20 Tips for Nonprofits Using Twitter | npENGAGE

20 Tips for Nonprofits Using Twitter

By on Jul 14, 2011


This is a follow-up post to yesterday’s “10 Ways Your Nonprofit Can Use Twitter,” in which we talked about some of the many ways nonprofit can use social media networks, such as Twitter, as a communications vehicle to support their organization’s larger goals.

With that in mind, I asked some of my favorite people on Twitter to join me in sharing their favorite tips and resources, and with that, I share with you: 20 Tips for Nonprofits Using Twitter.

1 – Chris Tuttle

Senior Internet Solutions Consultant, Blackbaud | Follow @christuttle

ChrisTuttle: Crowdsource your Twitter network for ideas, tips, resources and feedback! #TwitterTips

2 – Heidi Massey

Community Builder and Technology Evangelist, CommunityConnective |

HeidiEKMassey: Set up lists to help streamline your followers. Make them public so others can use them too. #twittertips

2 – Melody Ann Ross

Freelance Partnership Cultivation Specialist |

submittedmelody: #TwitterTips Give your account personality! My volunteers are concerned about who they serve with and enjoying it. #SmileWithWords

3 – Will Coley

Aquifer Media |

WillColey: For easier reading, the best informational tweets are formulated like this: [message] [shortened link] via [source] [hashtag] #TwitterTips

4 – Jen Price

Fundraiser and nonprofit management advocate |

PhilanthropyInk: Using Twitter to engage nonprofit supporters? Share photos of org's impact. A picture is worth more than 140 characters. #TwitterTips

5 – Farra Trompeter

Vice President, Big Duck |

farra: Personalize your photo and bio to let people know who you are and what you tweet about. Be authentic and be yourself. #TwitterTips

6 – David Krumlauf

Chief Technologist, Pierce Family Foundation |

dkrumlauf: When retweeting a good post, it's better to add your own comment to make it more personal to your followers. #TwitterTips

7 – Danielle Brigida

National Wildlife Federation |

starfocus: Shhhhh...are you listening? Using Twitter to listen to what is resonating with people and sparking conversation is key. #Twittertips

8 – John Merritt

Vice President, Information Technology, YMCA of San Diego County |

johnmerritt: Messaging is great, but auto-responders are SPAM. Keep it real! #TwitterTips

9 – Kerri Karvetski

Company K Media | Follow @karvetski

karvetski: Filter your Twitter feed with @hootsuite Start with one of these 30 super useful #nonprofit hashtags http://ow.ly/5txXw #TwitterTips

10 – Shana Masterson

Lead Manager, Online Campaigns – National Brain Tumor Society |

npshana: Let your website visitors/email subscribers keep the conversation going by providing visible "Tweet This" options. #TwitterTips

11 – Steve Heye

Digital Content Services Manager, YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago |

SteveHeye: Learn to use adv. twitter search (http://on.mash.to/12jrbk) & find people to follow based on topic (not just friendscelebs) #twittertips

12 – Tania Little

Ideate Philanthropy |

tanialittle: Genuine, real, quirky, funny - just be YOU. That's what will bring in + keep meaningful followers. #TwitterTips

13 – Nancy Schwartz

Publisher-GettingAttention.org | President – Nancy Schwartz & Company |

NancySchwartz: Don't overstay your welcome. In most cases, tweet a max of 5 times a day (except in breaking news or twitter chat situations) #TwitterTips

14 – Jereme Bivins

Social Media Manager, The Foundation Center |

jcbivins: You may be speaking to a lot of people at once, but Twitter is still about blding relationships w/ individuals. #TwitterTips

15 – Will Coley

Aquifer Media | Follow @willcoley

willcoley: #Hashtags are essential #to most tweets #but too many #make #tweets #unreadable, especially to #newbies. Why complicate it? #TwitterTips

16 – Patrick Sallee

Director of Development, American Red Cross Kansas City Region |

patricksallee: Engage with people around a broad range of issues relevant to your mission, not just singular focus #twittertips

17 – Josh Stuart

JoshStuart.ca |

joshstuart: Decide on a voice, and use tools like @klout and @hootsuite to measure your results and improve engagement. #twittertips

18 – John Merritt

Vice President, Information Technology, YMCA of San Diego County | Follow @johnmerritt

johnmerritt: Follow back! Twitter is about making connections and building community. #TwitterTips

19 – Kerri Karvetski

Company K Media | Follow @karvetski

karvetski2: Who loves you baby? @listwatcher lets you know when you've been added to someone's Twitter list #TwitterTips

20 – Chris Tuttle

Senior Internet Solutions Consultant, Blackbaud |

christuttle2: If you're new to Twitter, follow the #TwitterTips hashtag by clicking "Save This Search" and learn from others.
What TwitterTips Do You Have?

Share your own Twitter Tips with others in the comments below or on Twitter by using the #TwitterTips hashtags.  It’s the community networking on Twitter that have made it such a successful social network, and hopefully you are part of it–learn from others and share your tips as well!


Comments (12)

  • SAU Library says:

    @SAULib uses Twitter to announce new books, DVD’s etc., events in the library & university, have created local hash tags during events for quick follow-up, announce weather road closures (we get a lot of snow!!), safe driving tips and info. for student, useful local area info. for new students/parents (before, during & after, new student orientation) nightlife, community, safety etc.  local area events, QR links (we use http://goo.gl/ for url shortening and QR links). And most importantly: Thanking as soon as someone starts ‘following’. ~Malavika

  • Don’t use DM as your sales pitch
    Doesn’t matter how many you tweet, what matters is your community finding your tweets helpful.

    Great collection of tweets :)thanks

    • Chris Tuttle says:

      Agreed, Prasant!  I was just talking with a bunch of social media folks in Toronto a couple weeks ago and we were all discussing how the sales-pitch oriented Direct Message simply encourages us to UNfollow them.  As do those that speak to me in a way that assumes they know who I am or why I’m following them… (eg; “I hope to be of help with your website”).

      And thanks for the compliment… really great group of contributors!

  • You asked, Chris, so…
    – Use metrics. Link-shorteners give click data to let you see what content resonates. Also look for patterns in which of your tweets get RTd.
    – Look at metrics that match your goals: Not just follow #s, but RTs, conversations, # of DMs, questions you get asked.
    – Don’t let Twitter distract you. Use an edit calendar and scheduling service (HootSuite, etc) to minimize your time investment.
    – But do check your feed often enough to engage with people who share and comment on your tweets or ask you questions.
    – Remember that social media doesn’t replace any other communications channel. They should all work together & complement each other.

  • Twitter is certainly a great resource to get out your message as well as help build a strong community around your mission. Since “be authentic” was mentioned a few times already, my tip to actually be more ‘real’ is to @ mention or converse with other users more than you actually post updates. 

    When you go to a cocktail party, you don’t talk for an entire 2 straight hours, you listen to what other people have to say, respond, and ask others questions about themselves — same goes with Twitter! 

    Also, share what other nonprofits are doing. This could be a great way to network and they’ll likely support and mention your efforts to their followers as well. 

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