In recent years, the use of social media sites for fundraising has been steadily growing. In particular, fundraisers have found that Twitter lends itself particularly well to fundraising efforts, and hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised for a wide range of causes, organizations and charities through it. Fundraisers find it a powerful tool for spreading social awareness of worthwhile projects. Here are some ideas and tips for making Twitter work most effectively for your fundraising efforts.
1. Cultivate a strong audience
The effectiveness of Twitter always correlates directly with the power of the community that is receiving your message. Twitter itself as a platform cannot behave as a machine for raising funds; it is the sum of the people who use it. Therefore, it is important to first build a community of people who will be interested in your cause, organization or proposal, and will be receptive to your fundraising message, before you ask them to make donations.
2. Stay upbeat about your cause
Social media experts in the charitable sector, such as 12for12k’s consultant Danny Brown, recognize the power of leveraging social media to reach wider audiences, but emphasizes that keeping your audience upbeat and engaged is key. It is important to involve your audience as much as possible, give them something worthwhile in return (even if it’s just making them laugh!), and make them want to take part.
3. Be clear about your purpose and what you are requesting
When providing information about your cause, state clearly and concisely what your purpose is. Let your audience know why your cause is important and one that they should care about. State specifically how their contributions will bring benefits to other people. Highlighting ‘why’ and ‘how’ is always key when making a statement or giving a call to action to your audience.
4. Be concise
CEO of Epic Change, Stacey Monk, emphasizes the importance of being concise in a digital medium. The attention that users give to each tweet they see is usually measurable in milliseconds, so getting your message across in as few characters as possible is crucial. If you need to provide deeper explanation or further information, you can tweet links to more in-depth content. Reserve your tweets for the most essential and hard-hitting information.
5. Generating hype around your cause
It is vital to create buzz and excitement around your cause, which means setting yourself apart from the crowd and demonstrating why your cause is different. Make use of unique hashtags, snappy taglines and eye-catching avatar ribbons to provide your initiative with a ‘brand’.
6. Hold contests
Contests are another effective way to rouse people’s interest and get them engaged with your campaign. Again, it is useful to make use of unique hashtags to give your cause a special channel through which followers can engage with you.
7. Make sure you have a strong set-up
While effective, Twitter cannot do all of the fundraising work for you – it is important to have a strong set-up for your cause behind the scenes. Twitter itself can be used most effectively for communicating, spreading your message, providing information, building a community around your cause, and getting other people involved at a grass-roots level. It is not a guarantee of money, and most causes use it in conjunction with a range of initiatives.
8. Offline components for fundraising
While many users will happily engage with you in the digital space, you can give your cause a real buzz by having a physical, real-world component such as a concert, festival or tweetup. Use other social media sites such as Foursquare in conjunction with Twitter to integrate your online and offline initiatives and provide your audience with a fuller experience of your campaign that is more likely to make them feel that it is worthwhile.
9. Expect the unexpected
Like all social media, Twitter is unpredictable, and you never know how your message will be interpreted and re-interpreted. Do not try to have absolute control over your message – over-planning is as bad as under-planning.
Sam is a blogger and contributing writer for the conversion optimization service Invesp.
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