A few weeks ago I attended the New York City Twestival—an international fundraising event on behalf of charity:water that took place in over 160 cities around the world, sparked by word-of-mouth marketing via twitter. In NYC we raised over $24,000 enough for 5 wells that will serve 200 people for 20 years. That’s truly remarkable. While the event was a success there is still much to think about.

Lessons Learned:

Small donations can have a huge impact: We learned this during the Obama campaign but it certainly was clear during the twestival where donations of $20, $40, and $60 amounted to $24,000.

Tangible goals are great motivators: People like seeing the results of their work. Knowing that there is an end goal excites people.

Volunteers and great planning are still important: Online marketing and fundraising were only half the process.  All of the twestivals were coordinated by volunteers and each city had a different event to cater to local interests.

Questions raised:

How are those relationships sustained and developed? I didn’t get any significant follow up and am wondering how (if at all) my connection to the organization and my impressions of the event are being measured.

Are people giving to the cause or giving because of the medium? While at the event there was little talk of charity:water. In fact there was little talk of anything given the loud music, photo opps, and alcohol. The ease of donating and the fun that was promoted may have meant more than the cause itself.

Is social media propelling a new kind of donor? The long term investment aspect of fundraising is pushed aside in favor of immediate results and small amounts of requested giving.  Perhaps much of the follow up and presentation of a “worthy cause” is not necessary. Is this kind of event similar to parties where the money happens to go to a worthy cause but the emphasis is really on the socializing and having a good time?

Moving forward:

For all of the discussions about the ease and fun of social media, it is still time intensive and raises many questions. Instead of using it as sole means of raising money, it may work well with smaller, targeted needs used in conjunction with other methods of fundraising.

Have you had any experience raising money using social media ? Attend another twestival? Please share your thoughts!