Walk event and you didn’t receive a thank you letter, please contact us at chicagowalk@autismspeaks.org.

I mailed a donation to the Walk but it’s not listed on my honor scroll.
Please allow 10-15 business days for processing. If the donation does not appear after 15 business days, please contact us at chicagowalk@autismspeaks.org.

What can I do to make sure my donations are credited to my account?
Make sure your donors know that they need to be on your fundraising page when they make a donation online for it to be credited to your fundraising efforts.  If they are unable to donate online, please print out the donation form located on your fundraising page and include it with their donation.   This form contains information that will ensure that you receive the proper credit for all donations.

If someone donates to your walk and you weren’t credited for the donation, please contact us at chicagowalk@autismspeaks.org to have your donation properly attributed. In order to assign proper credit to your personal fundraising page you must be registered online for the event.

If you are not sure that you have registered, please go online to the walk site you are participating in and search for your name.  If you are still unsure, please email us at chicagowalk@autismspeaks.org.

Can I send in donations for more than one participant in one envelope?
We encourage you to send one envelope per walker to ensure your donations are processed quickly.  If you have multiple people in your household with donations you would like to turn in all at once please be as specific as possible as to how the donations should be credited. The more information you provide the faster we can process your donations. Also, in order for donations to be processed, the participant must be registered online.

What happens to the donations if I can no longer participate in the event?

We’re so grateful for your fundraising efforts and sorry we will miss you at the Walk. Please be assured all donations go towards fueling the mission of Autism Speaks. If you were planning to turn in donations on Walk Day and are unable to attend, please make sure to mail them in with an offline donation form. You can find the form on the walker homepage – and this will ensure we properly associate your donations with your team.  If you are unable to make the event itself we encourage you to become a Walk Your Way participant and walk with us virtually.

Are donations tax deductible?
All donations are tax deductible in the same calendar year your donation was processed to the extent allowed by law. Please work with your tax professional to determine what deductions you are eligible for.

TEAMS

What is a Walk Team?
Teams are made up of family, friends and coworkers all fundraising and walking together under one team name.

How do I start my own team?
Starting a team is easy. Register your team today by visiting http://act.autismspeaks.org/walk and find the walk you want to participate in.  Once you register, set a goal of how many people you want to have on your team and establish your fundraising goal - then start asking! Encourage all your team members to help meet your team goal.

How many people do we need to form a team?
We recommend that a team consist of 10-12 people who raise a minimum of $150 per person. But we leave the size of your team up to you!

How can my company participate?
Companies can participate by organizing teams of employees to raise funds and walk and/or be a corporate sponsor.  National or large regional companies interested in participating in more than 10 locations are eligible to participate in our National Team Program. For more information, please contact chicagowalk@autismspeaks.org.

Is it difficult to organize a company team?
Not at all! Once you appoint a team leader, he or she will act as a liaison between your local Autism Speaks office and your company.  Autism Speaks will provide tools and coaching along the way to ensure your employees have a great experience and feel proud of their impact on the lives of people with autism.

Is participation on a company team limited to employees of the company?
No. Team participation is encouraged among families and friends as well.

Does having a team require some kind of corporate donation?
Corporate donations are encouraged but not required. The majority of contributions will be generated by your individual team members.  However, corporate matching gifts can enhance employee fundraising efforts.  You can find out more about your company's matching gift program by visiting: https://doublethedonation.com/autismspeaks.

ONLINE TOOLS

Autism Speaks provides team captains and participants online tools to help support your fundraising efforts.  These tools can be found at http://act.autismspeaks.org/walk.  

I forgot my Username and Password.
Go to http://act.autismspeaks.org/walk. In the upper right hand corner you will see the Log In To Fundraise tab, click on that tab and then click on Forgot Username/Password

If you still have questions, please contact your local staff member.

How do I unsubscribe from e-mail?
You can opt out by following the link at the bottom of walk e-mails that you receive.

PERSONAL FUNDRAISING PAGE

What is a personal page?

A personal fundraising page is a web page provided by Autism Speaks to every registered online participant to help promote fundraising for the walk. Your personal page is automatically created for you when you register online and is where you can direct friends and family who want to donate to the Walk on your behalf. They can donate online or print an offline donation form to mail in with their check. We encourage you to personalize your page with a photo and to share your inspiration for walking with Autism Speaks.

How do I email current/potential donors from my personal page?
You can compose e-mails in your Participant Center and send them to potential donors. Manually enter your recipients or click “Import Contacts” once your email is created to upload your email contact address book or a CSV file (for Outlook, Hotmail, Apple, AOL).  Create your own e-mail message or select from one of our existing templates. Potential donors will receive an e-mail from you that leads them directly to the donation section on your personal fundraising page.

I would rather send an e-mail directly from my e-mail account. How can I lead donors to my personal Walk page?
When you set up your personal page, you can create a “friendly URL.” This URL should be a short combination of words or numbers that is easy to remember.  For example: http://act.autismspeaks.org/walk/JasonsTeam.   You will have the ability to edit your friendly URL in your Participant Center at a later date as well.

How can I see who has donated to me?
Log in to your Participant Center and click on Progress in the navigation pane under My Fundraising Center. You can view all your donations here, who gave to you, when, and how much. You may not see some donors as anyone who makes a donation, has the option to remain “Anonymous”. You can also turn on and off gift notifications in this section to receive an automatic email anytime anyone makes a donation.

What if I want to raise funds but I can’t participate in the actual walk? Will I still have access to fundraising tools?
Autism Speaks Walk Your Way is a great way to show your support if you can't attend a Walk in your area or if there is not a Walk in your area. You will have the same level of access to fundraising tools as other participants, and all of the dollars you raise will go toward fueling the mission work of Autism Speaks.

GENERAL EVENT QUESTIONS:

Be sure to check the walk home page of the location you are participating in for specific event information

Are strollers, wheelchairs, bicycles and inline skaters allowed to participate?
Strollers and wheelchairs are welcome. All walk routes are accessible. However, for everyone’s safety, bicycles, inline skates, wheelie footwear, skateboards and scooters are not allowed.

Is there anything I can use to prepare my loved one living with autism for the walk?
Every walk has a customized Guide To Walk Day.  This customized guide helps prepare children and adults living with autism for their walk day experience.  Visit the homepage of any walk site to download the Guide To Walk Day.

Can I bring my dog?
Only service dogs are allowed at walk events.  Please leave your pets at home unless you have a service dog.

Is the Walk a competitive event?
Our walks are non-competitive events that are family friendly.  Walk routes on average are 2-3 miles long, all participants are encouraged to walk but it's not mandatory.

What happens if it rains?
Autism Speaks Walks are rain or shine unless a natural weather emergency occurs.

WHAT TO EXPECT ON WALK DAY

Be sure to check the walk home page of the location you are participating in for specific event information

All walks include:
A 2-3 mile walk
Sensory Friendly activities for children
A 15 minute Opening Ceremony
Powered By Love Mission Moment
Autism Speaks Resource Area
Refreshment Area
Corporate Sponsors
Quiet Zone
Express Check-In for Pre-Registrants

Questions? Contact us: Email us at  chicagowalk@autismspeaks.org