Skydivers jump for breast cancer research

Jump for the Cause (JFTC) is a nonprofit skydiving organization that raises money for City of Hope's breast cancer research.

Client: Jump for the Cause (Encino, CA)
PR Agency: Tellem Worldwide (Los Angeles)
Campaign: Jump for the Cause
Duration: June - September 27, 2009
Budget: About $10,000

Jump for the Cause (JFTC) is a nonprofit skydiving organization that raises money for City of Hope's breast cancer research. It was founded by Mallory Lewis, daughter of children's TV host Shari Lewis (of Lamb Chop puppeteer fame), after Shari died while undergoing treatment for cancer.

This year's event (September 21-27 in Perris, CA) was the organization's fourth and final “jump.” It drew 181 women from 31 counties who aimed to raise a half-million dollars and set a world record for women's formation skydiving.

Lewis says she wanted a more robust PR effort, so JFTC tapped Tellem Worldwide this year to secure major TV media attention and help fuel donations.

Strategy
The team decided to combine of traditional and social media outreach. Tellem Worldwide partner John Tellem explains that most media weren't familiar with the event, so he pitched it as if it had never been pitched before.

Participants all have some personal experience with cancer, and their stories were used to help engage audiences. “We felt they were our best option for getting press in advance,” Tellem adds.

Lewis notes that JFTC also hosted Marines from Wounded Warrior Regiment on September 23 as an event within the event. “Anything that has a charitable hook is a media attraction,” she adds.

Tactics
Tellem provided media various angles on participant stories “that pulled at heart strings.” A media list by city, state, and country was created, and participants were provided a simple, “insert name here” press release to send to local media.

The team sent a pitch to the Today show (and a few other A-list consumer broadcast media) that included a full-sized parachute. Lewis and participants gave on-site interviews, and provided media with edited, high-quality skydiving video. Event footage was also put on satellite feed.

The agency also established JFTC Facebook and Twitter pages, which event participants updated regularly. Content included links media coverage, press releases, and fundraising encouragement. In addition, participant pictures and e-mail addresses were posted on JFTC's existing Web site. (jumpforthecause.com).

Results
The event raised $900,000, and $425,000 was donated to City of Hope – (the highest amount in the event's history). The women skydivers also achieved the new world record on September 26.

The campaign garnered more than 110 US TV stories. Other outlets reporting the story included AP and Yahoo news. Coverage also appeared in seven other countries.

JFTC has 84 followers on Twitter and 613 members on Facebook.

Future
Lewis says though the results were good, and the group believes it has made a difference over the years, she and her partners had decided to make this the last year for the jump, and to move on to other endeavors. She's planning a program for a military charity, and says the agency will help with PR.

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