How To Get People to Donate Through Twitter

This question recently came over the blog from Savanna, Georgia:

I have recently set up a twitter account for our organization and was wondering why/how people who do not follow us are able to “retweet” for us? Also, i haven’t been able to add a website link. How can we get people to donate through twitter?

I haven’t been answering too many questions lately about Twitter, because everyone is so focused on Facebook! So I appreciate this opportunity to talk about Twitter.

First off, ANYONE can “retweet” your Tweets. And you WANT them to! If you tweet, and I see it, I can retweet it. I can retweet it plain, or I can add my own comment, like “please support this great organization!” at the end.

Keep in mind that if I do this, I am not tweeting AS your organization–nobody can do that unless they have your login information (and of course, you want to keep that private!). But anyone can @reply or RT your tweets. This is how everyone shares links, photos, videos and other information on Twitter!

Now, placing a website link on Twitter. You can put your website URL in your Twitter profile–it asks you for several things like your location (City/State), gender, brief “about us” statement and your URL. So you can definitely put it there, and that way if someone clicks on your profile to learn more about you, they’ll see your URL and be able to click on it.

Unfortunately, there is no way to put your URL anywhere on your Twitter page itself that people can click on it. Even if you make a custom Twitter background, you can put the URL there, but it’s just going to be part of an image–it won’t be clickable. That is just a limitation of Twitter. Who knows, it may change someday!

Fundraising on Twitter! Big question. I think I will tackle this further in another post, but the keys would be:

Be specific, just as in any other social media. Twitter is timely, so ask for things that you need NOW, like TODAY. For example, I often ask for supplies (batteries, paper towels, etc.) right before the lunch hour, because people often drop by the store on their lunch break to pick up supplies and drop them off. Asking for specific things at specific times makes it easy for people.

Say thank-you. Twitter makes that easy, too–you can call out certain people and thank them!

Again, as with other social media, you need to have a relationship with people on Twitter BEFORE you start asking. Twitter is not a broadcast medium, it’s a a conversation, even if your sentences are only 140 letters long!

On his blog, The Fundraising Coach, Marc A. Pitman writes:

“Twitter isn’t the point. Relationships are the point. Relationships are always the point. The most basic of fundraising secrets is that people give to people. Twitter is simply one more tool to help people connect with each other.”

That means there’s no magic secret–you have to put in the time to listen more than you talk, build relationships with people, and then ask!

That being said, an enormous amount of money has been raised by nonprofits on Twitter! Read about Tweetsgiving, which raised more than $11,000 in 24 hours!

You can also read a great post by Beth Kanter about fundraising on Twitter–I would suggest you subscribe to Beth’s Blog if you’re interested in nonprofit social media as well.

Here are a few other great links to post you might want to read about Fundraising on Twitter:

1o Tips for Successful Twitter Fundraising (interesting idea…I wonder if it works?)
Micro Fundraising on Twitter: Red Kettle Campaign, Wellwishes cracks $2,000 mark (another from Beth Kanter’s blog)

I’ll collect more stories of success and good ideas, and I’ll share them here! Readers–do you have good ideas? What has worked for your organization?


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I'm available via most social media, so drop me a line! I'll answer your questions and I really look forward to hearing from you and helping if I can!

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