Thursday, January 7, 2010

13,000 Nonprofit Twitterers

Big or small, nonprofits are finding their place on Twitter.  Today, @nonprofitorgs reported that it was following 13,000 nonprofits. I've watched this account grow exponentially during the last few months and have been impressed with the number of nonprofits dipping their toe in the Twitter pool.  That's the way to do it...just get started.  Listen, follow others and put some tweets out there that are relevant and interesting and you are on your way.

I am frequently asked what we could possibly tweet about at The Children's Medical Center of Dayton.   My first response is always that someone should follow us @daytonchildrens and see for themselves.  But I'll share with you some of our key topics:
  • pediatric health information
  • health tips
  • H1NI or other health news
  • children's safety information (safety tips, product recalls, etc)
  • upcoming events at the hospital
  • hospital news (awards, recognitions, etc.)
  • physician news (awards, discoveries, accomplishments, etc.)
  • fundraising events
  • fundraising news/results
  • pediatric healthcare best practices
  • patient and family testimonials
  • links to the Dayton Children's blog 
  • safety checks (bike helmets, car seats, etc.)
  • healthy living tips
You get the idea...

But we are also listening to what others say that we find relevant. We RT (retweet) information relevant to the topics listed below along with social media tips, news in Dayton, news from our corporate sponsors, school information, interesting blog articles, news about other charitable organizations, news from other hospitals, fundraising success stories, and the list goes on and on.

Dayton Children's twitter account has nearly 1900 followers and the list grows daily. We use Twitter as a positive new way to build relationships. When @daytonchildrens launched, we didn't anticipate the national following we received but it has been a wonderful bonus. Fans from all over the country follow us because we put out content that is relevant and valuable to a variety of constituencies.  We strive to be an institution that earns the trust of our followers and one that anyone could contact for help about pediatric healthcare.  I hope those 13,000 nonprofits do the same.

What is our ROI?  We can measure the number of followers, those we follow, number of direct messages, number of retweets, how many times a particular message gets retweeted, etc. What isn't as measurable is the positive relationships that have been established, the trust that has been created, the information that has impacted someone's life, or the care and concern we can show our patients and families.  While there is no specific metric, you can be assured that is the most valuable return on investment we could ask for.

Is it of value for nonprofits to be on Twitter? Yes, of course. But don't take my word for it. Take a look for yourself. A great place to start is @nonprofitorgs.

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