Twitter Fundraising – It’s more than a social community

in Online Fundraising,Social Media

Twitter can not only help you raise awareness and build community, it’s also a fundraising tool.  A recent Mashable post covered this very topic, 10 Tips for Successful Twitter Fundraising.

After each of Mashable’s 10 tips listed below, I added a short synopsis of what it covers.  But I also recommend you read the full article on Mashable

1. Cultivate a Strong Community First – Twitter itself isn’t the secret.  The secret and the power come from the people who use it.  Connect and build a community with those people before you start to fundraise.

2. State Your Purpose and Your Request Clearly – This ties to donor-centered messages, transparency, and letting donors know HOW their money will be used and HOW they’ll help make the world a better place by giving you money.

3. Create Buzz and Excitement – Includes techniques such as creating catchy taglines or hashtags and unique avatar ribbons.  Make it easy, distinctive, and if appropriate . . . also make it fun for donors.  I say if appropriate because not all missions and events lend themselves to humor.  This bullet also refers to contests; reaching out to local businesses, artists, musicians, etc. to create buzz.

4. Have a Strong Set Up Behind the Scenes – This is roughly analogous to starting a direct mail campaign when you’ve never done it before.  You don’t send out an acquisition mailing unless you’re also prepared to do several follow-on renewal campaigns.  The backend and everything else “behind the scenes” that it takes to have a successful direct mail campaign is the key (e.g., the database software, vendors, staff to execute, etc.).  In other words, it takes more than a few tweets to raise funds.

5. Have a Powerful Offline Component – For this tip they say “combining offline and online gives a fuller experience.”   And the author suggests using “…apps like Foursquare to tie in geo-tagged fundraising initiatives, or Social Scavenger for charity challenges…”

6. Plan, Prepare, Execute, then Get Out of the Way – Remember, in the social networking communities you do not have control over how your messages will spread, get edited, or by whom.  If you over-analyze or over-plan in this environment you’ll probably foul it up.

7. Recognize Volunteers and Donors – Send out tweets praising those who are helping you via Twitter and other methods.

8. Keep Contributors Up-to-Date on Progress and Needs – Twitter is a tool that makes it easy to keep donors informed.  And sometimes – says the author of the Mashable post – it’s good for a charity to connect donors and beneficiaries so they tweet directly with each other.

9. Keep Track of Developing Relationships – Fundraising on Twitter may bring you new donors and/or followers.  Find ways to keep them engaged after the fundraising event is over.

10. Look for Ways to Improve for Next Time – Evaluate what worked and what didn’t, record the lessons learned, and make the next fundraising event even better.

Want more tips for fundraising with Twitter?  Here’s a post I wrote late last fall, Twitter Tips Specific to Fundraising