7 Twitter Tips for Non-Profits

Posted by on Sep 1, 2012 in ComLead, Integrated Marketing Communication, Managing Not-For-Profit Organizations

7 Twitter Tips for Non-Profits


With 200 million members and counting, Twitter is one place your nonprofit needs to be. Framed as an “information sharing” site – rather than a social network – Twitter has evolved into the best space online to broadcast your organization.

Sharing your news and ideas with your supporters in 140 characters or less is tricky, and very few people instinctively “get” Twitter when they start using the site. Tweeting to engage your audience, raise awareness and cultivate new donors and volunteers takes time and practice – and maybe a few mistakes along the way.

Despite the learning curve, Twitter is worth the plunge! Here are seven content tips to help your nonprofit tweet with the best of them:

1. Be a human

Today’s social media users are looking for real interactions and hate to feel they’re interfacing with a business robot. Tweet with confidence and a little flair so your followers can connect with your organization’s personality. This is important whether your Twitter account is a corporate effort or an employee’s individual account that represents the organization (i.e. @gatesfoundation versus @billgates). It may be convenient, but avoid automating your tweets at all cost. If you absolutely must autotweet, make sure they sound like they were written in real time.

Create the Good

2. Ask your tweeps!

Twitter is a natural platform for crowdsourcing your organization’s Next Big Thing. Ask your followers questions, look for inspiration and conduct research on twitter. They will love to get involved and feel like they’re taking part in your mission.

3. Take advantage of hashtags

If you’ve been on Twitter, you’ve seen them: hashtags are terms prefixed with a “#”. They categorize tweets to make topical searches easier. Used strategically and regularly, hashtags will make your account easier to discover and share. Simply spending some time reading new tweets and clicking through hashtags will help you get a handle on how they’re used.

Not sure which hashtags are relevant for your tweet today? Twitter posts a list of trending topics on the left pane of your home page. You can also check out this printable copy of SocialBrite’s “40 Hashtags for Social Good” for popular tags that will draw traffic to your tweets.

4. Share the scoop

More and more users turn to Twitter for breaking news, and you could be getting a piece of that pie! Occasionally share current stories that are relevant to your nonprofit’s cause, and don’t forget the event’s related hashtag. You’ll be showcasing your expertise and keeping your followers informed. World Vision does it well:


5. Retweet generously

Reposting another’s tweets may feel like a cop-out, but it’s an actually an important strategy. It shows your organization is on Twitter to connect with others, not just to broadcast your own news. Retweet from like-minded organizations, and they’ll feel your support (and probably return the favor!).

Make sure you know the difference between the two ways to retweet, and choose the style that works best for you. As long as the majority of your content is original, retweet to your heart’s content! Calling on followers to retweet is also a great strategy to raise awareness, like ONE did below:

6. Jump on the bandwagon

…the #themedaybandwagon, that is. Two weekly Twitter events your nonprofit could take part in are #charitytuesday and #followfriday (or simply #ff). Every Tuesday, individuals and organizations alike use the #charitytuesday hashtag to call attention to their favorite causes.

On #FollowFridays, join the twitterverse in recommending a handful of your favorite accounts. The earlier in the day you post your #ff tweet, the more likely those accounts are to see your recommendation and return the favor!

7. When in doubt: get inspiration

There are loads of nonprofits putting out great Twitter content every hour. When you’re stuck for what to say or how, a little inspiration might be just what you need to get the gears turning. Click on the images below (and throughout this post) to watch how expert nonprofits make the Twitter magic happen:

And let the crowdsourcing continue! What are your time-tested Twitter techniques?

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