Using Twitter for the Greater Good

Using Twitter for the Greater Good - #TwitterSmarter chat with Taylor Waldon, content startegist at GiveWP - October 29, 2020

Ah, ’tis the season, ain’t it?

As we all buckle up for the holidays, planning to stay put in our homes and only occasionally brave a cuppa at our local store, it’s also time to think about others and what they’re going through in what would’ve usually been happy times.

Though most of aren’t as badly affected by the pandemic, there are many among us who are, and would love a caring thought. That’s what the giving season is all about. To understand more about this and to learn how we can give back to our communities, we invited Taylor Waldon from GiveWP to talk about the greater good. GiveWP is a fundraising plugin for WordPress, designed specifically for nonprofit organizations. Here’s a summary of our chat.

Guest: Taylor Waldon from GiveWP
Topic: Using Twitter for the greater good
Format: Eight questions directed at the guest. Everyone’s welcome to share.

Q1: #GivingTuesday is coming up. What is it all about?

GivingTuesday falls on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in the United States. It’s a day dedicated to giving and caring for others during the season of high consumerism and self care. It’s a great way to pay it forward by donating to causes and nonprofits that matter to you.

If you work or volunteer for a nonprofit, have a look at this workbook GiveWP has put together. It’s a guide for nonprofits and charities to raise funds during this season.

Giving back doesn’t mean donating only money. As we heard from the official GivingTuesday handle itself, and Rachel from Express Writers, there are many ways to donate. Volunteering is a great way to show support, and so is sharing on social media or changing your display name to help promote a cause.

Whatever you can do, big or small, can make a difference.

Q2: How can individuals participate in #GivingTuesday?

As an individual or family, you can do various things around your local community to help nonprofit causes. For example, as our guest mentioned, you can gather physical goods to take to your community-based charities, talk to your friends and colleagues about a specific nonprofit you donate to or care about and provide ways for them to help, or start your own small fundraiser that you can later donate to your cause.

As Lance pointed out, the pandemic has uprooted the global economy. Nonprofits, that are usually strapped for funds and support, are some of the hardest hit organizations. Take some time out of your holiday plans this year and consider how you can support causes that are, in essence, the lifeblood of our society.

Giving back doesn’t have to be a complex process. In its simplest form, it can even come in the form of selling lemonade and cakes for funds. Or a garage sale. And the best part—it can be a fun activity for the whole neighbourhood. As long as everyone’s maintaining a healthy distance, of course. #SafetyFirst

Q3: How can a business participate in #GivingTuesday?

If you’re a business, on the other hand, aside from supporting on social media, you can also partner with a nonprofit to help raise funds, donate money as a brand, or let all employees take a day off to support and volunteer for causes close to their heart.

We heard from Big Orange Heart who said how much it means for them to partner with businesses. For a reasonably large brand to sponsor a cause or even make a donation isn’t a big deal. But having a business endorsement transforms into a massive show of support for nonprofits.

Ann suggested another great idea—takeovers. The concept of letting a third-party manage your social media handles for a day or week is a pretty popular marketing tactic nowadays. Though you often see business doing that with influencers as a self-promotional method, you can also translate that to GivingTuesday. Just let a local charity or nonprofit manage your social handle for a day as a way for them to gain the awareness they deserve.

Q4: What are some challenges that nonprofits and charities face when raising funds on social media?

Unfortunately, even in this age of high internet penetration, so many nonprofits and causes lack the resources to set up a proper and seamlessly-functioning donation page. This tends to turn off interested donors.

Another common challenge for a nonprofit is to stand out amongst the crowded social media space. Because they’re run by volunteers and often don’t have enough expertise or resources to execute the perfect marketing strategy like targeting the right audience or telling a compelling story, they can sometimes fall short of making the best impression.

Rachel also pointed out how it can be hard for nonprofits to ask for donations because they may be seen as demanding too much. What’s more, they also have to be mindful that a large portion of their high-profile donors may not be on social media. This means they have to split their focus and spend equal energy on online and offline efforts.

