The fundraising season has officially begun! This past Sunday, fundraising efforts for THON 2017 were catapulted by the annual THON 5K. There was a competitive run followed by a fun run/walk for this family oriented event. Participants were surrounded by THON committee members dressed in wacky outfits cheering them on the whole way. While there was already the first of two canning weekends–a long time THON tradition, which will be eliminated by THON 2019–many alternative fundraising efforts have begun. This was the first large event held on campus to attract attention and donations for THON 2017.
Before the THON 5K, we spoke with Brian Kelly, a media relations caption on the Public Relations Committee. He explained that every committee member for THON 2017 had been chosen and many would be at the event. He said it was the first of many large THON fundraisers, followed by the Family Carnival, held later in the semester, and eventually THON weekend.
Kelly’s job as a media relations caption is to reach out to as many people as possible across the state and the U.S. to get the word out about THON and its mission to fight pediatric cancer. His contacts in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Harrisburg, among others, attend campus events and promote THON throughout all of its various fundraisers. Kelly said his strategy for getting people to come out and write about events is quite simply that, “you need to be smart about it.” He continued that to get support, you have to, “look up different people and pitch to them based on what they’re interested in.” The goal is to have a publication listen to him, explain everything that THON encompasses and all that Penn State does for it as a university. This way, they can translate that into a positive article or review so that their audience can get a better understanding of all that THON is. The eventual goal is for others to get involved and donate to the Four Diamonds Fund.
Behind The Scenes
PR is a very important aspect of THON because it includes the way people outside of Penn State learn about THON. There are many other lesser known committees however, that also have jobs that are necessary for the culmination of THON weekend. Last year, Kelly was on the “only captain committee” Supply Logistics. That job entailed calling up corporations and mom-and-pop companies for donations of supplies, such as arts and crafts, so that money doesn’t have to be spent on those things and can instead go directly toward the THON total.
Something For Everyone
There are so many different aspects of THON, from each committee, to each fundraiser, to each hour of THON weekend. That also means there are so many ways to get involved and make a difference for the kids. Anything and everything you do for THON will be worth it.