To Do A Telethon – By John Young


To Do A Telethon – By John Young
Every night this week we have seen photos and video from Houston showing the incredible flooding and damage caused by Hurricane Harvey.
That got one of our writers for the Disc Jockey News thinking. We do a lot of live video shows during the week (and we are starting a live news show next week for the Hometown News, see last week’s article) for our Disc Jockey News TV channel, so we know how to set up and do live streaming events. His thought: could we do a major Labor Day Telethon to help raise funds for the Houston area recovery?
My first thought was, “This is a GREAT idea! Why didn’t I think of this?” Followed closely by, “Let’s do this!”
This was Tuesday morning, with only six days until we will be live.
The first question: what should the length of the show be? Early in 2017, we decided to do a one-day training marathon with a variety of speakers and that event went from about noon on a Sunday until 11 pm. Yes, eleven hours of content all in one massive video stream! While it was neat to do the longest DJ industry live video stream of all time, I wasn’t up for doing that length again! We settled on a 6-hour event from 6 pm to 12 am. This might sound like a long time, but when you have guests coming in and out via video chat, the time does fly!
Next, we had to figure out where our donations would go. The most well known organization, of course, was our first thought. You hear about them, and they show up at these natural disasters. After some research, we decided to go with a bit lesser known organization that focuses on the rebuilding efforts for restoring the homes of flooding victims.
Now, how do we raise money? Most telethons have donations that come in to help the cause. Setting up a link for doing online donations is pretty quick and easy! I thought I was about done at that point and could just start to promote the day! We create content, ask for donations and aim to reach a daily goal of $5,000. I figured we had a good chance to reach this goal!
Then, more great ideas came pouring in!
“You should do a silent auction!” and “Wouldn’t it be great to have prizes so donations at different levels could get exclusive perks to encourage larger donations?” Yes! Both of those are great ideas!
My next task was to figure out how to handle an online auction. We need the auctions to be starting on Monday, take bids throughout the show, and be able to be closed at a specific time. We found a great solution for this and now will be able to close some auctions each hour to have some excitement as to who won the bid on a specific auction item. Once the auction system was in place, it was time to spread the word for silent auction items.
Oh boy, did the word spread! As of this writing, we have over 20 items in our auction, and the value well exceeds $10,000. That means it takes time to set up each of the auction items with photos and pricing. Then we need to list the sponsor on the website and the social media event page, and finally, schedule each item at a specific time slot in the show to wrap up the auction.
After about 30 hours working on this project, we are about ready for our big online push! The pieces are mostly in place with are more items coming in as the auction gets closer.
Why do I share this today? I think this is part of a future option for fundraising events even on our local level. A local telethon streamed live has the potential to reach thousands in our area over what some other fund raising options might reach. A local online telethon could reach people from out of the area and can be shared on social media quickly and easily which expands potential donors exponentially.
You can check out our progress on September 4, 2017, with our Labor Day Telethon at from 6:00 pm to midnight.
John Young is the founder of Small Town Business Do It Yourself (DIY). You can send questions on social media and website design to John at [email protected]