Which is why when I came upon the idea of using a “Tweetathon” to raise money in the book Unmarketing by Scott Stratten, I wanted to share it.
He embarked on a 12-hour Tweetathon raffle to raise money for a child hunger charity as part of a 12for12K Challenge – whose aim was to raise £12,000 over a month. He smashed his £12,000 target within five and a half hours, and in all raised £16,000.
Here are Scott’s ten steps which made his Tweetathon a success for charity fundraising:
- As organiser, he had a large number of followers (16,000), and rarely asked for them for anything, so by asking them to donate now, they be more likely to respond positively. He says: “This is especially important if a nonprofit wants to be the one running a Tweetathon. You can’t just open an account on Twitter and start asking for donations. Twitter is a community, a conversation, not a pitch platform.”
- “The cause: It doesn’t take much convincing to get people to feel for the cause of child hunger. If I were raising money for an obscure illness, the fund-raising may not have worked so well.”
- Before the start, he had asked Twitter to offer donations for a raffle and got 60 offers, including many from people who had specially gone out and bought them. He picked the 11 most likely to raise most money, including an Amazon Kindle, a $500 Amazon card and a designer handbag. One of the reasons he was able to get such brilliant donations was his social currency on Twitter.
- He established a set donation process: for every $12 donated, people got one entry into the raffle. If they donated $120, they got 10 raffle entries plus a website review from him, worth $300. This gave people focus, rather than asking people to donate what they can.
- The short time frame. “One of the issues of getting people to donate over a month (12for12K is a month long event for each charity) is that they can put it off. There is no sense of urgency. This was a 12-hour window, nothing more. To be entered in the raffle, people had to donate in that small time window.”
- The number of tweets. Working on the basis that a single tweet lasts just a minute or two on people’s radar, he tweeted about it every minute, with every tweet including a shortened link to the donation page.
- The social-proof retweet. Every time someone tweeted about donating, he retweeted with his thanks added on. That helped the topic trend on Twitter and showed others that if they donated, they would help the cause, get the chance to win something cool, and gain new followers.
- Other people who were part of the 12for12K Challenge became a tweeting army, supporting the Tweetathon challenge, retweeting posts and building momentum.
- Focus: “This is where I see the biggest mistake being made in online fundraising. When the Tweetathon occurred, there was only one action people could take – donate … Recently I’ve seen live streaming video, interviews and musical acts that take away from the donation focus … If you still want to have virtual events during the fundraiser, at the very least have a banner across it always reminding people of why they’re there.”
- Using a widget/plugin for donations, which meant that they went straight to the charity, while also creating a spreadsheet of all donors and amounts. They organised this into a spreadsheet with a line for every $12 donated, then used a random generator to pick the winners of each prize.
Many many thanks to Scott Stratten, the author of Unmarketing for allowing us to share this section from his book. It is well worth a read.
How has your charity fundraising been impacted by the pandemic?