Case Study: Twitter + Two Weeks = $7000 Raised

Though many traditional businesses are still sitting on the sidelines studying how the “not new anymore” social web tools work, the people are taking it to the trees and creating events for social benefit. So I am delighted to present a brief case study for your consideration.

The latest of these is Twestival, a global event designed to have simultaneous fund-raising efforts in 175 cities to raise money and awareness for better access to clean water. The target recipient was charity:water.

From @VBrown of, the man who initiated the event: “Basics: started planning jan 28 at a table ala moana food court. Sold 167 tix online over 35 at door.”

It is a pretty straightforward formula:

  • Someone gets an idea, creates a tag, and starts promoting it on Twitter and blogs.
  • Thought leaders eagerly claim their turf in local communities as word spreads rapidly.
  • Volunteers come on board, wanting to be part of something bigger than themselves.
  • Sponsors are enlisted to help underwrite the fixed costs.
  • Social web tools (free) are used to promote the event, collect donations, organize tasks, and make this thing happen.
  • The event features entertainment, donated food, video monitors showing facts about the charity:water cause, and lots of live-streaming, live Twittering, and like-Flickring of the event, generating thousands of impressions for each local event, including the sponsors.

The results are overwhelmingly positive:

  • Sponsors get outstanding response for their investment.
  • Charities effortlessly find dedicated volunteers; the charity itself only had to provide information. All of the leg work was done by formerly unidentified volunteers.
  • Individuals can hardly find easier ways to make a difference – something so valuable in these times when problems seem so huge and insurmountable.
  • Enormous sums of money are raised, over $7000 just from Honolulu alone.

What about the intangible business results?

  • If you search Google for “charity:water” there are now an astounding 32.7 million results.
  • If you search Twitter for the hashtag, “#twestival”, you can easily learn about the event from around the world, and keep in mind these voices from the collective also are freely helping create search results from the bottom of their hearts.
  • If you search Flickr for “hitwestival”, you can witness the event in living color from the people who attended, took pictures, then tagged them.
  • Local musicians donated their services yet found new fans and were beamed live around the world. (See list below.)
  • Local artists, like @valdezign, share talents to create a logo and get lots of free attention, otherwise hard and expensive to buy.
  • The mainstream press takes notice, like the NY Times and those of us who participated can even leave a comment there and further brag about “our” local event. (Mind you, I was only a participant on this one – adding a few tweets to the pool, buying a ticket, making a donation, buying a t-shirt, and live-streaming the event – all done on the fly in the last 48 hours.)
  • In less than 24 hours after the event, you can read the results on numerous blogs, including this one.
  • Etc. I hope you get the picture now.

Here’s some link love for the Planners and Volunteers:
Arleen Anderson (@AlohaArleen)
Vernon Brown (@VBrown)
L.P. “NEENZ” Faleafine (@NEENZ)
Nathan Kam (@NathanKam)
Susie Lin (@susielin)
Matt Matsumoto (@matmatsu)
Kelly Mitchell (@HawaiiRealty)
Paul (@twirrim)
Tammi (@alohaTammi)

Judi Clark (@judico)

More link love fro the Musicians:
Guy Cruz
Mailani Maikainai
Jama Hang


Further Reading
See all of the players, including the sponsors and prize donors, on the HiTwestival Wiki.

Reed Ryan’s colorful play-by-play coverage to get a feeling for how this event unfolded.

Learn more about how to use Social Media to Promote Your Event.