With so much of fundraising taking place online, it is more important than ever to utilize and optimize how you reach and communicate with your supporters. Everyone knows they should have a Facebook page, but far fewer non-profits have made the jump to Twitter, the real-time network that asks its hundreds of millions of users to share “What’s Happening” in 140 characters or less.
Although Twitter certainly can and should be harnessed as a creative new approach to fundraising, perhaps its greatest strength is in forming and deepening relationships with supporters. A recent study found that around 28 percent of young people said they have interacted with a nonprofit on Twitter, making it a platform that would be foolish to ignore.
Below are some useful tips for using Twitter for your fundraiser:
Keep a steady Twitterstream
Consistent and frequent Tweeting is vital in reaching new followers, making them take your account seriously, and keeping their attention. A Twitter account that only posts once or twice might as well be a short and very poorly written blog, and will likely drown in followers’ Twitterstreams.
That being said, is it still essential that everything you post is relevant and interesting; an excessive amount of Tweeting will simply annoy your followers and make them less likely to read your posts at all? Even worse than Tweeting pointless or underwhelming information is repeatedly posting the same thing, one of the quickest ways to get users to click the “unfollow” button. You only have 140 characters, make them count.
Have a Two-way Conversation
There’s no better way to engage your users and connect with them on a personal level than to get your followers involved in your Tweeting process. Ask them questions and value their answers by replying or retweeting one or two of the best responses. Congratulate them on making donations, retweet anything valuable they have to say, and use hashtags to trend a related topic and generate conversation.
For example, Teach For America regularly retweets teacher’s inspirational answers to the question, “Why do you #teachforamerica,” eliciting heartwarming stories and snapshots into their classrooms.
Use Compelling Statistics
Using a shocking or powerful statistic is one of the quickest and most effective ways to reach your audience. A number and a brief explanation fits perfectly into the 140 character limit, preferably linking to the source or other further information.
Make a Call To Action
Twitter is a great way to tell your supporters exactly what you want them to do, real-time, right now. You can urge them to make a donation, go to an event, vote on a certain ballot, or even share something with their friends. For example, @GOpublicSchools Tweets fundraising updates with a clear and direct message like “Only 1 more day left - help us reach our goal! Small contributions count!” with a link to their Fundly page where users can easily make a donation.
Link to Relevant Information
If there is more to what you’re Tweeting about than what fits in 140 characters, include a link to the full story. Not only will it make your Twitter a richer source of information, but it will also most likely link back to your site in some way more times than not, generating more traffic and adding value to the platforms you’re already using.
If you’re tweeting about fundraising, link to your donation page. If you’re talking about breaking news, link to the article. If you’re posting about an upcoming event, link to the Facebook page. Adding photos and links to videos are also a great way to engage your followers by not only telling them “what’s happening,” but showing them.
Let’s Get Personal
The short, informal nature of Twitter makes it a perfect opportunity to show a little personality every once in a while. Posting something personal or funny sparingly and tastefully can be a powerful tool to connect with followers. See how the Red Cross used their sense of humor to diffuse a potentially problematic situation and even turn it into a fundraising opportunity in this article.
Twitter is a great way to promote your fundraiser online, no matter what the cause is or size of your fundraising goal. By using twitter as a channel for fundraising, you can gain the attention, engagement and support of new people, which will likely be followed by an influx of donations from what could be complete strangers from around the world.
If you plan on doing some online fundraising, make sure Twitter is in your wheelhouse as a tool for promotion and gaining new donors and supporters from around the globe.
If you are going to be fundraising online, then you need to be using Twitter as a tool to promote and engage current and new supporters to get behind your online fundraiser. However, Twitter is just one tool you should have in your bag, yet importantly using a robust online fundraising platform like Fundly, which allows you to not only accept donations, but multiply donations, supporters, followers, and more, by building a community of engaged and passionate supporters online.