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January 14, 2013
Del is Director of Trust and Safety at Twitter.
You’re here because connecting, sharing, and doing good online is something that’s important to you – and that’s great!
Using online platforms can increase the impact you have by making it easier for you to get your message out to a wider audience, solicit input and feedback, and make connections with others working toward shared goals.
We see folks using Twitter for all sorts of purposes and we’re constantly impressed by just how creative folks are in doing so. While there are any number of uses for Twitter, there’s one in particular that we’ve been thrilled to watch increasing – nonprofits and charities using Twitter to raise awareness about their causes.
@SFfoodbank, an organization that provides healthy food for folks in need in San Francisco and Marin, California, is a great example of this: they use their account to spread word about fundraising events, connect directly with volunteers and donors, and provide folks with a behind-the-scenes look into how the organization works.
But for every great organization using Twitter or other online platforms effectively, there’s another potential volunteer or staff member at an organization that’s still confused or unsure about how to get started or where their help would be most appreciated.
If you’re trying to figure out where you can help, start with these steps:
1. Brainstorm about local causes or organizations that you care about – for example, a local animal shelter or community soup kitchen. Find out whether they have an online presence and, if they do, whether there are volunteer opportunities. If they do have an online presence and there are volunteer opportunities, start with that! If they don’t have an online presence, find out why – it may be simply that they don’t have the resources to dedicate to creating and maintaining one. If that’s the case, ask for permission to create one. Once you’ve got permission, move on to step two.
2. Do your research. Find similar organizations or causes that already have an online presence or that are leaders in the field. Look at how they’re using online platforms and jot down notes on any tactics or strategies that they’re using that might also work for your purposes. Talk to others involved with your cause or organization and develop a plan for creating or adding to their online presence; write down any recommendations or guidelines they give you.
3. Connect with others. Reach out to organizations and causes that are in the same space and ask them what they’ve done that’s worked and whether or not they have any recommendations as to what you should or shouldn’t do. Putting in the time to develop a network will pay real dividends in the end – both in terms of you being able to help others and in terms of getting your message out to more people.
4. Start seeing what works. Take the plan you created and put it into action, then keep trying new strategies until you’ve identified what works best for you!
Find out more about folks using Twitter to help others at @TwitterGood.
Del Harvey is Director of Trust and Safety at Twitter where she works to define policy and to ensure user safety and security in the challenging realm of modern social media. Twitter strongly believes in the importance of defending and respecting the voice of the user; Del's team works 24x7 to do just that, along with working to protect users from bots and bad actors.
Prior to joining Twitter in 2008, she spent five years as the co-administrator and law enforcement liaison for a 501(c)3 non-profit charity, working with agencies ranging from local police departments to the FBI, US Marshals, and the Secret Service.
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