This post was updated on 4/28/20 to offer new examples from nonprofit Twitter accounts along with the latest best practices.
Just because your nonprofit does amazing things doesn’t mean that’s all you should talk about on Twitter.If you use Twitter even semi-regularly, you’ve probably had this experience:
You come across an organization you’re really excited to follow. You love their mission and the work they do. Then you glance through their Twitter stream. And you’re greeted with an endless barrage of requests for donations, plugs for upcoming events and an occasional request to Like them on Facebook. As your excitement wanes, you close the stream, disappointed.
Your followers deserve more from you than unending appeals for help, even if you’re trying to pull off a last-minute Giving Day campaign. Here are a few types of Tweets your nonprofit should drop into the mix.
Links to Resources Related to Your Mission
Sharing content created by others is an excellent way to mix up what you share on Twitter. Make sure it’s relevant to your mission so that you’re offering value to your followers. For an added bonus, mention the content producer by Twitter username (complete with the @ symbol). That way they’ll be notified you’re sharing their content and will be more likely to engage with your nonprofit.
— UNICEF (@UNICEF) August 18, 2013
— NRDC 🌎🏡 (@NRDC) August 18, 2013
Retweet Info Shared by Others
Similarly, retweet content shared by others that’s relevant to your mission and offers value or interesting insights to your audience. Retweeting helps you share helpful content without taking a ton of your time, and it’s an easy way to share your nonprofit’s media coverage. Posting a retweet also notifies the account you retweeted, increasing the likelihood they’ll check you out.
— American Red Cross (@RedCross) August 16, 2013
— STL Public Radio (@stlpublicradio) August 19, 2013
Relevant Current Events
There’s likely news related to your mission happening all the time. Share it with your followers. Tell them your thoughts on what’s going on. Provide them resources to understand the situation better.
— National Wildlife Federation (@NWF) August 18, 2013
— The Trevor Project (@TrevorProject) August 19, 2013
Celebrate Your Supporters
Don’t just talk about how amazing your organization is. Talk about how amazing your supporters are. Your donors, volunteers and advocates enable you to do all those things you do in your community. So share their impact via Twitter. (And consider leveraging their enthusiasm as social media ambassadors!)
— AbleGamers Charity (@AbleGamers) August 19, 2013
Links to Your Content
It’s fine to promote yourself as well, driving social media traffic to your website. But instead of simply asking for money or volunteers, provide links to valuable content on your website. Maybe it’s a new blog post. Or a resource you have on your site. Whatever it is, make sure it’s valuable to your Twitter followers before posting it.
— edutopia (@edutopia) August 18, 2013
Have short snippets of compelling data? Twitter is an excellent place to share it. Make sure it’s simple and easy to understand, like sharing a simple graphic. If appropriate, provide a link to a relevant resource where your followers can learn more.
— Gates Foundation (@gatesfoundation) August 19, 2013
— No Kid Hungry (@nokidhungry) August 19, 2013
A Glimpse into Your Work in the Community
Many of your supporters can’t join you in the community you serve. But you can use Twitter as a way to give them a glimpse of what your work in the community looks like. Share compelling photos and videos of your organization in the field. This type of content can be a great way to rally support for your nonprofit and the work you do.
— Doctors w/o Borders (@MSF_USA) August 19, 2013
“Today, I passed on not only a heifer, but also the knowledge and technology that I’ve learned,” said Haijun. http://t.co/1J1BjtvDX2
— Heifer International (@Heifer) August 17, 2013
Use Twitter to share stories of those you serve. This can be a great way to spark interest in your mission and the work your organization does on a daily basis. Sometimes it can be as simple as sharing a single photo.
— Water.org (@Water) August 18, 2013
— CAMFED – Campaign for Female Education (@Camfed) August 19, 2013
Questions to Your Community
Want to know the sort of content your Twitter followers are interested in? Ask them. You can ask all sorts of questions of your followers, including:
- What questions do you have about (a certain topic)?
- What topics would you like us to cover on our blog?
- What inspires you to take action (related to your mission)?
- Who’s going to (an upcoming event)? What are you most excited about?
Directly asking your community questions can be a great way to engage them in dialogue and produce content tailored to their interests.
What questions would you like answered before becoming a WBCS member?
— WBC – Southwest (@WBCSouthwest) August 19, 2013
Promote Ways to Advocate
Working to influence policy? Using Twitter for advocacy is a no-brainer because of the ease of reaching new people, joining (or starting) a conversation and connecting with public officials. Share the issues you’re working on and tell folks how they can get involved.
Talk About Other Organizations
There’s a good chance you partner with other incredible organizations. Talk about them. Share the great stuff they’re doing with your followers. If you share the stellar work of other organizations, there’s a good chance it will enhance your relationship with them.
— Invisible Children (@Invisible) August 17, 2013
— Knight Foundation (@knightfdn) August 19, 2013
Share an Inspirational Quote
People on Twitter love quotes. Please don’t go overboard and share tons of trite quotes each day, but an occasional quote can help fuel some engagement from your followers.
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” – Mark Twain
— CommunitiesInSchools (@CISNational) August 20, 2013
"Always be a little kinder than necessary." ~James M. Barrie
— Eliminate Prejudice (@elimin8prejudic) August 18, 2013
Mix It Up
The bottom line is you need to mix it up on Twitter. Sharing a variety of tweets can help keep your stream fresh and make it far more likely someone interested in your organization will follow you. To help keep track of your content, consider making a social media calendar. And to make sure you’re not posting too many fundraising appeals, work on coming up with some additional compelling calls to action.
Have any other types of tweets you share at your nonprofit? Or do you follow a nonprofit that does a great job of sharing on Twitter? Post examples and links in the comments below. I’d love to check them out.