It’s just three days until Twestival, so I thought I’d check in and see how things are progressing. And in one word it’s: amazing!
Since I first posted about Twestival, there has been a doubling of events listed on the website, particularly overseas. If you want to know about the origins and dynamics of Twestival, I strongly suggest reading Beth’s amazingly comprehensive and thoughtful case study. There are now 175 Twestival parties planned for Thursday. Check out the list of tweeters signed up to host parties, particularly the long list of organizers from Africa and Asia.
There have been a few subtle changes to the website. More discussion of the controls that are in place to organize events and ensure donations go to charity:water. Here is new information on the website to help the organizers manage the amazingly large number of events being held on one day:
There will be certain creative restrictions on city sites, especially for those with a web developer on their team; but it was important not to compromise these features due to the scale of this grassroots event.
Feel free to link in social media sites or any other website relevant to the Twestival.
- Phase one: Launch the homepage with a list of cities which have already registered. Over the next day, organizers will be given a password and instruction to upload information to their own city site (start thinking about a first blog post). Please have a bit of patience as we are working as quickly as we can.
- Phase two: All of the cities should be linked up to the homepage. Features to donate, bid on an auction, raffle and other fundraising projects will come online as buttons as they are completed.
- Phase three: On 12 February 2009, Twestival will be working with partners to have live broadcasts of the events around the world.
I am an egghead for this specific purpose; to wrestle with what we can learn from this Twestival for future Twestivals. So, here are a few issues that the Twestival raises for me:
- First, would Twestival have been possible without the “rock star” quality of the organizers and charity:water’s CEO, Scott Harrison? Do you have to be Bono to scale fundraising this way, or can you do it if you don’t know the CEO of Twitter?
- Second, the technical know-how of the organizers is very impressive. How can nonprofits harness this technical prowess for their needs? Matching professionals with nonprofits through pro bono programs has been a staple of the nonprofit landscape for years. (For instance, here is one organized by the Tap Root Foundation.) But those historically tend to be a few hours of professional time given in a rather sporadic way. I often hear from frustrated nonprofits that they didn’t get enough help during these engagements, and from frustrated professionals that the nonprofits didn’t have a clear vision of what help they needed. The organizers of Twestival are amazingly proficient technically and well connected socially. They have turned their lives over to Twestival for the past few months. As did the very talented technical folks who volunteered on Twitter Vote Report. What happens in these cases is that the energy and impetus for those efforts comes from the volunteers not from an organization. Is that the polarity that has to happen for Twestival-like efforts in the future? Do efforts like these only scale as a groundswell not as an organizationally conceived event? (Please don’t confuse this idea with the fact that organizations can organize very large, multinational events. This point is that this effort has scaled organically and enthuistically because it is volunteer not organizationally driven.)
- Third, is there any benefit to organizations to raising money through epic events like this, or would it behoove a group like charity:water to use tools like Twitter and TipJoy to create regular, monthly giving habits for people intersted in their work. Which is better in the long run? Or maybe they need to co-exist?