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How to Support a Good Cause Using Twitter and Social Networks

Twitter (and life) is a social place.

People like to help. People often ask me how can they raise money for a cause or person who needs help. For example, we helped a friend we met online raise money to help with living expenses while she underwent debilitating cancer treatments.

If you’re working with an existing organization, be sure to be in touch with them on their guidelines and resources for fundraising.

If you’re trying to raise money for a cause that is not already organized, the simplest place to begin is to write a blog post, tweet about it, and ask people to help you promote it and donate to the cause. Though some folks have raised $10,000 in eight hours from a single post and tweet—don’t expect fast, dramatic results. But stick with it and you’re sure to see results over time.

If you don’t already have a blog, you can create one using either the simple and free WordPress.com or Posterous services. Both are fast and free.

If you have a lot of social connections, people you’ve connected with and helped, you’ll find more people willing to help you. If you don’t, you’ll need to find people who do have connections to help you first.

What you need to know first

 

  1. If you’re very new to social networking, you’re going to have a learning curve.
  2. You’ll be posting general tweets to all your followers (or updates to your Facebook friends), but also addressing some updates and tweets directly to influential social media users.
  3. Practice writing. You’ll need to create several kinds of updates. One group of messages will ask people to learn more, and hopefully to give. Another set of messages you’ll need to send directly to people with a lot of connections to promote your cause. Put some thought and time into what you will say.
  4. Don’t ask too much of someone, or pester people who do respond. Be gracious.

Get your blog post and social accounts ready

 

  1. Have a good picture related to the cause you’re raising funds for ready to go for your blog post, and write a headline for the blog post that explains the issue and that you need help.
  2. Have a place to click to donate high up on the page so that it’s visible without scrolling, after a few sentences or (at most) a few paragraphs of description. Put an online donation widget on the page to make it easy for people to give.
  3. In your blog post, tell people EXACTLY how they can give and why. Don’t overgeneralize. Probably make it clear that money would help first, and mention other ways of helping later.
  4. If you can, get the person or organization you are trying to help on Twitter & Facebook themselves, even if you have to set up accounts for them. You could for example set up a Facebook group with the goal of helping them.
  5. Be sure to tell a story in your writing. People respond to stories, and they can help make your point clearer than a lot of explanation might.

 

Search for people who can help you

  1. Search for influential people who can help you promote your cause.
  2. Give yourself at least a week or two of time to contact people.
  3. Don’t send exactly identical messages to different people. It’s considered spam.
  4. Give people you contact a few days to get back to you. Don’t contact anyone more than twice if they haven’t responded.

Ask for help in getting the word out

  1. Don’t bug people too much! It’s good to ask for help and advice, but don’t repeatedly ask. Take care to be short and clear.
  2. Be specific in your requests for help in getting the word out. Don’t say “Someone said to contact you for help.” Say “Need help letting people know about a wonderful person in a tough situation that needs help” or some such. When you post a general message be compelling and ask for help.
  3. Support the causes of the people you are asking for help.
  4. You’ll want to send messages to people you know already to ask for help. Address them directly, not in a general message to everyone.

Get more results in less time with Buffer

Once you have your tweets written, Buffer can help make your efforts to promote your cause more efficient. You simply set up your schedule as needed (or let Buffer set it up for you) and then paste your tweets into Buffer to be sent later.

This lets you do most of your work all at once, and then sends your tweets at the times they will have their greatest impact.

80,000+ social media marketers trust Buffer

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