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Cancer Research UK’s Dryathlon returns for third year

Cancer Research UK’s Dryathlon returns for third year

Cancer Research UK’s month-long abstinence fundraising campaign Dryathlon® returns in January for its third outing.

The campaign, which was piloted in 2013, took the simple and existing fundraising idea of getting sponsored to give up alcohol for one month, and turned it, with some added gamification, humour, and digital and social creativity, into a successful new annual campaign for the cancer charity.

In 2013 35,000 participants, or Dryathletes™, raised over £3 million for the charity by the end of the 31-day willpower challenge. In 2014, 55,000 participants, raised £5.8 million. They did so either by getting sponsored by friends and family or pledging money they have saved by abstaining from alcohol over the course of the month.

They can take part on their own or as part of a team.

Dryathlon 2015 fundraising toolkit

Dryathlon 2015 fundraising toolkit

This year the Dryathlon website features interactive functions including an ‘alcohol calculator’ which helps Dryathletes work out how much money and how many calories are saved by going dry for January. There is also a willpower test which enables participants to find out their ‘Will Power’ character, which they can then share online.

The humour is there too, with the ‘Tipple Tax’ – “If you slip off the wagon just pay The Tipple Tax. Simply hang your head in shame and donate £20 to your JustGiving page”.

Anthony Newman, Marketing Director at Cancer Research UK, commented:

“Dryathlon’s first two years were a great success and the pressure is on for a third brilliant year. I’m really pleased with our ad campaign, developed with Abbot Mead Vickers, which builds on all our learnings since launching Dryathlon in 2012. The ‘go dry’ market has become a lot more crowded since then, but I’m confident 2014/15 will do us proud.”



Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of Research massive growth in giving.

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