Twitter For Non Profits and Charities: Best Practices
Running a worthy cause and want to get your word out in the most engaging way? If yes, you should definitely try out Twitter for non profits.
You’re probably already familiar with Twitter but did you know that you can use it to reach out to more people and get them interested in your cause?
Some of the biggest charities and non profits in the world are effectively using their Twitter channel for branding and marketing purposes. Yet I see a good number of charities are still struggling to find their way with it. So here are my top tips and examples on how to make use of Twitter for non profits.
1. Plan your Content
When using Twitter for non profits, think about what you will tweet about well in advance. You need to have a strategic plan for tweeting your messages. Plan your content using a content calendar. You can decide ahead what you will tweet in the next couple of weeks. A content calendar is great for this as it keeps you aware of what is to be sent out and when.
Make sure you have your organization’s calendar of events with all the events clearly marked. This will give you a chance to tweet about an event before it happens, creating some hype about it.
Use the events calendar to create your editorial calendar. An editorial calendar will help you to come up with interesting topics to tweet about. As you plan your content, make sure you also assess what excites your audience, then use this knowledge to create content that are more likely to engage with.
2. Write Awesome Tweets
This infographic by The White Fuse Blog gives the perfect guidelines on how you can craft awesome tweets for your non profit organisation.
3. Tweet Often
Keeping your Twitter feed active is a good way to keep your audience informed and interested in your activities. Remember, the use of Twitter for non profits is to inform, educate, entertain and give your audience a reason to get involved in your cause. This will require you to tweet often.
If you hold charitable events often, use this as your content. It will be nice to show people behind-the-scenes activities of your charitable event. You could also live tweet the event as it happens. This will keep people aware of some of your activities that may be of interest to them and they could actually join you for your next event.
You can also share information with your audience about what your organization’s supporters have done or about new supporters for your cause. Don’t forget to let people know how they can get involved in your cause.
Most charities will use this platform to just inform their audience about what they are doing but they forget the most important aspect of community engagement, letting people know how they can also help.
4. Tweet Information about Your Cause
The one question everyone has when they encounter a charity is; “What cause is your organization advocating for?” Use Twitter to inform people what your organization is all about. You can do this by explaining your cause in simple terms on your Twitter bio and through your Twitter visual content such as profile photos and headers.
You should also tweet often about your cause and information related to your cause. You obviously want people to know about what your charity does, so educate them through your tweets. If you are running a funds drive for a particular cause, let your followers know and invite them to contribute.
Habitat for Humanity does a good job tweeting about their activities as you can see in this tweet. If you take a look at their timeline you will in just a few tweets understand all about their cause.
5. Share your Success Stories
If you want to appeal to the charitable side of your audience, let them know about the success of your activities. People will want to be part of your success stories. Success stories not only make your organization more visible but appeal emotionally to your audience and gives them hope that somebody somewhere is doing something about a problem in the society.
When people are able to see your organization’s success, they will definitely want to be part of this success and they will have more reasons to contribute to your cause even through donations.
@MakeAWish does a fantastic job to fulfill the wishes of terminally ill people and they also do a good job of letting the world see the fruits of their cause through their Twitter account.
Make sure you retweet success stories shared by your followers. This gives your cause more credibility.
6. Use the 60-30-10 Rule
This rule explains that for Twitter to be effective for your organization, you need to categorize the number of messages that you send out to your followers. The rule recommends that 60% of the content should be on retweets or information from other users and sites, 30% should focus on engaging with your audience through responses and conversation and the remaining 10% should be announcements and events.
Don’t make all your communication all about you. Include other people who are also important in pushing for the same cause as you. You will achieve this goal through an effective Twitter for non profits content calendar.
7. Expand Your Reach Through Influencers
Find people who are popular on Twitter and approach them to get on board with your cause. Interact with influencers relevant to your cause by retweeting their content especially if it’s related to your cause. Use these people to spread awareness of any upcoming events. It would be great if you’d get them to attend these events.
