Net2ThinkTank: How Can Nonprofits Use Twitter?

NetSquared's picture

This month's Net2ThinkTank question was,

How Can Nonprofits Use Twitter? Should They Even Bother?

Many of you had a lot to say about this topic, so let's start the round-up!

David Collin: Tweeting for the Frozen Pea Fund.
David, who works for the American Cancer Society, highlights the amazing e-philanthropy story of the Frozen Pea Fund.

Beth Kanter: Six Signs That Twitter Isn't for Your Nonprofit
Here is one sign from Beth, "You think Twitter is a bull horn and is a great way to broadcast campaign messaging from a Twitter account that is branded with your logo." What are your signs? Check out her readers' comments too.

Christian Kreutz: How Can Nonprofits Use Twitter? Should They Even Bother?
Christian argues that nonprofits should and shouldn't use Twitter. Tricky huh? Check out his reasons why.

Nancy White:
How Can Nonprofits Use Twitter? Should They Even Bother?
Nancy's advice, "[L]earn to use Twitter as an individual who happens to work for a nonprofit, then with other twitterers in your NPO, think if Twitter makes sense to you. It is one of those tools which really requires a sense of the possible practices to really then think about strategic application."

Shawn Zehnder Lea How Associations Can Use Twitter

Shawn, the Vice President for Strategic Communications at the Mississippi Hospital Association, echoes Nancy's advice when she writes, "It seems I do better using new technology personally first. Then I slowly begin to realize the business applications." She provides a practical list of ways nonprofits can use Twitter. That's her frozen peavatar above.

Amy Sample Ward: How Can Nonprofits Use Twitter?
Amy, Net Tuesday Portland's organizer, also agrees that folks should try Twitter personally before jumping in organizationally and she suggests using the POST method to decide if Twitter is right for your organization.

Alexandra Samuel: Change Status: Facebook and Twittering for a New World.
Alexandra posts that Twitter and social networking as tools to track the progress of the worldwide movement for social change. She encourages your Twitter or Facebook update to answer the question, "What did you do today that moved your work, your organization, your issue or your personal practice forward? "

Nate Ritter: Using Twitter to Help Communities
Nate wrote his post after speaking at Net Tuesday San Francisco about how he used Twitter as a help center during the San Diego fires. You can listen to an interview with Nate on the NetSquared Podcast. That's a diagram of his prototype above.

Rich Zamor: Microblogging with Twitter and Drupal
Riche is running two experiments right now,
1) Using the Twitter module for Drupal 5 (which powers his site)
2) Using the Twitter RSS feed subscription to aggregate updates to his site. Check out the results on his post.

Corey Pudhorodsky: How Nonprofits Can Use Twitter: To Listen!
Corey, producer of the 501c3Cast, appropriately reminds folks that Twitter is for listening as well as talking. He recommends Terraminds Twitter Search to do research by topic.

Paul Hyland: How Can Nonprofits Use Twitter? Publication or Coordination!
Paul, who is an Executive Producer at Education Week, explains how nonprofit publishers can use Twitter to share stories.

Megan Keane: Twitter Me This, Twitter Me That: Applications for Twitter and Those Tweets to Your Peeps can be a Handy Way to Collaborate
Megan, TechSoup's Online Community Manager, lists helpful Twitter applications, and points to Nancy White's Twitter Collaboration Stories Wiki.

Of course, folks shared their ideas on Twitter in response to our tweet:
NetSquared How Can Nonprofits Use Twitter? Should They Even Bother?

pearlbear @NetSquared I'm still not totally convinced that most nonprofits should twitter
NetSquared @pearlbear say more . . .
pearlbear@NetSquared well, I think it's really based on mission, and, of course, the activities of the nonprofits. Y'know, I should just blog about this.

karitas @NetSquared i think IFYC is playing with the idea, but only because @cyrusbryan and i are into it. people are still asking what is twitter..
NetSquared @karitas How do you think IFYC will use it?
karitas @NetSquared my initial reply is here, but i think there's lots of ways
karitas @NetSquared, but i think the post was right; listening, surrounding yourself with the right people, engaging, and sharing have to be key

LittleLaura @NetSquared needs to be something good to get them into the value of an event or conference.
NetSquared @LittleLaura That makes sense. Use it as a communication tool for a face-to-face event, or around a particular campaign.
LittleLaura @NetSquared yes, then people can keep connected...

ruby : @NetSquared I can't believe you asked that question... on Twitter. :-P

Big thanks to everyone who participated in this month's Net2ThinkTank. The next Net2ThinkTank question will be posted on February 7th. If you have any suggestions for questions, post them in the comments, or email be at