Recently, in a Twitter™ chat hosted by TechSoup, a participant asked how she could justify the use of Twitter™ to her board. Another person asked how understaffed nonprofit organizations could possibly find time to spend on Twitter™.
The answer is that you really can’t afford not to, for several reasons:
Money talks! While money isn’t the end all, be all, there is money to gained from using Twitter™. Recently, the Colorado organization Trees Water and People won $25,000 from Chase Giving in large part because of their presence on Twitter™. Kids in Need of Dentistry earned a $20,000 grant from Toms of Maine that they would not have even known existed if it were not for Twitter™. They gained votes from friends on Twitter™ and were one of the smallest organizations in the running for the $20,000 grant. We have seen organizations win many contests and also receive donations for Colorado Gives Day.
The Twitter™ audience has expectations. Twitter™ has millions of avid users who have an expectation that their favorite organizations will be on Twitter™ just as Facebook users expect to find you there as well. We have seen Twitter™ users ask where they can find an organization on Twitter™, only to learn the organization is not there.
Losing control of your brand. This is a bit scary and very similar to what happens when you are trying to buy a URL for your organization. Someone else is already using your name. What’s more is that people on Twitter™ are talking every day about organizations – maybe even yours – and you don’t know about it. We also see individuals who are supportive of certain nonprofits and tweeting things about you, but they are not representatives of the organization.
Knowledge to be gained. We cannot even tell you the enormous amount of information you might be missing about your cause! There are consultants, foundations, think tanks, news outlets, experts, etc. from all over the country and the world that have valuable information they are sharing that can benefit you. You can also learn so much from other organizations and how they are using social media.
Your competitors are already there. Nobody really likes to use the word competition in the nonprofit world, but let’s face it, competition exists for many reasons. There are limited resources for one and also because some organizations exist because older organizations were not serving the needs of the constituency in some ways. Those organizations are tweeting away, garnering support for causes very similar to yours. They are reaching your audience while you are still producing paper newsletters to send to people who already know you.
Constituents use Twitter™. Every day, there are hundreds of people on Twitter™ who are impacted by the problem your organization addresses in some way or who need your services. People from all ages and economic backgrounds are using Twitter™ and they may be looking for you. We have also seen constituents who have given testimonials for organizations that have helped them.
Where else can you make new friends with such brief communication? Twitter™ is unique because you can “follow” and be “followed” by thousands of people you could never otherwise reach. All it takes is some time, effort and 140 character tweets about what you are doing.
Yes, you say, we understand all this – but we have no time to devote to Twitter™!
Think about finding a devoted volunteer who can help you or add this task to the job description of your development staff or community outreach coordinators. If you use a volunteer, be sure they have instructions from you about what they can tweet and make sure they use your company name and logo.
If you can’t do that let us help you – Our new service
Commulinks of Colorado has a new service to do it all for you. Our extremely affordable services for nonprofits will take care of all of it while you continue to do what you need to do. We will set up your account, tweet for you, cross-promote your organization, respond to people on Twitter™ and participate in events that impact you. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you are price sheet. We want to work with organizations that need a little extra help to achieve these goals, so you don’t need to be concerned that we will hound you if you ask for our price sheet. We have a proven track record and will get you going right away if you need us.