With so many great causes in the world it can sometimes be difficult to get yours to stand out. A big event is often the most effective way to get your charity into the spotlight, but how can you get your event into the spotlight?

Here are a few charities that have managed to use Twitter to do just that, and a few of the ways they managed it.

#gettngslizzerd - American Red Cross

When a person is tasked with maintaining a company’s Twitter account as well as their own there is always a chance that they’ll get the two mixed up, and there is a potential PR nightmare waiting. This is what happened to the American Red Cross when an employee accidentally tweeted, on the Red Cross account, that they were getting drunk, including the hashtag #gettngslizzerd and the name of the beer they were drinking.

While this might have sent many into crisis mode the American Red Cross reacted coolly, with a humorous yet reassuring tweet acknowledging the mix-up. The beer company that was mentioned helped out as well, sending out tweets urging their followers to donate to the charity and tweet the #gettngslizzerd hashtag. What was potentially a PR disaster turned into a reasonably successful fundraising campaign.

The Big Dig - @WaterAid

Currently standing at just over £1,000,000 The Big Dig, a drive to raise funds to help provide Malawi with clean drinking water, by Water Aid has been an extremely successful campaign. This has partly been due to it’s comprehensive and effective use of Twitter.

By using the hashtag #thebigdig, creating and linking to blog posts specific to the event, and keeping people updated about the progress of the fundraiser Water Aid have created a focused campaign. To avoid people becoming wearisome, they also offer regular competitions as well as broadcasting their message across other platforms and media, including a blog with regular updates from people in Malawi.

Digital Life Sacrifice - Keep a Child Alive

In 2010 Keep a Child Alive managed to do something that many thought was impossible, they made a group of celebrities shut up, and in the name of charity as well. To raise money to fight HIV/Aids Keep a Child Alive convinced celebrities including Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake and Usher to ‘kill’ their digital selves.

This involved the celebrities to abstain from posting on their social media sites. While the initial target of $1 million proved to be over-ambition what made the campaign notable, apart from its novelty and celebrity backing, was the reaction to its shortcomings. Keep a Child Alive was completely transparent about its failings, posting regularly on its Twitter feed while still encouraging people to donate. The $1 million was eventually raised with a little help from billionaire Stewart Rahr, and all but one celebrity managed to refrain from breaking their silence and resisted becoming a digital zombie.

@LizJonesSomalia - @DMreporter

People care deeply about their causes, whether it’s environmental, political or other. When a cause is seen to be belittled there is invariably a backlash from those who care the most. Which is why when The Mail sent their fashion journalist, Liz Jones, to cover a devastating famine in Somalia there was outrage across the internet. The most scathing, and effective, attack on the decision was not from the many commenters who put forth their arguments with varying levels of eloquence but from a parody account on Twitter.

@LizJonesSomalia was a fake Twitter account that satirised the journalist’s trip, both as a means of protest and to raise money for the DEC East African Appeal. Over the course of two weeks and 170 tweets, including such gems as “I’m speaking English slower. I’m speaking English louder. Still these people don’t understand me.”, the fake account managed to raise £25,000. Proving that timeliness and humour are extremely effective tools for getting noticed.

Though all these examples were all successful for different reasons there are a few qualities that most good Twitter campaigns hold in common – communication with followers, interacting with those who follow you is a great way to build trust; retweet those with a similar cause, this shows that you care about your cause not yourself and regular tweets, if you only speak up once a year then people may forget about you.

If you’d like more tips on how to use Twitter successfully then contact us at hello@reasondigital or subscribe to our newsletter.

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