Twitter Basics for Engaging Volunteers

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These are the notes from Amy Sample Ward's portion of the Twitter for Volunteer Recruitment and Engagement session at the 2011 Volunteer Management for Nonprofits Conference in New York. Learn more at …

These are the notes from Amy Sample Ward's portion of the Twitter for Volunteer Recruitment and Engagement session at the 2011 Volunteer Management for Nonprofits Conference in New York. Learn more at

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  • Bandwidth: the simple fact that if we have a very limited amount of time, battery or other opportunity we can reach unlimited numbers of people that can help by posting to social media instead. That’s why the Atlanta councilman used twitter! His mobile phone battery was nearly dead so he chose to send a message to twitter and ask for help as well as for those that couldn’t help to spread the message, instead of calling 911 in the chance that he would end up on hold.Response: studies show that people expect a response on social media. It is a social space where engaging and interaction is the constant action and so we believe, too, that if we were to need help and support that the community would take action quickly. A recent Red Cross survey asked 1,058 adults about their use of social media sites in emergency situations. It found that if they needed help and couldn’t reach 9-1-1, one in five would try to contact responders through a digital means such as e-mail, websites or social media. If web users knew of someone else who needed help, 44 percent would ask other people in their social network to contact authorities, 35 percent would post a request for help directly on a response agency’s Facebook page and 28 percent would send a direct Twitter message to responders.Power: lastly, and very importantly, we see our contributions making an impact. The photo or video taken on a phone and then posted to the web can change the conversation, alert news media to issues or new developments, and change the course of response. The same with live information, personal stories from witnesses, and so on.


  • 1. Using Twitter to Recognize Volunteers & Build a Community
    Volunteer Management for Nonprofits Conference
    March 25, 2011 – New York, NY
  • 2. Agenda
    Twitter Basics
    Twitter for Volunteers
    Twitter for Disasters
    Twitter for Fundraising
  • 3. Twitter Basics
    What is it?
    Tools & Apps
  • 4. Twitter Basics – what is it?
  • 5. Twitter Basics – #hashtags
  • 6. Twitter Basics – #hashtags
  • 7. Twitter Basics – Links
  • 8. Twitter Basics – Links
  • 9. Twitter Basics – Finding & following
    Search – email contacts
  • 10. Twitter Basics – Tools & apps
  • 11. Twitter Basics – Tools & apps
  • 12. Twitter for Volunteers
    Building community
    Avoiding slacktivism
  • 13. Twitter for Volunteers – Micro-Activism
  • 14. Twitter for Volunteers – Building Community
  • 15. Twitter for Volunteers – Avoiding Slacktivism
  • 16. Twitter for Disasters
    #fail lessons
  • 17. Twitter for Disasters
    Why do we use social media when in need?
    Bandwidth – I can reach unlimited numbers.
    Response – my network wants to respond.
    Power – my contributions make an impact
  • 18. Twitter for Disasters - Responding
  • 19. Twitter for Disasters - Sharing
  • 20. Twitter for Disasters - #fail
  • 21. Twitter for Fundraising
    Tools & tips
  • 22. Twitter for Fundraising - Twestival
  • 23. Twitter for Fundraising – Micro-Fundraising
  • 24. Twitter for Fundraising - Tools
  • 25. Twitter for Fundraising - Tips
    Cultivate a Strong Community First
    State Your Purpose and Your Request Clearly
    Create Buzz and Excitement
    Have a Strong Set Up Behind the Scenes
    Have a Powerful Offline Component
    Plan, Prepare, Execute, then Get Out of the Way
    Recognize Volunteers and Donors
    Keep Contributors Up-to-Date on Progress and Needs
    Keep Track of Developing Relationships
    Look for Ways to Improve for Next Time
  • 26. Resources$9546
  • 27. Questions?
    Are you already using Twitter?
    Where do you have the most fun?
    Where do you find the most headaches?
    Which tools have you tried?
  • 28. Thanks!
    Amy Sample Ward