THON plans to gradually phase out canning from fundraising model by 2019

April 21, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — THON announced Thursday (April 21) that the organization will slowly phase out "canning" as part of its fundraising model by 2019.

In a "Letter to the THON Community," 2016 and 2017 THON executive directors Katie Mailey and Austin Sommerer said the organization's "decision to eliminate canning was a difficult, but necessary decision in the best interest of THON and its volunteers moving forward."

The decision to permanently phase out canning came after a Penn State student died in a car crash on Sept. 27, 2015, and the organization suspended its remaining planned canning weekends for the THON 2016 fundraising year.

"We recognize the role that canning has long played in our tradition and culture. Not only does it raise funds and spread awareness to thousands in the region, but it serves as an opportunity for many of our volunteers to feel connected to THON’s mission in a concrete way," Mailey and Sommerer wrote in the letter. "This is a decision we know will require adjustment for many and we do not undervalue the positive experiences people have had with canning, but like always, we believe in the determination of our THON community."

Two "Fundraising Outreach & Canning" weekends are planned for the THON 2017 fundraising year: on Sept. 23-25, 2016, and Oct. 28-30, 2016. One canning weekend will be planned for the THON 2018 fundraising year. The fundraising practice will be phased out by the THON 2019 canning year.

The Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, referred to as THON, is a yearlong effort to raise funds and awareness for the fight against pediatric cancer. Several weekends a year are designated as “canning” weekends, where students solicit donations in communities across the region. Since 1977, THON has raised more than $127 million for families of pediatric cancer patients and research toward finding a cure.

Over the past few years, THON has implemented a number of policies and practices aimed at improving the safety for volunteers while fundraising. Students are trained through a mandatory course on the THON e-Learning Management System, an online module-based education tool, in areas such as safe fundraising practices, donor interaction and travel safety.

Last Updated May 12, 2016