The ever-popular Dry July was back in 2021 with some incredible results. We share the secrets to their success.

2021 has been another challenging year for fundraising events, but time and time again we have been shown that amazing things can happen online.

This time it is Dry July’s turn – experiencing its best year ever, raising an incredible $13.1 million for people affected by cancer.

38,000 Australians made the decision to stick to soft drinks and raise funds last month, an impressive feat considering many participants were juggling lockdowns, restrictions and home schooling.

The Dry July Foundation provided a visually appealing and easy-to-navigate website packed full of helpful resources. The site includes a Health Hub with articles about exercise, nutrition and the benefits of taking a break from alcohol, information about where funds go, fundraising tips, workplace giving guide, merchandise, message board, social media feed, leader board, and the all-important sign-up form (which was user-friendly, shareable and quick to set up – we tried it!).

The foundation also made good use of social media, using Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to share fundraiser journeys, campaign tallies, impact stories, funny memes and tributes to people affected by cancer.

Aussies who took on the Dry July challenge could choose from 34 cancer support organisations to fundraise for, including major beneficiaries the Cancer Council, Leukaemia Foundation, McGrath Foundation, Ovarian Cancer Australia, Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and Redkite.

Number three fundraiser in Australia, Sean Clancy, has raised more than $30,000 and was inspired to take part in Dry July after being diagnosed with prostate cancer last year:

“I saw an ad for Dry July, and thought I would give it a go. I set up the page on the website and I went through my contact list sending the link out, and after about 15 minutes, the money was already coming in. It was a bit difficult for the first few days, but now I’m fine with not drinking.”

Dry July has come a long way since it began in 2008 with a target of $3,000 for a new TV at a local cancer centre. The campaign has now raised over $70 million for over 80 cancer support organisations in Australia, working to improve patient care, comfort and wellbeing. Initiatives made possible by Dry July include:

  • Specialist cancer care nurses
  • Wellbeing therapy programs such as exercise, art and music therapy
  • Patient accommodation
  • Transport to treatment vehicles
  • Chemotherapy scalp-cooling caps
  • Wig libraries
  • Facility refurbishments

This campaign shows that if you give people the right tools, help them on their fundraising journey, provide channels for sharing, make good use of social media, have a user-friendly website and encourage the community to something that challenges them but is not impossible, you can be onto a winner.

It also shows the willingness to give is alive and well in Australia, even in these most challenging of times.

Donations for the 2021 campaign close at the end of August, after which Dry July Foundation beneficiary organisations will receive funding to implement their projects.

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