Tweeting for Good – Engage the Crowd (pt. 2)

Part 2 of Tweeting for Good (Read Part 1: Tweet to be Retweeted)

Tweep Killer

Are you killing your tweets? Instead of engaging your tweeps are you shunning them?

The test

Any Twitter user should take this test:

1.     Click on your profile and look at a list of your tweets. What is the ratio of replies and retweets to ones you have written?

2.     When was the last time your CEO tweeted a picture of her dog?

Many non-profit organizations miss the point of Twitter as social media. Their profile timelines are merely a list of bland, often vague headlines and links to websites or videos. This type of usage merely turns Twitter into a list of PSAs and makes them a boring follow. And in the Twitterverse, boring = ignored.

By following a few principles, any charitable organization (or any tweeter) can greatly increase their influence.


One of the beauties of Twitter is that it is very easy to connect and to say thank you. With a click of a “follow” button, you immediately have the attention of most users. If a legitimate Twitter account follows your organization, follow them back. How do you track following such a large number of people?  Organize them into lists.

Participate in the rise of “Crowdfunding”

Joe Brewer from “Chaotic Ripple” states that “crowd funding is a community-engagement process between an individual or organization seeking money to create something new, and a crowd of supporters who want to participate in the effort in a meaningful way .” Organizations such as 33 Needs and Donors Choose are turning “large numbers of small donations into big bucks.”

I hear many enterprises claim that they simply don’t have time for Twitter. It would delight me if this was a new attitude for these NPO leaders, related to just technology — but it’s not. As a volunteer, board member and employee I have worked with countless organizations that have always kissed the feet of potential large donors while ignoring their grassroots base.

In 2009, the most recent year for which data is available, 75% of giving to charitable organizations was by individuals with single donations averaging around $150.  Social media such as Twitter present an unprecedented opportunity to engage large numbers of individual donors, particularly the Millennials and Generations X and Y.  We want our $150 to change the world. If a prominent activist talks back to a tweep, even just “Thx for the RT!”,  that tweep feels empowered.

Your daily Twitter habits should be to schedule and space out broadcast tweets about your organization and then replying to or retweeting any mentions you may have a few times a day. This has been covered in-depth elsewhere. In the article, “Where do you find time to tweet?” see how Aaron Lee engages a large number of Twitter followers during his busy day as a student and entrepreneur.

Say “Thank you” (or Thx or TU)

When someone retweets, replies or mentions your Twitter handle in a positive way, they are giving an endorsement of your organization. Think of the followers retweeting and mentioning  you as micro-blogging volunteers. Your volunteers would not stay engaged for very long with acknowledgement, and neither will your supporters on Twitter.

One of these “crowdfunding” organizations is Global Giving, a website where anyone can organize a fund to benefit projects anywhere in the world.  Since 2002, 179,303 donors have given $41,625,501 to 3,832 projects.  A look at Global Giving’s Twitter feed illustrates the best practices in community engagement.

One of Global Giving’s supporters, Cheap Ass Gamer, offered to match donations to Global Giving’s Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund up to $10,000 and met that goal in just two days. How many hours has your organization spent courting known potential $20,000 donors?  If they call, most likely you drop everything and answer. If a gaming forum administrator named @CheapyD follows you, you’d best be following him back.

Make it fun

One reason I’m addicted to Twitter is because I spend so much time laughing while I’m using it.  Usually, this occurs when I’m tweeting back and forth with everyday, ordinary individuals like myself, or reading tweets from my new favorite follow @BronxZoosCobra, the escaped snake that is now micro-blogging about his visits to destinations throughout New York City.

Crowdrise, another site where individuals can sponsor any charitable project, has the stated goal of making “fundraising so fun and addicting that everyone wants to do more of it. The power of the crowd is real, lots of small donations really do add up, and the Crowdrise community can have a monumental impact on causes around the world.” Crowdrise gives away a T-shirt a day on Facebook and Twitter and encourages users to send in pictures of themselves in Crowdrise gear but are “required to have seen ‘The Big Lebowski’ at least nineteen times.” @CrowdRise makes an interesting follow on Twitter and always says thank you.

Ultimately – it’s personal

Twitter is an important tool for engaging a large number of supporters on a personal level.  In less than 140 characters, you can immediately thank someone for their support. It is this personal engagement that turns followers into avid supporters. Twitter can be a fun medium, a break from stuffy galas and board meetings. So go ahead and let your tweeps get to know you: tweet a cute picture of your dog. Make sure you mention @ipaddenver or @twilidiot so I’ll be sure to see it. I’ll retweet — and I won’t be the only one.

Gretchen VaughnProfessionally, Gretchen Vaughn is a social media enthusiast and writes about the iPad for Examiner. She can be contacted on Twitter @ipaddenver or at

Personally, Gretchen is an avid Twilighter and conducts the Twilidiot’s Tuesday Twilight Trivia on Twitter contest. Follow @twilidiot from 9-11p ET to play. After connecting on Twitter through a mutual adoration of actor Robert Pattinson, she and @MelbieToast created designs to raise funds for relief organizations working in Japan. Please visit their store at

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