About Tammy Sproule

As Salsa’s Marketing Director, Tammy Sproule is responsible for getting the word out (often in 140 characters or less!) about the company. She has held a variety of communications and public relations positions in the public and private sectors, and began her career as a graphic designer.

Nonprofits are Turning to Twitter to Drive Interest Around Fundraising Efforts

Using Twitter to Fundraise - Fundraising AdviceAs social media continues to grow in popularity, the investment by early adopters into online fundraising and technology is finally starting to pay off.  If you were not one of the early adopters, don’t worry, it’s not too late to build and engage your online community.

There are many social media channels useful to nonprofits, and a multichannel approach strategy is highly recommended. But for the purpose of this article, we are going to focus on one of the most widely used communications vehicles today, Twitter.

Twitter has been used to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for charities and charitable causes – according to an MDG Advertising report, using Twitter during fundraising events can result in 10 times more money raised online. It has helped successfully spread awareness about social issues, and best of all, it’s free (for the most part). Those reasons alone make it a major asset to nonprofits.

Audience growth on social media continues to be very high. The 2015 M+R Benchmarks Study reported while email list sizes grew by 11 percent in 2014, Twitter audiences increased by 37 percent averaging 5.4 posts per day.

Because spreading the word is a core function of Twitter, it is an ideal place to raise awareness and support for your online fundraising effort. But to do it successfully takes more than posting multiple tweets a day.

First and foremost, focus on building and nurturing your community of supporters through offline and online channels. Twitter is a great tool to have in your arsenal, but it’s the community that powers it. These tips should help you harness that power and start you off on the right foot to a successful fundraising campaign.

The following steps will guide you through the “rules” of engagement.

First Things First:

  1. Don’t try to sell yourself in 140 characters, but do tell stories. If all you do is tweet about yourself, and never provide value in your tweets, your followers will lose interest quickly. Keep your language casual. Talk about your supporters and what they have been able to accomplish. You can build the story with multiple tweets.
  2. Provide value to the audience. This is a must to get your supporters engaged. Find a balance within your tweets by providing information (i.e., retweets from other organizations), a quote, inspiration and even entertainment to brighten their day.
  3. Be true to yourself. But not at the expense of being heard. The biggest mistake nonprofits make on Twitter is when they tweet with the same voice they use in their letters from the executive director. It won’t work. If all you “give” is speeches on Twitter, you won’t have many people listen; they will move on. Talk and get involved with hashtags. Spotlight other people that are doing good things that are related to what your cause is doing. Provide value and you will build a much bigger social media following.

Fundraising Tips to Remember:

  1. Demonstrate return on investment (ROI) from a donation. You are asking for help. Be sure to state your purpose clearly and concisely. Let people know why they should care about your cause, and be specific about how their contribution will benefit others. Potential supporters are more apt to respond to your ask if they know exactly what will become of the funds they are providing. You will ensure your organization’s credibility by being specific.

Twitter Fundraising Tips

  1. Communicate an achievable goal. “We need to raise $1,000 in the next hour to provide a safe place for 50 women and children to sleep tonight.” “If we get 20 new supporters today an anonymous donor will give $1,000 donation.” Make it realistic and achievable. Whatever your goal is, during the day, tweet out your progress. Be sure to time your online fundraising posts thoughtfully. People will lose interest in the idea of supporting your cause if the pattern of your tweets appears robotic and repetitive.

How to use Twitter to Fundraise - Fundraising Tips

  1. The power of friends. Friends inspire 33 percent* of the time! Take this opportunity to drive community and donor engagement around your nonprofit’s cause. Urge donors to post messages about their gifts on social networks to encourage their friends to give. You get two opportunities with this one – stay in touch with current supporters, get retweets and gain new supporters. Don’t forget to use RT (retweet), and #FF (Follow Friday) when calling out your friends to follow.
    *Salsa online donor engagement survey.

Nonprofit Fundraising Advice - How yo use Twitter to get donations


A Few Thoughts Before you Tweet:

  1. Match your branding, headlines and call to action. It’s all about the details. Make sure your donors are directed to a landing page that matches your tweet. When you are driving a donor to a branded page your conversion rate will be six times higher.
  2. Follow up. If you are implementing a fundraising campaign be sure to plan your follow up before you ever send your first tweet. Know what you want your tweets to say, how often and what you expect your results to reflect. It is important to have a number of tweets ready so you can respond quickly and appropriately when the time comes.