As social media users, it’s important for us to recognize the challenges that nonprofits face on a daily basis. When we know what they go through to support their communities, we’ll become more patient and understanding with them. The next time you come across a nonprofit’s donation page that’s missing an image or not loading on time, you won’t lose patience and click away. That’s why it’s important to empathize with their challenges.

Q5: Share some tips for nonprofits and charities for raising funds on Twitter.

Fist of all, if you work for a nonprofit or care about one, make sure that they’ve displayed their nonprofit status publicly. This can mean displaying a badge in their profile, adding it in their social display name, and emphasizing on their website. It’s important for people unfamiliar with the nonprofit to look at them and immediately understand who they are and what they do.

Also make sure that there are multiple ways for people to donate and support the nonprofit. This means having year-round donation links in addition to seasonal fundraising campaigns, social sharing buttons, specifying volunteering opportunities, and contact details for people to clarify questions.

 

Furthermore, take steps to protect potential donors from scammers. Share only direct links to your website donation page. Always provide a reason for people to donate and support you. Amplify your message with testimonials and volunteer stories, and be transparent about what you do and how far you’ve come in your fundraising journey.

Our friends from Biteable mentioned videos and how they can be a powerful way for nonprofits to share stories and raise funds. What’s more, Biteable also has templates to help you get started.

Kelly brought up the importance of being on social media throughout the year. Though this applies to all of us, it’s also specially important for nonprofits. It helps you find an audience for your cause and build relationships and credibility, which make fundraising easier.

Q6: Name some key points to remember when donating funds through Twitter.

There are a lot of scam website masquerading as nonprofits. Unfortunately, this is another big challenge community-focussed charities and nonprofits have to navigate. As Twitter users and potential donors, there are a few thing we should do as well.

For starters, do your research. Make sure you’re donating to an honest and charitable cause. And to help them spread their message, share your contribution on social media so that others can help too.

And as Gabriela also pointed out, if at any point you’re unsure of the nonprofit, don’t just close the website and forget it. Remember, nonprofits face a lot of technical and resource issues—maybe it’s just a small glitch. Always ask questions—probe them if you must. Real nonprofits will be happy to clarify your concerns patiently—they want to protect your account just as much as you do. Think of them as allies and don’t get defensive right away. But by all means, ask all the questions!

 

 

Q7: How do you distinguish between a genuine charity and a scam?

As I mentioned previously, research and ask questions. The best thing about the internet is that it’s open for you to delve deeper and understand who you’re dealing with. Our guest also recommended going through the nonprofit’s online resources to make sure they are legitimate, and you can also have a look at Charity Navigator, a nonprofit organization dedicated to help people donate to trustworthy charities.

Resonating with what I said earlier about building relationships, Shane explained that she’d be more comfortable donating to a charity she knows and trusts. And of course, to build that trust, you have to be present and engaging on social media throughout the year, and not two weeks before the big day.

You can also look for other verified social proof, as Smita suggested. Genuine organizations will have their online portfolio, registration details, and references publicly available so you can cross-verify.

Q8: What are some nonprofits/charities that use Twitter effectively to raise funds?

Taylor mentioned the official GivingTuesday handle and Big Orange Heart as two great organizations that effectively use Twitter to promote their causes.

Madalyn took us down the memory lane, mentioning the Ice Bucket Challenge which raised awareness for ALS and how the entire world took it up to support the cause. Thanks to Twitter and other social media, the cause achieved mammoth success.

Charles made a shout out to the World Central Kitchen and the work they do to reduce hunger issues in our communities.

Well, folks, that’s all from me this week. Thanks for reading and for more great insights from our chat with GiveWP’s Taylor, have a look at this Twitter Moment that Joana put together. And if you have some time to spare on Thursday, join us at 1pm ET for the next #TwitterSmarter chat.


About me, Narmadhaa:

I write all things—technical and marketing copy to fill the pocket; haiku and short stories to fill the soul. A social media enthusiast, I’m a member of the #TwitterSmarter chat crew, and always happy to take on writing gigs.

Say hello: Personal blog | LinkedIn | Twitter

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