Twitter has become one of the most essential social networks for today’s nonprofits. One of the biggest fundraising days of the year, #GivingTuesday, is a product of Twitter’s influence on the nonprofit world. Last year, organizations raised an estimated total of $45.68 million through their Twitter #GivingTuesday campaigns.
Using social media marketing to support fundraising efforts can help organizations boost the reach and success of their campaigns.
For instance, nonprofits that used Twitter to help promote fundraising events generated 10 times more donations than those that did not, according to MDG Advertising.
There are several ways that nonprofit organizations can tap into social media to boost their fundraising efforts. Here are some creative ways that charities can successfully use Twitter for their marketing and other campaigns.
Tag partnering organizations and events.
A great way to expand your reach on Twitter is by tagging partnering organizations, celebrities, and companies.
If you are participating in an event and it has a hashtag or its own Twitter page, include it in your tweet. Incorporating these elements shows that you are involved with other members of the community while also helping to increase post reach.
ONE, a nonprofit that advocates to end poverty, preventable diseases and other social issues, excels at partnering with, and tagging, influencers and leaders in the community.
Tag volunteers and donors to recognize them.
Tagging individual volunteers and donors with their permission often serves a different, but still important, purpose -- recognition. Studies have shown that donors and supporters increasingly respond well to thanks and public recognition.
Nonprofits can use Twitter and other social media platforms to publicly highlight the contributions of their supporters.
Habitat for Humanity is one great example of an organization that recognizes supporters on their Twitter. The nonprofit often includes pictures of volunteers and supporters in Tweets, which adds a visual and more personal aspect to their posts.
Schedule tweets with nonprofit software.
Nonprofits that use a donor management system should also be able to use it to track and automate their tweets. This can help increase staff efficiency, so that certain tweets like the launching of a specific fundraising campaign or event can be scheduled in advance.
It can also help staff to execute a documented timeline for promoting a fundraiser or event.
Live tweet at fundraising and other events.
Live tweeting at events is a great way to increase your followers and brand awareness through social media.
Scheduling tweets in advance can help with efficiency and planning, but tweeting in real-time can help you to take advantage of trending topics and provide fresh content to audiences.
During events, try taking photos on a mobile device, like a tablet, and ask attendees for their Twitter handles to tag them in the photos. You can also have your organization’s Twitter handle listed on business cards or programs, so that attendees can follow you during or after the event.
Hashtag trending and relevant topics.
Hash tagging specific keywords on Twitter can help boost reach and engagement of posts. Unlike some other channels, hash tagging on Twitter can directly affect its search ability and performance.
One easy-to-use tool that nonprofits can use to help them determine which words to hashtag is Trendsmap.
Trendsmap is an online tool that allows users to find Twitter words, hashtags and users by location. The tool’s interactive map and other features can help nonprofits find local trending hashtags to include in tweets.
Turn causes into compelling taglines or tags.
Organizations can sometimes create their own hashtag that is relevant and compelling enough to trend. Though not all original hashtags will trend, there are some tactics nonprofits can utilize to promote their own.
The obvious one is to promote a hashtag through Twitter advertising, but for many nonprofits that lack the funding to utilize that feature, there are other options.
For example, ask influential members of your community to include the hashtag in their tweets and tag your organization. Tweet compelling stories, imagery or statistics with the hashtag added.
You can also take a note from Unicef by changing your Twitter page header to a striking picture overlaid with the hashtag, so that viewers automatically see it when they visit your profile.
Twitter can be a powerful engine that drives traffic to your website and fundraising campaigns, and helps you engage with your community.
However, like any channel that you use, it is important to cater messages and content to fit its unique structure.
For Twitter, engaging with others, tapping into trending topics and tweeting in real-time is key to boosting your awareness and campaign effectiveness.
BONUS: #GIVINGTUESDAY TWITTER TIPS
#1 - Make an Impact
Impactful tweets are specific and reliable. Share how your organization plans to spend #GivingTuesday donations and why you chose that particular initiative. Make your ask relatable and share your vision with your audience by including links, photos, and videos. Here's a great example from Surfrider, a nonprofit dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world's ocean.
@Surfrider: $20 pays for 2 water tests to make sure a day at the beach is healthy & safe. Give to @Surfrider this #GivingTuesday.
$20 is an amount that we all understand. By sharing how a specific amount of money will be used, the donor can easily understand the impact that his or her gift will have.
#2 - Publish Live Fundraising Updates on Social Media
It isn't a coincidence that #GivingTuesday began on Twitter. It was a brilliant, strategic choice. Despite the fact that in 2012 Facebook had more than 5 times as many users as Twitter (1.23B v. 232M), the minds behind the global day of giving understood that Twitter had something that Facebook didn't: real-time virality.
Watching a charity that you're passionate about try to reach a fundraising goal in a limited amount of time is exciting! Use the event as an opportunity to engage with your supporters. Share your fundraising goal in the morning, live tweet your progress, and share how they can help you reach the finish line.
#3 - Tell Your Story
Prior to the big day (11/29/16), strategize a way to show your social media audience how your organization is changing the world. Simon Sinek said it best in his 2009 "How Great Leaders Inspire Action" Tedx talk: people don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it.
Interview clients and ask them to share how their lives have changed since encountering your organization. How have you helped them grow? If your organization doesn't have clients, share notable achievements you've made in the past two years. Share these stories on social media with videos, quotes, and case studies.
#4 - Listen and Engage
As a social media phenomenon, #GivingTuesday is pretty... well, social! Lend your voice to the Twitter conversation and encourage others to do the same. Remember to include relevant industry hashtags along with #GivingTuesday to expand your reach.