Attracting donors in 140 characters or fewer

By Margaret Chialastri, Vice President, Digital Services, Barton Cotton Fundraising

As a fundraiser, Twitter is probably not the first social media platform you’d think of to attract donors.  Globally, it ranks 15th in daily active users, behind the likes of Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Reddit, and Pinterest.

The real fundraising opportunity lies in Twitter’s status as an underappreciated advertising platform. Here in the U.S., it still boasts 31 million daily active users and a user base that aligns with our target donor demographics.  According to Pew Research Center:

  • 41% have an annual income of $75,000+ (compared with 32% of the general population)
  • It’s an even 50-50 split for male-female (even though gender isn’t binary; can only go with the data we have)
  • Race and ethnicity parallel the general US population

U.S-based Twitter users are younger, more educated, and wealthy than the general U.S. population which presents an opportunity to expand your donor base beyond the current over-55-year-old target audience:

  • The media age of U.S. Twitter users is 40, while the national population’s is 47
  • 42% of U.S. Twitter users have a college degree, while only 31% of the national population does

Twitter users are also more engaged, with 55% of users that engage with a nonprofit on the platform projected to take some other action with that nonprofit.

All this adds up to a potentially large opportunity to reach a new donor audience on a platform whose ad prices aren’t driven up by as much competitive bidding.

Twitter has all the typical targeting options for social media — demographics, lookalikes, interests, followers, etc. — but there are two worthy of additional mentions.  Tailored audiences allow you to engage users who have interacted with you off-platform.  This means that Twitter can be part of your retargeting strategy.  And targeting TV audiences means you can target dual-screen users.  This means if you are doing DRTV advertising, you can follow up with people who will have seen your ad or will be seeing your ad.  This dual pronged strategy can increase the effectiveness of both DRTV and Twitter ads.

The implementation of these strategies is showing a cost to acquire that’s less than half that of other social platforms with a similar average gift.  While this is using last-click attribution and thus doesn’t account for follow-on effects, it’s a strong sign of the effectiveness of the ads.

We’re finding the most success with video ads.  They have ten times the engagement of other ads and you can run them at half the cost of other platforms.  As with any other platform, you want to make sure the creative is emotionally compelling and has a strong call to action, even if that CTA is a non-donation ask like a petition, survey, or volunteer ad.

Twitter is one of several platforms that can bring in significant results behind Google and Facebook.  I hope you’ll join me for a webinar later today to talk about Twitter, TikTok, Twitch, programmatic ads, and more!

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