Tweeting for Nonprofits

Twitter is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms in the world. It is a tool to send short messages, of 140 characters or less, to your followers. What can you say in just 140 characters? As it turns out, quite a lot!

Twitter is a great platform to use to raise awareness for an organization/cause. Remember that on Twitter, thinking out loud is encouraged. The best way to start writing engaging Tweets is simply to start. Be human, be responsive and be humorous. Get creative and use engaging media, like photos and Vine videos (Twitter’s video. Practice makes perfect. Also, remember that keeping a positive tone works wonders.

What to tweet

  • Things people care about
  • People’s stories. They make the tweet personal, so people connect to them.
  • Quotes and empowering messages
  • Promote your cause, also linking to the other organizations
  • Create Conversation by creating discussion through your tweets.
  • Ask questions
  • Focusing on one topic for a week or naming a day like “Fundraising Friday”. Make sure that the topic has a unique and interesting title so that you can create a catchy hashtag.
  • Call to Action: “Please check out our latest video” or “please retweet”


  • Thank your followers for their support and for their tweets.
  • Include Links to videos, articles, and events. Remember you can shorten the links using Bitly or Tinyurl.
  • Regular daily tweet: Maybe a tip or quote of the day


Hashtags are a very simple way to participate on Twitter. A hashtag is a word preceded by a hash (#) which is embedded in a tweet to emphasize and highlight important words or phrases, and to show the subject or context of the tweet.

  • Check hashtags regularly and see if there are any that relate to your cause and tweet using that hashtag.
  • Create your own hashtags that are catchy, unique, and related to your organization.
  • Hashtag the name of your event or certain phrases or terms that matter to your organization.

Take advantage of the events around you. Like Hurricane Sandy and the Oklahoma tornadoes most events have a designated hashtag connected to them (#prayformadiba #budgetspeech or #obamainSA), tweet using such hashtags or create your own linked to events.


  • Retweet your @mentions
  • Leave enough characters in your tweet so that people can retweet them.
  • Choose a retweet format, the best is to include the reply in the retweet


Use software like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck to make tweeting easier. With these apps, you can schedule your tweets to appear around the clock or at times you prefer.

Live tweet

Don’t be afraid to live tweet your events. It makes people feel like they are at the event. Tweet photos, quotes and other interesting things taking place


Follow related causes and people and engage with them. Search for charities, organizations or individuals you can relate to and follow them.


Come up with a themed day every week where you focus on one thing (e.g. #FundaraisingFriday), or a “Tip of the Day”. Creating a routine also helps people get involved and prepares them to participate.

In the days before the event tweet things like “Don’t forget that tomorrow is #fundraisingfriday, tell your friends!”

Follow Friday

Follow Friday is a way people recommend their followers in their tweets to other followers to follow on twitter. Look for interesting people and accounts and start recommending. Most people will be gracious enough to follow back.

Who to Follow

It is very necessary to know what is happening in the non-profit world, so you should keep up to date with popular non-profit Twitter accounts. Here are a few below:

What is Twitter?

“Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co-workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?”

One of the best features of Twitter is its ease-of-use — because it can be installed on your mobile phone, you can simply login in whenever you have a few moments to spare and send out a few tweets.

Twitter, however, is only as interesting as the people you follow. So make sure you find and follow interesting people and interesting conversations. Many South African journalists and Members of Parliament and NGOs are on Twitter, as well as a host of regular South Africans engaged in daily discussions.

For starters, here are some nonprofits that are using Twitter very effectively. Take a look at the tweets, and decide if this kind of forum is one that would be useful for your organization:

The following is condensed from an article from Nonprofit Tech 2.0.  It’s the fundamental point is this: you need to stop thinking of Twitter as merely a medium in which you market your products or services.  Think of it instead as a tool to market your brand. To do this, it is essential that you get retweeted often.

Five Types of Nonprofit Tweets Guaranteed to Get Retweeted

There is a time and place for marketing pitches on Twitter. Unfortunately, many nonprofits tend to think that is multiple times daily (some even every hour on the hour), but that only results in a lot of  Twitter clutter and in most cases a colossal waste of time for your nonprofit.

Why getting retweeted is so important, it is simply this: If you want your community to grow on Twitter beyond those that followed you from a link on your website, blog or e-newsletter, your goal should be to get retweeted so your avatar and your content gets forwarded to Twitterers outside of your small corner of the Twitterverse

1) Powerful stats that speak to your mission and programs.

2) Quotes that inspire social good.

3) Well-formatted, easy to read factual tweets.

4) Position statements spoken with clarity and conviction.

5) Tweets that tap into the #BreakingNews cycle.

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