Charity Launches Cheeky Texting Drive on Modern Remake of the Traditional Telethon
Tanya Weinberg 202.640.6647 (W); 202.247.6610 (M)
Save the Children benefits from Project for Awesome. L to R: Ettore Rossetti, Andrew Scarella, Hank Green, John Green, Mary Beth Powers. Photo credit: Save the Children/Bing Chen
WESTPORT, Conn. (Dec. 21, 2010) — Save the Children is partnering with some of the nation’s top young video bloggers — or vloggers — to let Americans know about simple actions they can take to directly help save children’s lives.
Save the Children traveled to Los Angeles over the weekend to participate in the vlogger-created Project for Awesome (P4A) webcast fundraiser. The Project for Awesome channel on YouTube received more than 6 million views — raising awareness and more than $100,000 for Save the Children and eight other charities. It was the #1 most viewed YouTube channel in the United States this weekend and the #p4a hashtag was a trending topic on Twitter worldwide.
This year marked Project for Awesome’s fourth annual virtual event, but the first time YouTube officially turned over its home page to the project for a live, four-hour fundraising webcast. During the event, Save the Children announced a new texting campaign to fight one of the leading killers of children worldwide — diarrhea. The disease kills more than one million young children every year, although it is very easy and inexpensive to treat.
By texting “POOP” to 20222*, anybody can donate $10 to Save the Children’s diarrhea management programs that save children’s lives around the world, Save the Children’s Mary Beth Powers explained on the webcast.
“This woman just told you to text ‘poop’” exclaimed the fundraiser’s emcee, YouTube celebrity vlogger Michael Buckley (a.k.a WhatTheBuck). “I love it!”
Powers, who leads Save the Children’s broader See Where the Good Goes™ (Good Goes) campaign for newborn and child survival, says the setting for the texting announcement was logical.
“What better place to launch a lifesaving campaign drawing on new technology than at an event that has essentially reinvented the modern telethon on the new media powerhouse YouTube?” Powers says.
“Say goodbye to that catchphrase “As seen on T.V.,’ adds Ettore Rossetti, Save the Children’s Director of Internet Communications and Marketing, “For the new generation, it’s all about ‘As Seen on YouTube.’ ”
Project for Awesome was started in 2006 by John and Hank Green (a.k.a. the vlogbrothers), who lead an online community called nerdfighters. The idea has been to get members of the YouTube community to rally around charity causes each Dec. 17 by creating new videos and then promoting those videos to ensure high numbers of views. It’s working.
Videos created for Project for Awesome have drawn more than 3 million views over the last three events.
Building on the project’s success, Save the Children has been able to connect with new audiences through the reach of vloggers like Shawn Ahmed (a.k.a. UnculturedProject). Ahmed not only used his travel videos to ask viewers to vote on which Save the Children health and education projects to support in Bangladesh, he got viewers to fully fund them.
For this year’s Project for Awesome, popular vlogger Kristina Horner (a.k.a. italktosnakes) documented a recent trip to Guatemala, where she saw Save the Children’s Good Goes campaign in action. Watch her video here.
The Good Goes campaign to end preventable newborn and child deaths focuses on proven, cost-effective solutions that can be delivered by local health workers. In the case of diarrhea, treatment that can save a young life costs just $10 to deliver.
A simple packet of salt and sugar, when mixed with clean water, can prevent the dehydration caused by diarrhea. This treatment, when combined with zinc tablets, helps children recover from an often life-threatening condition. It only costs $150 for Save the Children to train a local health worker who can deliver diarrhea case management and other low-cost care to protect children.
“It may sound silly, but texting ‘POOP’ to 20222* can have a serious impact on preventing child deaths,” Powers said. “One $10 donation can fund the medicines and the delivery of this low-cost treatment for a child in the developing world.”
Since the announcement, Save the Children has raised close to $1,000 via text, and hopes word of the “POOP” text campaign will continue to spread through new media channels.
Every year 8.1 million children die before age 5. The leading causes of death are largely preventable, including diarrhea, pneumonia, complications at birth, and malaria. To learn more about local health workers who are successfully preventing such deaths, visit www.GoodGoes.org.
Watch Save the Children and Good Goes on their respective YouTube channels:
Save the Children is the leading, independent organization that creates lasting change for children in need in the United States and around the world. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.