Tweeting For a Cause

      We have all seen the @ sign followed by a simple statement or name, but what does this small phrase really mean? For your non profit organization, it could be a potential donor, volunteer, or a foundation or corporation interested in aiding you with your cause. Twitter or micro-blogging, is a form of social media that is rapidly growing in this field. In the past, micro-blogging was seen as a way to inform friends or family of the somewhat mundane tasks that occurred throughout their day, but now, non profit organizations are taking notice to how effective Twitter can be as a part of their social media strategy.

      This social networking site can prove to be quite useful for your NPO. In our society, it is necessary to build meaningful relationships and connect with one another, and Twitter makes this possible, even on a global level. Tweets, which are messages that are 140 characters or less, are short, yet impactful because they are great tools for educating the public about your cause and reinforcing your message.

      A survey from Nielsen says that Twitter is the fastest growing site in the Members Communities categories, with a larger percentage than Facebook which came in third. In “Twitters Tweet Smell of Success,” the study showed that the demographic that Twitter was most popular among is working adults, and the largest number of unique visitors to the site was between the ages of 35-49. This is valuable information because Twitter allows your message to be amplified through different networks because you have the capacity to communicate with such a large audience.

      According to “Twitter, Tweets, and Twitanthropy,” Twitter has also implemented Charity Tuesdays, which is a tag that was created to help non profits spread the word about their causes. This encourages other people to follow their charities’ tweets, and this is necessary for an NPO because the more people that care and are interested in your message, the more likely they are to pass it on, and that allows for free viral marketing. This idea of word-of-mouth marketing allows for people to build trust in your cause because people they know believe in it as well. This concept is proven with Twestival, a completely volunteered based project that allowed people who used Twitter, to come together with a common purpose, belief, and goal to create change in their communities.

      Another great example of Twitter as an application for social media is the American Red Cross, which is an established and well respected non profit organization. They have been effectively using social media for years, and their involvement shows their willingness to participate in these conversations and be transparent as an organization. An article titled, “Non Profits Find Useful Applications for Twitter,” discusses how the Red Cross used it effectively after a plane crash. The tweet accomplished two things. First, it informed the public with the necessary information that it needed, and it also created awareness of their presence with the situation and what they were doing about it.

      The American Red Cross says that it uses Twitter to get real time information and news out to the public which is necessary because it shows that they are aware of what is going in the environment, and it helps to create trust in what they are doing. Their Twitter page is filled with continuous and regular updates which show the public that they are responsive and actively engaged. Their page also has links to other helpful resources for information, which is an example of how Twitter can drive people to learn more, and visit your website along with other social media sites like Facebook or your blog.

      In the end, it is not about ensuring that every individual on Twitter is following your tweets, you just need enough influential people to believe in your mission and share that belief with their network of followers. This will then allow you to keep connected with your supporters, gain new ones, and continue spreading awareness for your cause. It is about the connection, and even though tweets may not translate immediately into revenue for your organization, you are beginning to build a base of supporters who will be vital to promoting your cause in the future.

So, use your tweets wisely because you never know who may be following you.



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3 responses to “Tweeting For a Cause

  1. Tyler Allen

    I think it’s great for nonprofit organizations to use twitter. I know a lot of them don’t have huge budgets to waste on marketing, and the internet offers a free and quick way to reach millions of people around the world!
    On a side, design note, I like the way you included the screen shot of the Red Cross’ tweet in your post.

  2. Julie Carroll

    Like I have mentioned before in previous comments, I worked for a non-profit this summer that utilized Twitter to the maximum. It is a great, cost effective way to help promote your organization and other organizations. One thing my company tried to do was promote other local non-profits in their tweets so that it developed into an exchange relationship and those non-profits would give them publicity as well.

    Like your last sentence states, you really never know who is reading your tweets. We would receive tweets from people all over the United States who had visited the botanical garden at one point or another. They found these tweets through the keyword searches you mentioned. It would truly be a mistake for a non-profit to not utilize Twitter- it’s free and reaches a new demographic- there’s nothing to lose.

  3. Gina Gretta

    Ashley – I found Twestival really interesting! NPOs using Twitter for a good cause is a really current topic with the recession; I just did a blog on it with the Fashion Industry..let me know what you think!

    I think the use of twitter, facebook, and other social networking sites is really helping companies to market and advertise in a cost-efficient way.

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