Twitter for Fundraising can twitter be used for fundrasing??

In preparation for my panel talk tomorrow night I decided to compile a list of ways I have seen twitter used for fundraising, and a short summary of my thoughts around each one.

by @johnpiercy

by @johnpiercy

Seven Ways to Fundraise:

1. HoHoTO – This “holiday party that twitter built” was a grass-roots twitter-led fundraiser for the Toronto Daily Food Bank. We used twitter and other social networks to get the word out, sell the tickets, allow people to make donations, and engage the community in various ways. The party was streamed live, people could request songs, twitter about the event (we had two huge screens to display the twittering), bring their ideas forward prior to the event, add their photos to the HoHoTO Flickr pool, jump on board as organizers and sponsors, and just be creative – the open-source way. The cause was local, organizing committee was solid and some members (like @rhh) were very well known and respected in the tech community, timing was right, and the community wanted it. Timelines were tight, but we tried to make it work for us. This also helped to address constant HoHoTO twittering. There was just a lot going on!

2. Tweetsgiving  – OMG, it is still accepting donations! Fantastic example of a creative fundraising effort that raised $10,000 in 48 hours to build a classroom at the school in Tanzania.

3. Twestival – is a recent example of international fundraising efforts via twitter. All cities were provided with guidelines, branding, and other tools to put together this somewhat franchised event, raising $ for charity:water. The challenge for the organizers was to make it fit the community, and make it more local, – wasn’t easy give the international/remote cause. Which is why they had a bit of difficulty getting the word out in the beginning. Twestival showed that even if things don’t spread as wildfire right away, and you keep working it, the effort is not lost.

4. @Armano‘s #Daniela was an amazing success story and demonstrated the value of having a strong support network. People are currently better at building such networks than organizations (at least on twitter), so it is even more important to get people like @armano on your side. @armano = every twitter user. Potential downfall is exhausting your network. It is hard enough to build a community so that when the time and oportunity come to leverage what you built, evaluate the pros and cons. Is there any other cause you would do this for? How can you make it work? Would you do the same if you knew you couldn’t ask for anything else for at least another year?

Beth Kanter‘s Send A Young Cambodian Woman To College campaign. Beth Kanter gives so much to the community that anything she asks can hardly be ignored. Yet she is humble and careful to not ask too much or too often.

6. The Frozen Pea Fund (also see is another phenomenal success story. Twitter avatars with pea theme that came to be known as “peavatars”, helped spread the message and became a symbol of fight against breast cancer. The story of peas was compelling enough to gather support for the cause and generate medi coverage no one thought possible.

7. @mrsrosey - “follow me and I’ll donate campaign on Twitter to support Breast Cancer” (currently at 11 followers, down from 170) – for more, see Beth Kanter’s post. This one generated a lot of controversy. Nobody seemed to know much about the woman with a relatively new twitter account, who pledged to give $10 for each new follower she gets to charity. There was no confirmation of this campaign on the charity’s site, some thought this was a lame way to attract new followers, others thought she was creative in her fundraising approach. However, little is known about the results of this campaign. Currently, @mrsrosey is down to 11 followers. Her profile page isn’t personalized and the account looks abandoned. The approach used had a potential to generate results, but the trust wasn’t there and that seemed to bring the end of what looked like a creative effort.

Lessons learned:

1. Engagement is more powerful and valuable than $.
2. Build trust. More transparency is better. Let people know what you are doing, why you are doing it, when, where, and how. Prove it with documenting your actions or reporting on your progress. Showcase your digital assets (photos, videos, etc.) that help make your point more transparent, human and clear.
3. Who you are matters. Be clear on your identity and your connection to the charitable cause or a non-profit you are supporting. If you can, get acknowledgment of your efforts on their site, so that people know you are legitimate.
4. Prove it.  Show people where you want your donations to go and how much you have already raised. Especially if it is a personal campaign. If you are in Canada, use to do this, and you will be taken seriously not look like a fraud.
5. Say THANK YOU and keep in touch with your community. Nurture and grow what you have, like you would care for your dream garden. Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin are just your gardening tools.

Tools used:

Do you know of any other examples of twitter fundraising? What caught your attention? Did you participate?

3 thoughts on “Twitter for Fundraising

  1. Pingback: Twitter: An engagement tool, not a fundraiser ticket-seller « Trina's Nonprofit Blog

  2. Twitter can place users at the centre of it all, because everyone has a part in the conversation.

    I think that if people feel like stakeholders in a project, they tend to offer more help and draw others to the cause. In this case Twitter, and Social Media in general, offers many opportunities for fundraising.

  3. Pingback: Twitter: An engagement tool, not a fundraiser ticket-seller > the good life | by Trina Isakson

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