How Nonprofits Can Get the Most Out of Twitter

Randy McCabe November 30, 2012 Nonprofits

This is a guest blog post by Dawn Westerberg 

Twitter probably the most misunderstood and underused of the Social Media platforms.  But with 106+ million account holders, chances are pretty good that your donors, volunteers, prospects and media contacts are tweeting.  You want to be part of that conversation.

Twitter is an online networking event.  Is there a lot of small talk on Twitter?  To be sure.  But small talk is a way to develop relationships – we do it at conferences without being put off, why not do the same online?  Small talk builds connections; connections build interest in your organization and mission; and interest in your organization and mission introduces you to more donors.

Twitter is an excellent platform to get rich sector information such as the results of giving surveys, marketing best practices, and news.  Just about every writer and editor has a Twitter account and many of them leverage Twitter to seek experts to speak on the topics they are writing about.  Are you following the local reporters in your community and the national reporters who cover nonprofits and philanthropy?

Twitter users love to use hash tags to communicate with other event attendees.  When people see that their friends are volunteering or attending your events, it may very well entice them to participate.

Twitter provides a platform where a message or link to website or blog article can go viral.  The nonprofit tweets a message with a link to their followers and a handful of followers re-tweet (RT) the message and suddenly your audience has grown exponentially.

Your success on Twitter will be a result of how much thought and planning you give it.  And, I wouldn’t recommend jumping in until you answer the following questions:

  1. What do you want to accomplish?
  2. Who do you want to influence?
  3. How do you measure success?

Once you have the answers to those questions, you can begin to put together a plan for Twitter that ensures your time spent will provide the results you want and not become a meaningless time-waster.