Using Twitter to raise money and awareness for charities

Few social media platforms give nonprofits as much trouble as Twitter.  Some people think that Twitter will reach 1 billion users in the next few years, and the 200 million users that it has today are driving more traffic by sharing links to their favorite websites than any other social media platform, including Facebook.

But, as we emphasize to our clients at CiV Digital, it’s a mistake to reach for a tool before you define your strategy.  And the best way to start defining your strategy is to ask questions.

Here are three basic questions to consider:

1.  Where is my audience right now?

Are your core audiences using Twitter? Which social networks do they use? The reality is that even if your audiences are not currently on Twitter, launching a well-designed campaign on social networks including Twitter can help you identify new groups of supporters.

Turning tweets into advocates and donors can be tricky though so thought has to be given to how you a) convert folks coming in via social media and b) creating opportunities for folks who may not “join” but are still interested in helping you.

2) What level of resources and effort are required to maintain our social media presence, including Twitter?

We get this question a lot. Be careful not to underestimate the amount of time and effort it takes to maintain a meaningful social media presence. Also it will be important to find a style and updating schedule that fits your organizational rhythm.

3) What do I need to get started?

Develop an action plan which defines:

a) goals of your social media presence (be specific),
b) time per day/week invested in maintaining your presence
c) team members responsible for presence
d) process for approving content
e) metrics for evaluating effort

Then test-run your action plan for 1-2 weeks and evaluate. It will probably need some tweaking.

Walk Before You Run

When it comes to social media, start small.  It can be tempting to leap at every new and hot social media network but simply having a presence is not in itself good strategy. Know what you want to accomplish so that you can measure value to the organization for the effort you invest.

D.J. Smith is CEO of CiV Digital. He has been building and designing web products for over 15 years.

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