Top 20 Twitter Profiles for Nonprofits from @SocialMediaDel

by: Julie Lamb| @juliedlamb

Social Media is a great way to spread the word quickly about an important cause or event, create a sense of community, and do all of this basically for free; therefore, it is a perfect tool for nonprofit and charity organizations. Since we know that times are difficult and stressful right now, especially for nonprofits, here are the top 20 accounts to help your organization start or improve your current social media campaign. Even if you aren't part of a nonprofit organization, these Twitter accounts are a great place to find inspiring causes.

Charity: Water - @charitywatercharity: water is a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations.

With over 1.3 million followers, charity:water must be doing something right. Maybe it’s because they are constantly retweeting people who mention them or because of their “photo of the day” that links back to their website. But whatever it is, charity:water has done a great job of getting and maintaining followers so you would be wise to follow and learn from them.

Public Broadcasting Service - @PBSPBS invites you to explore new ideas and discover new worlds. Join us here for conversation and sharing.

Of the 50 nonprofits with the highest income, PBS has the most Twitter followers, is the “most talkative” in terms of number of tweets, and comes in second in following the most people. The variety of their tweets from tips for teachers to food recipes to links of streaming versions of their shows in case people missed them on TV proves that PBS understands how to use Twitter effectively.

CAREUSA - @CARECARE fights global poverty with an emphasis on empowering women and girls with education, and maternal health and microfinance resources!

CARE is also one of the “most talkative” nonprofits, but it also has some unique content. Instead of simply talking about poverty in general, they tweet links of YouTube videos and pictures that tell the stories of the individual women CARE is helping. To further enhance the personal feeling of their twitter feed, CARE individually responds to and thanks anyone who responds, retweets, or mentions them.

American Red Cross - @RedCrossOfficial twitter stream for the American Red Cross. Follow us for disaster and preparedness updates.

American Red Cross’ account is a perfect mix of seriousness and fun. On top of providing information regarding potential disasters (such as tornados) and where to seek shelter, they are constantly promoting blood donations and linking to funny posts from their blog (such as why the Red Cross supports both Team Edward and Team Jacob).

Philanthropy - @PhilanthropyThe Chronicle of Philanthropy's official Twitter page, updated by Peter Panepento.

This account is a fast and easy way to get the headlines of what is going on in the nonprofit and charitable world. Therefore, you can find and focus on only those articles that are helpful to you.

The Non-Profit Times - @NonProfitTimesThe Leading Business Publication for Nonprofit Management. News, Special Reports, Jobs, and Expert Advice for the Nonprofit Sector.

A very useful resource for nonprofits in general, this account is also a good case study in using hashtags.

Donors Choose - @DonorsChooseAn online charity connecting you to classrooms in need.

From their campaign to inspire people to grow mustaches and tweet pics to show support for their cause  to their #thankateacher campaign, and especially to how they retweet posts of people saying that they donated instead of giving Christmas gifts or set up a donation wedding registry, this account really knows how to make you want to stop what you’re doing and donate NOW!

LIVESTRONG - @LivestrongLIVESTRONG serves people affected by cancer and empowers them to take action against the world's leading cause of death

Also a fan of mustaches, LIVESTRONG is the creator of #Movember, a very popular campaign and hashtag. More importantly, they use their account to provide information on treatment and insurance options and offer logistical and emotional support for cancer patients.

Nicole Harrison - @SocialNicoleHelping clients connect, engage and grow through social media, websites, content marketing, email marketing etc

My favorite aspect of this informative account is how it uses the hashtag #NPtalk for a weekly discussion on various topics important in the nonprofit management world. Not only is using hashtags for discussion groups an excellent idea, this particular disscussion is a great resource for anyone working at a nonprofit.

Hope 140 - @Hope140Highlighting forces of good in the Twitter community.

Here you get to see a little bit of everything that is going on in the twitter nonprofit world. As the description says, this account tweets and retweets the organizations on twitter that it finds moving and effective.

St. Jude - @stjudeSt. Jude Children's Research Hospital is the only pediatric cancer research center where families never pay for treatment not covered by insurance.

This account does a lot of retweeting and since many of their followers are celebrities, retweeting is particularly effective for them. Also, this is one of the only accounts I have come across that regularly tweets in Spanish as well as English.

Allyson Kapin - @care2frogloopFrogloop follows the latest trends in non-profit communications, marketing, fundraising and technology.

This Twitter account is for a blog that has useful posts about nonprofits using social media.

Nonprofit Orgs - @nonprofitorgsThe mission of this Twitter profile is to serve as a portal to all nonprofit organizations on Twitter [by only following nonprofits and nonprofit staff].

Not only does this account serve, as described, as a portal to nonprofit organizations, but it also links to an excellent website and blog called Nonprofit Tech 2.0: A Social Media Guide for Nonprofits. Furthermore, it links to interesting articles, events, and training that are relevant to the nonprofit community.

Exploratorium - @exploratoriumFor the curious ones - the explOratorium is a museum of science, art, & human perception founded in 1969 by Dr. Frank Oppenheimer. Alex updates from the museum.

Many arts related nonprofits tend to solely tweet about upcoming exhibits or events, but @exploratorium also provides a good deal of informative and entertaining tidbits such as the science of cooking a turkey. It also retweets tweets of patrons who enjoyed the museum.

The Lamp - @thelampnycFor a media savvy youth. For a more involved parent. For a modern, innovative educator. For a critical mass.

This organization’s mission is to reform and improve media through free workshops and events for youth, parents, and educators. I think we can all learn a lot from this account, both from its content and the way it is presented.

National Wildlife Federation - @NWFNational Wildlife Federation works to inspire Americans to protect wildlife for our children's future. Staff updating: @climateguru @ksuzj @starfocus

What I really like about this account is the tone of voice and the catchy titles. If there is someone out there who can resist clicking a link in a tweet that says, “Mr. Polar Bear Goes to Washington,” please let me know because I sure can’t!

GOOD - @GOODGOOD is the global association of individuals, businesses, and nonprofits powering what works.

This account had an awesome idea for #30DaysofGOOD where every day (for 30 days, of course) they invited followers to “document your life” through pictures by challenging them each day to a different task such as “document someone you admire” and then posting a roundup of the images submitted the following day.

The Humane Society - @HumaneSocietyOfficial Twitter feed from The Humane Society of the United States. We're celebrating animals and confronting cruelty... all day, every day!

They use clever and memorable hashtags for the different days of the week such as #TakeActionTuesday, and others, such as #muttmonday and #felinefriday, are just plain brilliant. What pet owner can pass up an opportunity to share a picture of his or her pet and have it retweeted?

Hip Hop Caucus - @HipHopCaucusA civil and human rights organization for the 21st century.

They say they are a civil and human rights organization for the 21st century, but their twitter account is also for the 21st century. With many retweets from all sorts of people and organizations, strings of hashtags, and a casual and abbreviated writing-style, this account shows it knows how to speak to the youth of the world.

It Gets Better Project - @ItGetsBetterOfficial It Gets Better Project account. Give hope to LGBT youth and take the pledge: http://www.itgetsbetter.org

You know them from their amazingly successful youtube campaign, but their twitter account is not too shabby either by continuing to effectively spread the message of hope to LGBT youth around the world.