You can also research on popular people on Twitter who may have already shown interest in your cause and make them part of your influencers. Twitter for charities gains a huge boost when influencers are involved. When you partner with influencers give them a mention on Twitter as you can see on this tweet by @FairTradeUSA
Again, this gives people a reason to desire to get involved in your cause when they see that people they are familiar with are also part of your cause.
8. Integrate Hashtags in your Messages
Twitter hashtags are a perfect way to increase awareness about your cause. You can use popular hashtags or create your own and use them in relevant tweets.
There are people who want to help but they are not sure which organization to work with. Such people will turn to Twitter and use hashtags to find relevant charities. It is therefore important that you use easy and catchy hashtags that are more effective and easy for new followers to find you.
Another approach is to use trending hashtags and tie them to your tweets and retweets. Find a clever way to link the hashtag and your tweet to avoid any situations of followers misunderstanding you. Hashtags also enable the organization to track conversations around their cause.
@WFP used this trending hashtag perfectly!
9. Interact with Your Community
If you want your Twitter for non profits strategy to work, it is a must that you engage with your Twitter community. Interact with your audience through engaging content and questions or Twitter polls that relate to the work you do.
@dosomething used interaction in this tweet to invite their followers to contribute to the guns out of schools debate they were running. You can also something similar to call upon your audience to raise money for your cause or to publicize an agenda that you are advocating for.
Questions will be asked, clarifications and suggestions put forward. By interacting with your audience, you get to respond to such issues. Have a system or plan on how you respond to messages on Twitter. Again, engaging with your audience makes them feel part of your organization.
10. Appreciate Your Community
Even though most people take part in causes simply because they want to make the world a better place, most of us want to know that our help is appreciated. So find ways of saying thank you to your people who take part in making your cause a reality.
This could be thanking them for their participation, raising awareness or raising donations. Send a direct message to thank a follower personally or just tweet a public thank you for all your followers efforts. This will make them feel valued and give them motivation to continue participating in your organization’s activities and even convince their family and friends to take part too.
@DiabetesUK created a special tweet for one of their fans who got involved in one of their events.
11. Be Human
Although you are using Twitter for a serious reason and providing people with useful information, developing and showing your charity’s personality will help keep followers and gain more Twitter engagement.
Try and use some humor in some of your tweets to keep your fans interested. If all of your tweets are just about facts, your engagement will be less. So make sure you find the right balance.
@ONECampaign used a perfect gif to celebrate Twitter’s 10th anniversary gaining them a good number of likes and retweets.
— ONE (@ONECampaign) March 21, 2016
12. Optimize Your Keywords
Make it easy for followers to find you on Twitter by making sure that your organization’s name is in your profile as well as a link to your organization’s website. Don’t also forget to include keywords on your profile.
@HRC bio is a perfect example of how to write a good Twitter bio. See how they use hashtags?
13. Upload Visual Content
Visual content has more effect than written content. Share photos and videos of past events or your volunteers and employees at work. Ensure that the photos are interesting and that the videos are not too long.
Visual content is great for appealing to your audience to do something and be part of the change that you are advocating for.
@CARE created a very touching video on World Water Day that captured the message of the day perfectly.
— CARE (care.org) (@CARE) March 22, 2016
@WWF is a good example of charities that use visuals to tell about their events.
14. Use Custom Images for Statistics and Quotes
The The American Foundation for Equal Rights consistently tweets important statistics and quotes related to criminal justice reform and they have perfected the art of using visuals to explain statistics or to share quotes.
Images tend to receive higher engagement rates than plain text tweets. Custom images are easier to understand and will therefore be of more interest to people on Twitter.
Using Twitter for non profits is an easy and fun way to champion for your causes. Don’t just use it to ask for donations and participation from your followers. Engage in conversations with your followers and give them timely and concise feedback.
Are you using Twitter for non profits? What are the challenges you face ? Let us know and together we can find solutions!