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Twitter for nonprofits: 7 tips to leverage the platform

November 24, 2021
A young woman poses in front of a blue wall holding a smart phone in her hands while researching Twitter for nonprofits.

Twitter has become one of the most essential social networks for today’s nonprofit organizations. With over 450 million monthly active users and a viral hashtag feature, the platform can help expand your reach and drive campaign success. In fact, studies have shown that 55% of people who engage with nonprofits on Twitter end up taking some sort of action, whether that be donating, registering for an event, or visiting a website to learn more about a cause.

There are several ways that your nonprofit can leverage social media to boost its fundraising efforts. In this guide, we’ll explore the importance of Twitter for nonprofits and provide seven tips for maximizing the impact of a tweet. 

What is the importance of Twitter for nonprofits? 

Twitter is an important resource for nonprofits due to its ability to raise brand awareness and drive donations. By incorporating the platform into your social media strategy, you can promote your purpose to a global audience, engage with supporters, and drive donations. 

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 $3.1 billion due in part to their Twitter #GivingTuesday campaigns. Therefore, a simple tweet can provide your nonprofit with an accessible and effective way to reach its goals.

7 tips to make the most of Twitter for nonprofits

1. 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 handle, include these elements in your tweet. Incorporating them shows that you are involved with other members of the community while also helping to increase the post’s reach. 

2. 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 supporters increasingly respond well to thanks and public recognition.

By tagging a supporter, you are not only showing your gratitude for their support but also introducing your organization to their followers who may not have known about your work before. This increases visibility, helping to drive engagement and new supporters to your nonprofit. 

3. Schedule tweets with nonprofit software. 

Nonprofits that use a donor management system should also be able to leverage it to track and automate their tweets. This can help increase staff efficiency so that certain tweets, like the launch 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. 

4. Live tweet during events.  

Live tweeting at fundraising 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, take photos on a mobile device 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. 

5. Hashtag trending and relevant topics.

Hashtagging specific keywords on Twitter can help boost a post’s reach and engagement. Unlike some other channels, Twitter hashtags can directly affect searchability 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.

6. Turn causes into compelling taglines or tags. 

Create your own hashtag that is relevant to your cause and compelling to your audience. Though not all original hashtags will become viral, there are some tactics nonprofits can utilize to promote theirs.

The obvious one is to promote a hashtag through Twitter advertising, but for nonprofits who may lack the funding to utilize that feature, there are other options. For example, you could ask leaders in the space who have a large following to include the hashtag in their tweets and tag your organization. Chances are their philanthropic-minded followers will take notice of your cause and lend their support. 

7. Make an impact on GivingTuesday

It isn't a coincidence that GivingTuesday began on Twitter. It was a brilliant, strategic choice. Despite the fact that Facebook has more than five times as many users as Twitter, 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.

Here's a great example from Surfrider, a nonprofit dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world's oceans.

@Surfrider: $20 pays for two 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. 

A final note about Twitter for nonprofits

Twitter can be a powerful engine that drives traffic to your fundraising campaigns and helps you engage with your community. However, like any channel that you use, it’s important to tailor your messages and content to fit its unique structure. When it comes to Twitter for nonprofits, engaging with others, tapping into trending topics, and tweeting in real-time are key to boosting your awareness and campaign effectiveness.

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