5 Tips to Integrate Twitter into Nonprofit Fundraising and Outreach CampaignsBusiness in Toronto / Ontario, Fundraising, Fundraising Services, Lottery fundraising, News, Non-profit fundraising, Online Fundraising, Philanthropy, Telephone Fundraising | Desi Cabrera | December 13, 2011 at 12:01 am
Recently I wrote about the benefits of Facebook on nonprofit fundraising campaigns and then about 10 tips for Facebook to maximize efforts and improve results. Today, I’m going to review how Twitter can be successfully integrated into fundraising and cause marketing campaigns with the same goal.
Twitter sets itself apart by calling themselves an information network rather than a social network. Even though Twitter may not think of its unique 140 character (or less) message platform as being part of the social network family, it very much is and it’s growing in popularity by leaps and bounds. Composing a short and concise message is a simple concept that may not appeal to some but nonprofits can strategically use this communication tool to reach its supporters and the general public to enhance their cause, brand and fundraising efforts. Here are 5 tips to help get started:
- Share Content and Information. To truly be part of this information network, one must maintain a participative and interactive presence. Content can be original or retweeted (when you share content others have tweeted), but ultimately a personal and individual voice must be heard through the tweets that are posted. Four to five strategically timed tweets per day is a healthy number of tweets where engagement still occurs before it starts becoming noise. Optimal times in the day include 9am, 11am, 1pm, 4pm, 7pm and 9pm. Tweets should be related to your cause, organizational vision or sector in the industry and can consist of thoughts, links and pictures. If your organization has an active blog, tweeting it with engaging questions can help increase traffic to your main website. You can also use the “lists” feature to categorize those you are following by sector, industry, value to your organization and also by whose tweets you are most interested in reading and retweeting. It will also help filter out tweets you prefer not to read.
- Drive Supporters to Main Website. Success in building a community of engaged followers can easily be measured by the number of followers your organization has on Twitter. It’s important to follow, engage, share and retweet those who are talking about the things that your organization is interested in. Searching by hashtagged (a word that starts with a #) keywords can easily identify who these Twitterer’s are. Although, most experts agree on a 1:1 ratio of followers versus following, during the growing pains period (leading up to your first 5,000 followers), you will probably have a higher ratio of ‘following’ versus ‘followers’. Continuously clean your ‘following’ list, so that your organization is only following active, cause appropriate Twitterers. Adding your main website to your profile gives potential and new followers quick access to learn more and it’s an excellent way to drive supporters to your website.
- Message Management Platforms. There are several platforms that help with message management on Twitter and other social networks. These include Sprout Social, Hootsuite, Buffer, TweetDeck and many more. Many industry experts caution on the overuse of auto-post features on these platforms. While I can appreciate the notion that content quality is perceived differently when the reader sees that it had been shared through a message management platform, these platforms help with the effective and timely distribution of information. With time and awareness these platforms should be more widely used as they help with optimizing the dissemination of information. There still is a person and a voice behind the information and managing the platform. For both resource efficiency and time management, I strongly recommend the use of these platforms. Try them out and see which one works best for you.
- Events Engagement. Incorporating Twitter into your fundraising events makes them fun, engaging and interactive. Creating a hashtag for attendees to follow also helps with them to communicate with each other. I recently wrote about the benefits of professional fundraising events having attended AFP Greater Toronto Chapter’s Congress 2011 where I was pleased to see that Twitter was being used by delegates and also by the organizers to enhance communications. It was the first time I witnessed Twitter playing such a role and I saw firsthand that it was gaining popularity within the professional fundraising sector. From announcing draw winners to event notices, the information networking opportunities that Twitter can provide at events are endless.
- Brand and Cause Monitoring. Twitter is not only about what you are tweeting. Using Twitter strategically includes looking for what others are saying about your cause or values. What positive or disparaging comments are out in the Twitterverse about your organization? Many message management platforms have features where you can monitor keywords or your organization’s name. It’s critical to be aware of what people are saying about your organization in such a public forum as Twitter as negativity can spread quickly. The upside is that you have access to the same public forum for your response so you can squash it if you handle it quickly and professionally. Setting up brand/organization or cause ‘mentions’ notifications help keep your finger on the pulse.
Nonprofits need to broaden their perspective on ROI when measuring the importance of Twitter and other social media. Ultimately, it comes down to money and the funds raised but increasing your reach and brand exposure has value. Increasing your supporters and “followers” may not have immediate monetary value but it does have potential for future monetary support by them or their followers. Nonprofit fundraising is about reaching and connecting with supporters and Twitter makes that much easier than traditional methods. There is so much more to Twitter and I will breakdown and explain more of its capabilities in future blogs.
Does your nonprofit currently use Twitter? If so, how do you measure your return?
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Miratel Solutions is a Toronto call centre, eBusiness, and letter shop mail house specializing in professional fundraising services including telephone fundraising, online fundraising, lottery services, donation caging, donation processing and other donor management services. We are committed to our CSR business values in all contact centre services and mail house operations and advancing the missions of the nonprofits we proudly serve.