Tomorrow 27 cities and towns in the UK and Ireland will take part in the second annual Twestival, a worldwide fundraising initiative taking place in over 175 cities, to raise funds for this year’s selected cause, Concern Worldwide. The volunteer-run events are organised using social media and Twitter in particular, with the aim of bringing together local Twitter users to meet in person and raise funds for a good cause.
Education is the theme of this year’s Twestival, and the organisers say that 100% of ticket sales and donations will go direct to support Concern Worldwide’s educational projects. Social media will be used, as in last year’s campaign for charity:water, to track and show people exactly where their money goes.
In order to achieve this goal of 100% donation, Twestival’s all-volunteer organisers have partnered with PayPal, which will allow supporters to donate via WhatGives?! widgets, waiving all fees up to $1 million. In addition Citrix Online will donate GoToMeeting to all those who are organising Twestival events, and Amiando will waive all credit card ticketing fees to Twestival events, allowing for 100 percent of money raised to benefit Concern Worldwide projects directly.
Amanda Rose, founder of Twestival Global, said: “Organizing online and gathering offline allows Twestival to harness the incredible communication power of Twitter to propel participation in real events around the world. There is no shortage of people who are passionate and want to help. The challenge is coordination, not participation.
“By using social media platforms such as Twitter, Twestival is able to connect hundreds of independent local events into a powerful global initiative. At last year’s Twestival, more than 1,000 volunteers and 10,000 donors raised more than $250,000 to provide clean and safe drinking water for more than 17,000 people. We know this works—and we’re determined to make it work for every child in the world that deserves an education.”
In addition to the offline events on 25 March, Twestival will of course operate extensively online. TwestivalFM will feature artists and musicians around the world including Moby, Jet, Metric and Ryan Adams to donate their songs to download for donations. Auction140 is a global online auction of celebrity-donated items and experiences on eBay from celebrity Twitter users like Justin Bieber, Stephen Fry, and Imogen Heap that will features a live Twitter stream for the first time. An iPhone application, together with live donations and results widgets will enable real-time donations at local events.
Twestival is also partnering with Ustream to live-stream the day’s events, starting in New Zealand and ending in Hawaii.
Twestival began in London in September 2008 when a group of London Twitter users hosted an event called Harvest Twestival, connecting people offline for fun and for a good cause. The organisers planned most of the event in under two weeks and secured sponsorship from people on Twitter. The event, which was originally intended for 30 to 40 people ended up with 250 attendees and a waiting list. After the enthusiasm of the first event, lead organiser Amanda Rose starting developing the idea of hosting similar events simultaneously around the world on the same day for the same cause.