Twitter as a Fundraising tool

In Blogging on Blogging on February 5, 2009 by Danielle Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Twitter’s latest headline to impress me (and, let’s face it, most of the headlines are old hat) strongly suggests that its potential as a fundraising tool is largely uncharted.  A recent search of tweets, for the keyword ‘foundation’ or ‘charity’, uncovered few charitable organisations that have clued in to Twitter. Only 109 twitterers have the word ‘foundation’ in their name.

Stephen Fry recently tweeted about an acquaintance’s JustGiving fundraising campaign.  The campaign raises funds to support James Morley Smith, whose son has retinoblastoma, in running the 2009 London Marathon (funds benefit the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust).

According to Professional Fundraising, “Fry’s followers (on Twitter)responded to the appeal with such vigour that Morley-Smith was soon prompted to double his fundraising target from £2,000 to £4,000” — and now his target is £10,000.

As Stephen Fry has over 130,000 followers, fellow twitterers who see his feeds, it is easy to see the influence that his voice has in this arena.  I am sure foundations will start to consider carefully how their celebrity contacts can support them.  It won’t just be based on photo shoots and press endorsements anymore.

SickKids (a hospital based in Toronto) is one of the very few Canadian charities to have a presence on Twitter.  Who will be the first to test this communications medium, I wonder?


4 Responses to “Twitter as a Fundraising tool”

  1. Excellent Post. See my blog about our efforts to use Twitter to raise awareness and funds for Progeria, a premature aging condition in children.

  2. You’re right about charities not spotting the potential of Twitter as a fundraising tool until relatively recently. I did a similar search last year for ‘fundraising’ and ‘fundraiser’ to see how many Twitter users’ profiles mentioned those words. It was 66 at the time, I think.

    At the UK’s first nfptweetup last year, a meeting of those of us actively exploring how charities can use Twitter,

    I presented a list of top 20 UK charities who still hadn’t even registered their Twitter account name, thereby protecting their brand.

    But there are many charities now making up for this slow start. Leading the pack (pun intended) is Dogs Trust:

    and Bullying UK:

    Plenty of others are following in their wake and getting to grips with it.

    My site, UK Fundraising, has featured developments in fundraising with Twitter since last year at

    I’ve also just announced the first date in my practical training course for charities in how to use Twitter as a fundraising tool:

    I think this is the UK’s first course on fundraising using Twitter.

    So, you’re right. Early days, but exciting possibilities.

    • Hi Howard,
      Thank you for sharing your research on Twitter. I’ll be sure to have a look at the charities you mention.



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