Don’t Fall Behind, Fundraising is Moving On! | npENGAGE

Don’t Fall Behind, Fundraising is Moving On!

By on Nov 3, 2010


Is Traditional fundraising via direct mail and email slowly fading away?… more and more nonprofits are engaging their constituents through the power of social media. I’ve been watching the world of fundraising take on a new shape over the past year. In recent months, some incredible examples of this new form of fundraising have been happening on Twitter. Don’t Fall Behind, Fundraising is Moving On! Here are five (5) great examples to learn from.

1. Twestival

TwestivalIn February 2009, Twestival happened both online and offline in over 180 cities around the world! This amazing event raised over $250K for charity:water – an organization supplying clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries.

Social Media maven, Susan Mernit featured Twestival in Using Social Media for Social Change, a case study about engaging the public through social media.

Beth Kanter wrote a blog post about Amanda Rose, the leader of Twestival, and how she used social media to make a difference.

2. Tweetsgiving

In November 2008, Tweetsgiving mobilized over 330 people and raised over $10K in 48 hours through Twitter and other social media channels to fund a new classroom in Tanzania.

To follow the story of the classroom that Twitter built, and the work of Epic Change, visit

3. Pledge to End Hunger

Pledge to End HungerRecently the Pledge to End Hunger launched a campaign to help raise awareness, money and volunteerism.

“Our main goal was always to help raise awareness for childhood hunger in America,” shared Scott Henderson, campaign manager.

 Social media and The South by Southwest (SXSW) 2009 conference played a big part in spreading awareness about the campaign.

“We are overwhelmed by everyone’s enthusiasm for helping us spread the word about the Pledge to End Hunger,” stated Ed Nicholson from Tyson Foods. “We couldn’t have been successful in breaking through the noise of SXSW 09 without the hard work and effort of everyone who pitched in with their Twitter, Facebook, and personal requests for support.”

4. Tweet-a-thon (Four versions to check out)

12 for 12k Challenge

The 12 for 12k ChallengeThe 12 for 12k Challenge just got done with a Tweet-a-thon – On March 19th from 10am – 10pm est 12 for 12k successfully ran a tweet-a-thon raising $14,827.69 to help end child hunger. They are working to raise 12k a month for 12 months straight. Each month will be focused on raising money for a different nonprofit(s). They even got hundreds of people on Twitter to change their avatar to reflect the 12 for 12k logo!

Tweet-a-thon 2009

Tweet-a-thon2009 was sponsored by Joel Comm. The celebrity supported event was streamed live and put on to raise money for Water Is Life, a ministry that provides clean drinking water to villages in Kenya. Joel Comm says $13K was raised.

Dr. Mani Sivasurbramanian

This type of event was first done by Dr.Mani Sivasubramanian in 2008. The money was used to fund life-saving heart surgery for children in India.

A Powerful Noise Live

Another version of the “Tweet-a-thon” was done as recently as March 5th. A Powerful Noise Live – In honor of International Women’s Day each tweet raised 10 cents for CARE – in total $2,800 was raised!

5. Personal fundraising

Armano money raised for Daniells's Apartment FundFirst we have David Armano had a personal cause to raise money for a family he knew. He was only trying to raise 5K, but amazingly he helped raise over $16KArmano reflects a bit here on the entire experience and the power of “Neighborhoods”.

Next we have Laura Fitton who went on a mission to save children’s lives by bringing clean, safe drinking water to villages in need through charity:water. She used her powerful network on Twitter and helped raise $19,753.77 from 671 people! Amazingly this all started by her deciding to make a difference during the Christmas season, but understanding the economy was causing people to “tighten their belts”. She asked her entire Twitter network to donate $2 each.

So what’s the point?

The fundraising landscape continues to evolve and the technologies used to engage supporters online are exploding. A year ago you probably hadn’t heard of Twitter let alone FriendFeed. You were probably just beginning to see how Facebook could be used to engage people beyond family and friends. Now we’re seeing clever and creative uses of these tools to both engage online communities and raise money for worthy causes.

So what is the point? Traditional methods of fundraising still dominate for any nonprofit, but in my opinion you should be doing everything you can to learn about and use these new tools to help your organization continue growing. There’s an amazing new world going on in online communities. Your biggest supporters and fans are there. Why aren’t you?

Where are you taking your fundraising efforts? How are you innovating? Please share with us! And please help us spread the word!


Frank Barry, formerly worked at Blackbaud helping nonprofits use the Internet for digital communication, social media, and fundraising. He’s worked with a diverse group of organizations including LIVESTRONG, United Methodist Church, American Heart Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters, ChildFund Int’l, InTouch Ministries, Heifer Int’l, University of Notre Dame and University of Richmond. Along with writing for industry publications like Mashable and Social Media Today, Frank facilitates discussions, presents solo sessions and organizes panels for industry conferences such as NTC, SXSW, BBCon and numerous others. When he’s out and about he enjoys talking to interesting people about how they are changing the world – check out his interviews. Say Hi on Twitter – @franswaa or Google+

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