Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Twitterthons are the New Telethons

Many of us grew up with the yearly ritual of watching Jerry Lewis on television raising funds for MDA with his telethons. Those telethons were first broadcast over Labor Day weekend in 1966 by a lone TV station in New York City. More than 40 years later, the show continues its broadcast by more than 170 stations with nearly 40 million people seeing the show each year.

We, at @abolishcancer, have taken the same concept of the telethon to a new medium, utilizing social media tools on the web. We began just over a year ago with the idea of raising funds and awareness for cancer charities- all on Twitter. As we reflect back on the past 12 months we are amazed at the power of social media to connect with those across the globe who are fighting cancer, as patients, as family members, as charities, and as celebrities.

To date, $33,000 has been raised by @abolishcancer through our Twitterthons. Twitterthons are the 21st century social media version of the MDA telethons. We partner with a cancer charity, a celebrity, and a sponsor (donor) on a given day, where every new follower of our Twitter feed (@abolishcancer) =$1 to the cancer charity. We collect no monies, the sponsor pays the charity directly within 72 hours after the Twitterthon is complete.

Our Twitterthons create a viral presence on Twitter with hundreds, and often thousands of people joining in on the tweets and retweets for the cause. The beauty of the Twitterthon is that the average Twitter user doesn’t have to pay any money, they simply have to follow us for the dollar to be donated. The ease of this type of donation pushes many to retweet and get more of their followers on board. Our minimum Twitterthon sponsorship is $2,500 and we’ve been fortunate to have some great sponsors on board to help with our cause and the various cancer charities. (@PatHowley, @Delprado, @Daynastunts, @BeatProstate, @Goldie22, & @ShopBellaChes to name a few)

We also can’t emphasize the importance of having influential tweeters on board with our cause. We are grateful for all the celebrity followers we have and those who retweet our Twitterthons. Lately our Twitterthons have been in partnership with celebrities that include @ShannonleeTweed, @DinaManzo, @ErinAndrews, @KendraAndrews1 and @MrMichaelSmith. We also have several more celebrity partnerships planned for the future with @JeriLRyan on board later this week.

What does all this add up to? We truly believe that the telethon concept is not dead, it’s simply reinventing itself through a tool such as Twitter. At no other time in history have we been able to connect people from across the globe with like ideas, goals, and aspirations. Ours is to end cancer, and as our motto says, we are assembling the “Power of the People, through Twitter to @abolishcancer”.

Contact us for future partnering opportunities.

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