By Travis Blackwell
Non-profit professionals are always wearing many hats: Not only are we busy doing the good work of our organizations, we also have to find the resources needed to carry out that work. In today’s competitive market, non-profits need an edge in finding new sources for foundation funding, publicity ideas, social media know-how, and press contacts. Today I’m going to show you how to find thousands of free listings for contacts in these fields (and more) that are already right under your nose!
In the past, finding these resources has been a chore that most non-profit professionals simply don’t have time for. Internet searches can be time-consuming and have you running in circles, leaving you frustrated, exhausted and unproductive! This can hold your organization back from developing the fundraising, social media and PR resources it needs to survive and thrive!
Let’s face it, our traditional strategies for research and marketing may no longer be working for us. Foundation database subscriptions are expensive. Most of us have a website and/or Facebook page, but unless these are being seen by the right people, they do little to promote our cause or garner new donors, and, learning new social media technology can seem daunting. Not to mention that press releases can fail to produce if you don’t have knowledge of reporters’ specific interests.
Wouldn’t it be great to find a way to save time on lengthy internet searches, find contact information on foundations and keep up with their latest news and funding trends, implement more effective communications strategies and media planning, find new ideas and best practices, and at the same time raise awareness of your cause and attract new donors?
You may be surprised to learn that Twitter provides a way to connect with thousands of untapped resources that many non-profits aren’t taking advantage of.
“Twitter! I already have Facebook page, I don’t need Twitter!”
The Guild West Agency gives this definition of the difference between Twitter and Facebook: “Twitter is a tool—Facebook is a destination. Their usage is different, their following is different, and their intent is different! The founders of Twitter make their intentions quite clear that they are an Information Network and Facebook’s founders make their intentions/purpose just as clear: Facebook is a Social Network.”
With its limited messages of 140 characters, Twitter tweets get right down to business. Once you sign up and create your profile, you can start to follow the people and businesses you’re interested in. There’s a lot less commitment in following someone on Twitter than liking someone on Facebook. There’s no permission needed, and you can “unfollow” at any time.
Profiles usually include a link to a website where you can get more information about that user. For example, I’ve found grant guidelines from foundations I’d never heard of with interests in my field of work just by performing a simple search on a keyword (I find Twitter’s search engine much more effective than Facebook’s) and checking out the website link. By following those foundations, I get to see more of their interests and trends in giving through their tweets. It’s like having an inside connection, and an edge for non-profits in a very competitive market.
Those that you follow are likely to follow you back, so you can build your following by following others. Sending out your tweets means more exposure and more followers. And since so many people tweet from their mobile phones, you’re often the first to get breaking news.
Still not convinced? Here are some statistics that may change your mind:
- Twitter has 105,779,710 registered users
- 300,000 new users sign up per day
- Twitter receives 180 million unique visitors per month
- There are 600 million search queries on Twitter per day
- 37% of active Twitter users use their phone to tweet
- 67% of brand followers will purchase that specific brand
So if you haven’t gotten your feet wet with Twitter yet, now is a good time to start. Foundations, organizations, PR gurus, journalists, reporters, editors and others are using Twitter in record numbers and you can find them on Twitter.
Now I know what you’re thinking, “Won’t this just require another time-consuming search?” The good news is “No,” because you can save hours of time researching by looking for lists of these resources that other people on Twitter have already created (You can do this even if you aren’t tweeting).
The GREAT news is that I’ve done the research for you! How would you like to have one-click access to over 500 foundations? 102 Social Media Gurus? 1000 organizations organized by mission? 87 CNN reporters at the Southeastern Desk? 24 Associated Press reporters who cover education and religion? I’ve compiled and assembled these local, state and national lists for your complimentary use. Please take advantage of them!
How to Raid Our Rolodex!
Whether you’re a Twitter user or not, you can visit Community Partnership’s Twitter page, scroll down to find “Lists,” and click on any of the 23 lists we have created or subscribed to, to see the members of these lists and their recent Tweets. However, if you do have a twitter account, you can subscribe to any list (free!) and have that list attached to your own Twitter page. You can also choose to “follow” individual list members, see their recent tweets, check out their profile, or Tweet them directly.
While you’re there, be sure to follow us to get more helpful articles like this. Happy Tweeting!
Special thanks to my pal Joan Stewart, The Publicity Hound for clueing me in to Twitter Lists!