What Twitter Can Teach You About Nonprofits

What Twitter Can Teach You About Nonprofits


Twitter has brought many causes to the main stage over the past few years. Twitter became an outlet for people to rally behind a cause and bring light to issues that normally would go unnoticed. Nonprofits from every sector now use Twitter to market their cause to the public and potential donors.

Social media has helped level the playing field for nonprofits of all sizes and have also served as a new opportunity to creatively market themselves and engage with different communities. Nonprofits now have the opportunity to shine and connect with audiences like never before.

In San Antonio, a great example of organizations utilizing social media for their cause is through The Big Give S.A. Hosted by The Nonprofit Council and the San Antonio Area Foundation, The Big Give S.A. is a 24 hour period of giving, where residents can go online and donate as little as $10 to an organization of their choice. Many organizations utilized social media to spread the word and encourage their followers to give BIG! First, let’s show some good national campaigns that really highlight the use of good social media campaigns.

Nonprofits Who Do It Right

Oceana, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting the world’s oceans, has a great understanding of how to speak to and engage with their audience. Oceana capitalizes on the use of powerful visuals to attract supporters’ attention. 

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The use of powerful imagery can appeal to many supporters and help you raise awareness for your cause, especially on Twitter, where you only have 140 characters to say your message. With a powerful image, you can fit thousands of characters into one tweet.


Powerful visuals are one aspect of social media that you want to master to ensure your content is both informative and resonates with your audience.


Social Media as a Way to Raise Money

Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge? The viral phenomenon was shared primarily via social media and helped raise over $100 million for ALS research in 2014.

In 2013, the ALS Association (ALSA) brought in just $23 million. Compare that to 2014, where the Ice Bucket Challenge brought in $115 million, accounting for a 400 percent increase in money raised. These fundraising numbers are almost unheard of for the ALSA.


ALSA helped allocate more than two-thirds of funds raised to five different areas of research ranging from gene discovery, disease model development, identification of biomarkers, clinical trials and drug development. Many of the Ice Bucket Challenge videos were shared over Twitter and challenges from famous celebrities accumulated thousands of shares.


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The Big Give S.A. Encourages People to Give BIG

As mentioned before, The Big Give S.A. held annually in  May is a major local success story. Social media engagement is a leading way participating nonprofits encourage the public to donate to their causes during The Big Give S.A.

With some very creative social media campaigns, nonprofits in the San Antonio area raised thousands of dollars for their cause during The Big Give S.A. Over 800 nonprofits from Atascosa, Bandera, Bexar, Comal, Frio, Gillespie, Guadalupe, Karnes, Kendall, Kerr, Medina and Wilson County participated in the event. During The Big Give S.A., 26,774 total people donated during the 24-hour period of giving with an average donation of $101 with a $4,507 average amount raised per organization.


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Twitter played a pivotal role in making The Big Give S.A. a huge success. At the conclusion, organizations were able to share their results during the 24-hour giving period, in order to attract more donors. The Nonprofit Council surpassed their goal of raising $4 million during the annual day of giving.


Putting It All Together


When navigating the social media world, it’s easy to get lost in all the noise and daily chatter that happens. The key to establishing your presence and making your message heard is engaging with your audience in ways that make you seem human. People like engaging with people and feeling like their needs were met or their voice was heard. Lacking a voice on social media? See how the team at esd & associates can help your nonprofit organization establish your social media presence.

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