Nonprofit’s Twitter Success and How it Can Work for You

As we enter into 2012, it is fair to say that social media can now be considered an extremely viable tool for nonprofit organizations. Whether utilizing the Facebook Causes application or creating Google+, an increasing number of nonprofits are using social media tools to raise awareness on a range of local, national or international charitable ventures. Micro-blogging resource Twitter is another increasingly influential medium amongst nonprofit ventures, especially those who favor succinct and purposeful calls to action. So who is best using Twitter to their advantage, and how can 140 character tweets make such a difference to your nonprofit venture?

Nonprofits That Took the Lead

In many ways, the American Red Cross has blazed the trail for other nonprofits to follow when it comes to Twitter and social media. After the Haiti earthquake in 2010, Twitter became inundated with messages of support from across the globe. This prompted the American Red Cross to adopt the medium to create a generally informative and engaging online presence. Aside from providing regular tweets informing of natural disasters and disclosing information for preparedness, the American Red Cross also used Twitter to enter into conversations with potential volunteers and beneficiaries.

There is little doubt that the efforts of the American Red Cross helped to change the perception of social media users, as well as encouraging other nonprofits away from the practice of posting promotional tweets that sought donations. The Make-a-Wish Foundation certainly heeded these lessons and shares its mission of granting wishes to terminally ill children through a purposeful and active Twitter stream. It is focused on genuine conversations between beneficiaries and benefactors alike, and it is this honest and compassionate communication that gives substance to what the organization is striving to achieve.

Making Words Count

Both of these Twitter accounts have had a significant impact on the profile of each nonprofit, largely because they have understood the unique qualities of Twitter and the importance of language in building genuine interest in a cause or venture. For example, the American Red Cross have built a Twitter stream that is driven by succinct messaging, with every tweet designed to inform or offer value to the reader. In short, the organization makes every character and word count when conversing with its followers, as they seek to improve lives rather than bombard Twitter users with a barrage of promotional text.

While the truncated and succinct sentences demanded by Twitter are derided by some, they have been turned into a definitive advantage by the Make-a-Wish Foundation. It uses everyday language and terminology to create genuine conversations between volunteers and followers, which makes the organization’s cause far more accessible and easier to empathize with. It is similar to the way in which the child-focused medical nonprofit Operation Smile utilizes a friendly and casual style of communication to speak with its audience, focusing on portraying the warmth and gratitude felt by the group towards all who share in its mission.

The Bottom Line for Nonprofits

The American Red Cross, the Make-a-Wish Foundation and Operation Smile prove is that using Twitter effectively can be extremely beneficial for any nonprofit. However, it’s important to understand the principles of micro-blogging and how best to engage an audience with short and purposeful messaging. For any nonprofit to prosper in the world of Twitter and other social media outlets they must be sure to make every single world count, and create conversations that are rich in honesty and also provide genuine value for those who read them.

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  • Make-A-Wish America

    Thanks for your kind words regarding our Make-A-Wish Foundation Twitter! I really appreciate your take on our voice in sharing our mission.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for reading and commenting on our work. It was a pleasure to cover the activities of the Make a Wish Foundation and share their mission with our readers.