And as most of you know, the real trick in raising money is to not give up. The same goes for Twitter. As you continue to build followers and spread your message and relevant news about your cause, those followers will step up and push your message as well.

More Nonprofits Should be Using Social Media

Nonprofit Social Media TipsIf all the latest studies are touting how useful social media is, then why aren’t more nonprofits taking advantage of the benefits? According to 2014 M+R and NTEN’s Benchmark Study, nonprofit social media audiences grew faster than nonprofit email or website audiences. Facebook fans were up 37 percent and Twitter followers were up 46 percent in 2013. Social media exponentially increases your cause’s exposure. It expands your reach and increases awareness as well as your donations. So what is holding you back?

There are many different ways to approach how your organization can benefit from social media, but remember, you can’t possibly be on every network, so don’t set yourself up to fail. Here are a few tips on how social media can help your cause.

1) To join or not to join.

With hundreds of social media sites out there, how do you choose which one to use for your organization? Think back to what your Mom used to say, “Don’t do it just because everyone else is doing it.” That statement holds true for social media too. Pick two or three sites and approach them with passion. If you decide to join a new site, consider the audience and the content you’ll be sharing with them, the times they are on the site most, and your end-goal for your presence. Spend time listening to what your supporters are saying and what topics they care about, and then engage accordingly. If you find a particular platform is not working for you, it’s better to say goodbye than have a page that is neglected.

2) Know what you want to achieve.

You need a plan before you jump right in. Focus on a specific set of goals and objectives to help you decide what tools and tactics to try.  It will make the process seem less overwhelming and it will make implementing and measuring your progress much easier to manage.

3) Engaging content will drive your success.

As with most things, be personal and authentic, but it is even more important for social media. People connect with other people, not with organizations. It is important to give your organization a clear personality. Sharing information on social media is great way to communicate your organization’s needs. You can use status updates and tweets and pins to call attention to a current campaign. That kind of focus can make it a bit easier to craft updates and add a sense of urgency to your posts, but what do you do between campaigns? Those moments are just as important for maintaining interest because how you post when there’s nothing urgent to say will help you define your social media personality. Just remember, what you say matters. No one cares what you do until they know why it matters. Social media is filled with people going on about WHAT they do. Be sure you communicate WHY you do it.

4) Test, test, and then test some more.

What’s the best time to post? Should I post this type or that type of content? Don’t beat yourself up. This isn’t a time where you can call a friend and say, “what worked for you?” Their social media strategies might not work the same way for your organization. There’s no easy answer because it is not possible to always predict what will work when it comes to social media. It all depends on your audience.  Just remember, technology and the tools and tactics available are continuously changing so you need to be flexible. Always try new things.  When you are not sure what is working and what isn’t, then test, and test again. And, don’t be afraid of failure.

Here are a few ideas to try out with your own audiences:

  • Be funny/entertaining. Social media is a lot less formal; don’t underestimate people’s desire to just have fun.
  • Be touching. Tell a story that stirs an emotion.
  • Be educational. Teach others about your cause.
  • Take a poll. It is important to ask questions. You can find out so much about your audience.
  • Be controversial. Yes, push a few buttons to get people thinking. Maybe a recent event, ruling or other relevant topic.

5) And finally, a little bit technical
– Customize when you can, it matters!

When posting a link on Facebook for example, the link preview title and description information can make a difference.  It doesn’t just affect that initial person’s decision to share content, it also impacts every subsequent person’s decision who sees that piece of content in their newsfeed to share (or not to share). It has an exponential impact. You can edit the link title and description before posting to take full advantage of the space available. To edit the title and description that goes along with the link before posting, simply click on the title or description and key in the information you want to see displayed.

Remember that each network has its own audience and demographics. Users of particular sites are on that platform because they expect specific content delivered in a certain way, i.e. interesting articles shared in 140 characters on Twitter or images with commentary in the form of hashtags on Instagram.  With a little bit of planning your nonprofit will realize the many benefits social media can offer.

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