“Twitter and philanthropy. They go together like a horse and carriage….” Well, it does not rhyme, but at least you are not hearing my Sinatra impression. The philanthropic and nonprofit communities have been on the forefront of many extensions of the uses of social media, largely because the financial investments are minimal. The rewards can be striking, though: many organizations have raised incredible sums of money via Tweet-Ins, and many are being conveyed online.
The last couple of weeks of the year also tend to be the weeks in which Americans give the most of their time and money to charitable organizations. Whether the motives come from the ideals of Hanukkah or Christmas and/or from the prospects of a quick tax write-off, the second half of December can be the moment that carries an organization through much of the next year. For those of our readers who want to ensure that their time investment in social media pays off through the holiday season, we recommend two recent stories from our peers at Philanthropy.com.The first involves Epic Change’s efforts to give a necessary tweaking of the holiday format of their hitherto wildly successful ‘Tweetsgiving’ efforts. The fundraising drive around Thanksgiving has raised over $40,000 in past years, but this year it pulled in just over $13,000. According to Philanthropy.com, the organization realized the need for some adjustments to the timing and format, and it was prepared for a drop off in dollars as people adjusted.
Stacey Monk, a co-founder and chief executive of Epic Change, attributes the decline in funds to a change in format. Last year her organization encouraged volunteers to host Tweetsgiving benefit parties, which proved a tough task during the holidays. According to Ms. Monk, feedback from volunteers led Epic Change to rethink its strategy. “We decided to refocus, as we had the first year, on our online event and redesigned our online experience to be a bit more engaging than it had been in the past.”
Though the dollar amounts were down, the good news is that she did not seem to see the ongoing economic doldrums as a key reason. As followers and benefactors absorb the changes, they have every hope of seeing greater support in 2011.
And if your organization is looking for guidance on improving its social media outreach, Philanthropy.com is sponsoring anentitled “Twitter as an Advocacy Tool,” on Thursday, December 16, at noon (Eastern time). Sign up and the opportunity to have a reminder sent to you can be . Folks are already posting comments and questions about Twitter’s recent efforts to close off debates about the most recent Wikileaks controversy and Simon Gladwell’s article in The New Yorker that as well. Should be a lively discussion with opportunities to reconsider your organizations strategies for 2011! What better way to spend your lunch hour?