Donating with a Tweet

Published by Graeme Russell on

Often we see something like “Please donate a tweet a day to help …. “ followed by a link to a site where people have to sign-in with their twitter details, or give it permission to access their twitter account.

Often though organisations don’t explain how the ‘donated’ tweet helps, they say what it helps, but often not how it helps.

If a charitable organisation is looking at using something like “donate-a-tweet”, it would make sense, and help with the cause if they were to tell people how “donate-a-tweet” works. If an organisation were to do this it would give their friends, followers an insight into how much it can help.

Something that could help would be if organisations were to follow the following outline:

How does Donate tweet-a-day add benefit?

In simple terms – they help campaigns reach more people. The organisation tweets “donate a tweet-a-day”, their followers see the link and share it with their followers – soon the potential is there for it to go viral.

The more people who see the link, info and share it the higher the likelihood that people will give support in other ways to the organisation. It’s a numbers game.

As Greenpeace puts it “By donating a tweet each day, you help us reach more people, and more people means more Action. Simple.”

Organisation need to make it clear to people how it works. Just asking is not enough, we know this when we’re asking for money – if we ask for a dollar amount for a specific purpose we’re more likely to get the donation, if we just ask for help the money coming in is less. The same goes for “tweet-a-day” – if we tell people who it can help, we’re likely to see a higher uptake of this tool.

For organisations who haven’t used something like “donate a tweet”, simply put, with one tweet you can help your organisation reach all the followers of all the people who have donated tweets — and many of those people may never have seen a tweet from the organisation before. Not only does the ‘donated’ tweet help your organisation reach more people, it also has the added benefit of attracting new followers.

Tell people how it works, what they’ll need to do. Use a step by step guide if necessary – something on the lines of:

When you decide to donate a tweet, through a link such as JustCoz, you will be taken to a page and asked to login with your twitter account details, or allow it to access your twitter info. Signing-up means your twitter feed will automatically send out a tweet on our behalf once a day. For some these tweets are seen as spam, as noise. For others it’s seen as a great way to help spread the word and work of the organisation.

Once you’ve agreed to let an application to “donate-a-tweet” access you twitter account, you’ll have signed up to donate one tweet a day to the organisation –when you decide you no longer want to donate tweets, you can cancel out.

What the real return is anyone’s guess. It’s a numbers game – no different to the numbers game behind envelope or phone appeals, is it worth giving it a go? In short yes. Remember it helps raise awareness of your organisation and the work you do in your community.

A word of caution, when using anything automated like “donate-a-tweet”, you can run the risk of looking spammy to your followers, so take care not to send too many messages out asking for support. Vary them sure, ask in different ways, or don’t even ask at all – just say something like “it’s great to get support from so many people”.

The more you vary your messages the higher the chances you’ll have of being successful.

Are you using “donate-a-tweet”? Share your stories/thoughts in the comments section below.

Graeme Russell

Graeme runs Adage Business, a boutique agency providing assistance to the not-for-profit sector to help them get their message out, helping them be heard through traditional and online media. He's passionate about new opportunities to get clients messages to market. Working with the not-for-profit sector he helps ensure this group receives the exposure it may not normally get. Graeme has been using social media for many of his clients and has seen some startling results; he enjoys the fluidity and connectivity that social media is able to give and bring to a campaign. He says social media needs to be recognised as two way communication that allows anyone to connect, collaborate and converse across a wide range of topics.


Alex · July 26, 2011 at 23:41

Hi, that is great advice. When I made a donate-a-tweet system for the political party for the animals one of the first responses from some people was that it was like spam. Not because they didn’t like the tweets, but because if you ask your friends to donate a tweet too then your timeline will be filled with the same tweets. Justcoz.org and others are posting tweets almost at the same time, so that looks not good in the timeline. So with the system I developed I spread the posting of the messages during the day (within hours) and that works also to get the message more spread across the Internet. Because if you post the message within a short period then a person with same friends will see that once or not at all, but if you have spread the different posts during the day, that person have two chances to see the message. That worked very good. A lot of RT’s and clicks on the links were the results.

Graeme · July 31, 2011 at 05:42

Good point Alex, it doesn’t matter what we do online, whether it’s donate-a-tweet or anything else there’s a fine balance between posting and spamming. Timing is everything, if we can get this right we can reach more people, spread the message. The important thing is to let people know what’s happening without them getting ‘bored’ with the message and being turned off.

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