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Thursday
Mar312011

Charities Turn to Twitter to Boost Fundraising

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- It has been a tough few years for charities. According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the 50 top philanthropists gave $3.3 billion to charity in 2010, the lowest amount recorded since the Chronicle began tracking donors in 2000.

But that doesn't mean the organizations aren't always looking for new ways to approach donors.

Enter 'Twestival' -- a fundraising event on Twitter that has become the biggest global grassroots charity event organized through social media.

More than 150 cities across the world participated this year. Each city selected one local charity, and then received a Web page from FirstGiving, an online peer-to-peer fundraising tool.

'Twestival' brings the buzzing Twittersphere offline and onto a physical location -- a fairground, skating rink, park -- for a single day to highlight a community cause. This year, it was March 24, with donations accepted through March 31 on the website. As of Thursday, they had raised more than $550,000 for more than 150 local nonprofit causes.

Twestival originally started off as a single event in London in 2008, under the direction of founder Amanda Rose (also known as @amanda).

In 2009, it expanded to events in 133 cities in support of 135 local charities. Last year, it quickly transformed into a global movement with events in over 175 cities while also raising over $400,000 for the international humanitarian organization Concern Worldwide.

In the months leading up to the March 24 event thousands of Twitter users spread the word. A 24-hour Twestival livestream supported organizing teams around the world, setting a world record for the most charities supported by a live Internet broadcast. At the stroke of midnight on Thursday March 24, an influx of tweets with the hashtag #twestival flooded the Twitter stream.

Twestival founder Amanda Rose tweeted at 2:30 a.m., "Two and a half hours into @Twestival and our global fundraising total is already $215,840.13!!!"

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 







ABC News Radio