- Social Media
- Active Citizenship
- Good Giving
- Corporate Responsibility
- Be Fearless
Now gearing up for its third event, Twestival has already proven a successful track record for fundraising through global social media communities. To recap, Twestival raised more than $250,000 last February for charity:water with tweet ups in 202 cities. In September, 130 cities all held tweet-ups in the same weekend to raise more than $450,000 for local nonprofits. The third event, coming up March 25, will benefit Concern Worldwide. Check Twestival's site to learn more about the event in your city, and if you're in DC, join me and some of the other little square faces in your Twitter stream at the Shadow Room.
Seeing Twestival's success, many nonprofits wonder how they can recreate a similarly successful fundraiser using Twitter or other social media platforms and raise big bucks. While its creator Amanda Rose would discourage nonprofits from trying to organize their own Twestival (as it's not the Twestival way), some of the principles and practices of the event can provide good insights for how to engage donors and volunteers in a broad fundraising campaign.
Give volunteers some ownership and autonomy. As hard as it can be to let go, giving people control also encourages them to take responsibility. While some pieces of Twestival are standard, there are many points in the planning process - like ticket price, activities and sponsorship opportunities - that are left up to each city. This year, for example, each participating city can choose one of eight activities toward which their fundraising efforts will be directed. The DC event will raise funds to help build schools, but others will designate their money toward teacher training, school meals, or health education.
Make specific asks for help. Twestival shows that people are eager to help. More than 1,000 volunteers have pitched in to make the Twestival events a reality, and all of them are helping just because they were asked. I first got involved because I saw a tweet from Peter LaMotte, another DC-based Twitter user who I'd never met, asking for help organizing last fall's Twestival Local, and I thought it would be a fun way to give back and meet some new people in the DC nonprofit community. When you let people know how they can contribute their unique skills and resources, they might be quicker to lend a hand that you would think.
Seek input from a wide spectrum of people. Anyone who has led a project knows that it's quickest and easiest just to make all the decisions yourself. While that strategy might keep things moving, it's not always the best way to stay in the good graces of your team and arrive at a decision that everyone feels good about. When considering what nonprofit should benefit from this year's Twestival Global, Amanda took the extra time to reach out to the 200 or so community leaders for feedback on the four nonprofits on the short list: Concern Worldwide, Room To Read, Architecture for Humanity and the UN World Food Program. In turn, those leaders sought the opinions of their volunteers, and hundreds of people around the world helped to make the decision to support Concern Worldwide.
Help people to feel connected to their donation's impact. Charity:water, which benefited from the first Twestival, didn't just take the money and run. Just weeks later, they followed up by allowing Twitter users all over the world to watch, via satellite video, as one of the wells they donated toward was being drilled. It's a great example of leveraging social media not only for fundraising, but for the often forgotten follow-up - an important step that keeps donors engaged and encourages continued support.
Check out the newest Twestival video for more on the Twestival story.