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Twitter Fundraising: Raising Money With 140 Characters


Posted on 1/28/2011 by Erica Alhorn

Twitter fundraising can be a great way to raise money online if you have a strong Twitter network.  Just ask super Twitter user Sunshine BenBelkacem.   Her fundraiser, Oliver’s Elbow, found it’s success twitter fundraising. Here is her story:

Twitter FundraisingI first heard of GiveForward.com  from an entrepreneurs website.  I read their mission and was impressed with the idea but gave it no further thought.

A week later, one of my best friends, Oliver, was “doored” while riding his bike on Halsted St. He had done everything right – helmet, light, in the bike lane, minding traffic, and even called out a warning to the door opener. This person didn’t hear Oliver’s warning and pushed the door open, sending him into the middle of the street. The impact of the fall broke Oliver’s olecranon process (that’s your elbow!). Oliver is a waiter and like most in the service industry, has no insurance.

The hospital told Oliver that he qualified for the sliding scale for treatment but the cost of surgery, medication and physical therapy would total about $7,000, paid upfront. As Oliver told me this story, I remembered GiveForward.com and it’s mission to help raise money for medical causes.

After 5 minutes of convincing Oliver, showing him the site and how it worked, he agreed to my crazy twitter fundraiser.  I set up a page on GiveForward.com and made a benefit event at Mary’s Attic, the bar of the restaurant he works for that we shared on Twitter.

With the page set up on GiveForward.com, I first started by sending emails to everyone I knew.  Our benefit event team consisted of four people. We used Facebook and Twitter to get the news out to our networks. Here’s our twitter fundraising strategy:

  • We each posted a link on Facebook twice a day. We linked the post to the benefit invite created on Facebook.
  • We posted a fundraising link on Twitter 4 to 6 times a day so it stayed in user Twitter streams.Twitter Fundraising lets peole come together
  • Every Tweet asked users to retweet it to their followers. Facebook posts asked to share it.
  • Every tweet contained the following hash tags: #donate, #fundraising, #charity. This got us considerable attention.
  • We reached out to niche Chicago media outlets on Twitter and Facebook, asking them to repost to their followers and friends.

Eventually, people we didn’t know were retweeting our posts or sharing our updates on Facebook. We had launced our twitter fundraising efforts.  We received donations from people who just wanted to help a stranger via twitter - it was amazing and made us cry tears of gratitude.

Our fundraising goal was $7000. We raised $4,600 on GiveForward.com from our Twitter Fundraising efforts and $2,200 at the fundraiser. We came in $200 short of our goal. But thanks to Give Forward.com, Hamburger Mary’s and all the Andersonville business who donated items for the benefit’s raffle, we were able to ease Oliver’s stress over bills but also, restore our own faith in the inherent goodness and charity of people.

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