non-profit social media

Please RT: Engaging Donors on Twitter

Yesterday, Twitter celebrated its 10th anniversary, and the world had an opportunity to look at how the platform changed our lives over the last decade. What is it that draws us to that little blue bird on our phones? How can just 140 characters be so compelling? Connections. Twitter connects us to a world that is growing and constantly changing. Twitter has moved beyond a simple platform for status updates, and has transformed into a medium where we can see how our world is developing moment by moment based on what is trending. Every individual has the power to share a story, to make noise on Twitter, whether their ideas are retweeted millions of times capturing a moment in history, or a simple thought only reaches a small niche community, Twitter has created that space for people to connect.

How can we as fundraisers and non-profit communicators use Twitter to our advantage?

  • Audience Building - There’s a reason Twitter’s growth boomed when they added the hashtag [#] feature in 2007. Since then hashtags have allowed us to build communities, report on current events, join conversations and shown us lives that matter. As a non-profit, of course you can announce to your existing donors and communities that you have a Twitter and ask them to follow, but more importantly it’s your opportunity to grow. Find accounts in your area, retweet what they have to say that your audience might find entertaining, join in on interesting trending conversations. Find who’s making noise about your cause and get them to advocate for you.

  • Event Engagement - For better or worse, events are a necessary part of the non-profit world. It’s the easiest way to bring in a large group of donors, celebrate organization success and generate alternate revenue streams through ticket sales, auctions, etc. With 80% of active Twitter users on mobile devices, it’s likely your event attendees will log in at some point at your event. Make sure your Twitter gives guests (and those who couldn’t make it) a behind-the-scenes look at your event. Have an easy-to-find hashtag so that everyone can share their experiences at your event - and you will thank yourself later when you’re doing event follow up and you have audience reactions, photos and comments all in one place.

  • Online Giving - While this seems like the obvious reason for being on Twitter (or any other social media platform, for that matter), social strategy shouldn’t all be about creating direct donation conversions. It’s your cheapest and easiest stewardship tool and should be primarily treated as such. If every tweet is an ask or a link to your online giving platform, your audience will get bored and probably won’t be on #teamfollowback. Share photos of the day-to-day at your organization (on average you’ll get 313% more engagement), comment on articles and news updates relevant to your cause and invite your audience to discuss them with you, or even throw up a #tbt post and let your followers LOL at an awkward old photo of your team. Then, when an ask fits into your messaging, your community won’t be overwhelmed.

When I go to click on that little blue bird on my phone for perhaps the hundredth time today, I’m reminded that no matter how it is used, Twitter is a constant in my life. I thrive on the information it provides its opportunities to always be in the know with the latest from not just my personal circle of friends, but my favorite celebrities, thought leaders, news organizations, blogs, career leaders and of course, non-profits. When non-profits use Twitter to connections with donors rather than simply spewing information and asks at them in 140-character nuggets, the tool that began as a simple microblogging platform 10 years ago has turned into a tool for generating social good.



@giftdevelopment | @murrlizz