10 Ways Your Nonprofit Can Use Twitter | npENGAGE

10 Ways Your Nonprofit Can Use Twitter

By on Jul 13, 2011 | NONPROFIT-FUNDRAISING

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Although Google+ has been all the talk amongst techies the past couple weeks, Google has asked that non-personal accounts not be created, leaving Nonprofits and businesses in the dark.

Fret not, however, as the number of nonprofits using Twitter continues to grow.   However, many are confused about how Twitter can help advance their organization’s goals. While new organizations are joining daily, others previously registered while never fully utilizing. Whether existing or new, this quick rundown of 10 ways your nonprofit can benefit from using Twitter can help your organization plan, or rethink, your usage of this platform.

1. Staff Networking

One of the first things you may notice on Twitter is the number of individuals who work in technology and/or nonprofits–likely due to Twitter’s early adoption at SXSW, PDF, NTEN and other nonprofit conferences. Consider how you can use Twitter to network with other professionals in your line of work. Services such as SocialWhoIs, Who Should I Follow, and Twellow can help you find users to follow by topics and keywords.  Also be sure to add yourself to such services so others can find you.

stlvolunteen: Amazing leaders of our generation from the @BofA_Community! Had an amazing time speaking at #SLSummit in Washington DC!

2. Location Based Services

If you have mobile outreach services, consider using Twitter to update and share location updates. Because of Twitters timeline based tweets, organizations with mobile libraries, blood drives, medical services or other site-specific services can find Twitter useful for communicating where they will be at any given moment.

3. Timely Actions

Similar to above, even actions that are not location specific may find Twitter useful. Consider legislative Action Alerts, a call for Letters to the Editor or last minute meeting needs. Additionally, blood drives may again consider sharing type-specific and other emergency response needs.

nrdc: Last chance to protect dogs, cats & kids from toxic flea & tick treatments. Tell the EPA to ban propoxur: http://bit.ly/oDySqb

4. Remote Participation

The usage of hashtags and links have been widely adopted by Twitter users and can allow for remote conversations and event participation. While common examples include conference or workshop participants sharing quotes, thoughts and resources, other uses could include event staff updating non-attending constituents on important happenings, announcements and quotes.

5. Access Support & Resources

Particularly true for service organizations, but consider how your organization might use Twitter to allow for constituents to ask questions, engage program staff, and get help finding resources or using the website.

mstrust:mstrust: First results from clinical trial of alemtuzumab http://www.mstrust.org.uk/news/article.jsp?id=4821

6. Press Releases

With the social age of the web so large, sending press releases and news announcements to media outlets simply isn’t enough.  Use Twitter to make new announcements, link to press releases and share other important news you want to both inform your community about, and get the larger word out on.

7. Social Fundraising

We’ve seen a growing number of organizations looking for ways to raise funds using social media with varying success. Consider starting with engaging event fundraisers and providing tools such as AddThis or ShareThis for them to promote their fundraising efforts on their own social networks. These can even be configured to promote your own Twitter handle, thereby increasing prospect growth.  Remember that Twitter is about networking and relationships, and doing so helps ensure that future “asks” are better received.

operationsafe: Donate a Tweet for OpSAFE at JustCoz.org http://bit.ly/eeaw54 #opsafe

8. Targeted Prospecting

Looking to build a new event or fundraising committee and want to involve new constituents? Consider using twitter searches to find constituents interested in specific topics, as well as their follower count to gauge community involvement or influence.

9. Joining a Larger Conversation

Engage with volunteers, donors, prospects, advocates and members directly about what they want or need from your organization. Doing so not only supports the constituents you directly converse with but also shows the value your organization places on transparent communications.

10. All of the Above

This does not necessarily need to be an a la carte menu. Choose which types of usage suit your organization best and engage the necessary staff to make happen. This could be 1 or several people utilizing a singular Twitter account or multiple accounts setup for specific purposes and programs.

Even if you’re not ready to actively use Twitter yet, I would suggest registering and reserving your desired screen name and consider following other nonprofits to see how they use the service.

You can find over 200 nonprofits to follow and learn from on my NonProfit Twitter List.

care: Twitpic: Families walk 2 weeks to get to #Dabaab #refugee camp but conditions are poor, lacking #food and #shelter http://bit.ly/px8vzy

Final Thoughts regarding Twitter and Social Media:

1) Twitter is a communication vehicle for reaching existing and new constituents. You should consider surveying your current constituents online usage habits and review public ally available data about Twitter demographics in order to determine with whom it may help you connect.

2) Twitter is one of many communication vehicles (email, in person, snail mail, other social networks) and should be used in tandem with, not at the exclusion of, others.

Part 2 – 20 Tips for Nonprofits Using Twitter

Be sure to check back for tomorrow’s roundup post with tips and suggestions from over 20 nonprofit users, marketers and consultants in the industry.

In the meantime, please share in the comments below how your organization is using Twitter or what other ways you’ve seen nonprofits use.

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