In the last five years, our Twitter following has increased exponentially – from about 1,200 followers to about 9,200. This audience is incredibly diverse, from cancer physicians to patient advocates to health reporters to biotech executives. (We’ve gotten a few tweets lately from the CEO of Foundation Medicine!) Our social media following is an important communications platform, helping us get our clinical trial news out to a big, broad audience.

But can Twitter help us raise money? We’re about to find out.

In July, SWOG and The Hope Foundation for Cancer Research launched a six-month fundraising campaign on Twitter. Using graphics with a “Faith in the Future” tag line, the campaign is tuned to the times. Like most non-profits, Hope has seen a significant drop in donations since the coronavirus hit. That’s because SWOG group meetings are a vehicle for individual and industry gifts to Hope. No in-person meeting, no in-person asks and fewer industry sponsorships to support them.

The fundraising campaign is testing whether Twitter can help close the donation gap. It reminds us that now – especially now – we need faith in our collective future. Hope gives us that assurance, year in and year out.

When we give to Hope, we’re making possible the Dr. Charles A. Coltman Jr. Fellowship program, the Young Investigator Training Course, and the Career Leadership Awards for mid-career researchers. When we give to Hope, we make sure our advocates get professional development support, and our CRAs get training and travel funding. When we give to Hope today, it pays off tomorrow – in rising star SWOG careers, in engaged SWOG members, and in better SWOG trials.

So far, the social campaign is getting a good reception.

Tweets from SWOG and Hope have generated dozens of likes and retweets. (A retweet is a shared Twitter post, which ensures our message gets viewed by new eyes). My thanks to the campaign stars so far – Dr. Monty Pal, a member of our genitourinary committee, and Connie Szczepanek, the chair of our oncology research professionals committee. Many SWOG young investigators, who’ve benefitted from Hope grants, have promoted Hope on Twitter, and I want to acknowledge them. Drs. Melissa Accordino, Siwen Hu-Lieskovan, Dan Persky, Mina Sedrak, and Veena Shankaran, thank you for tweeting! Thanks also to SWOG supporters like Anne Marie Mercurio, Dr. Craig Nichols, and many others for amplifying the Hope ask on Twitter.

Time will tell if the campaign raises money. Tweets will run through the end of December – and I promise to report the final results back here. I appreciate the experimentation and innovation that Hope always demonstrates. And I ask you to support them!
Give here online to Hope, and share the campaign messages on Twitter. Keep the faith, and spread the hope!

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