What is it?
UK-registered charity Cafédirect Producers’ Foundation has launched a new campaign named #OneBigTweet, which will offer the public the chance to donate without spending any money. The charity, which works with small farmers in Africa, says the campaign is an opportunity for Twitter users to support its work by "donating" their followers. The idea is to grow the #OneBigTweet concept to such a size that it can be auctioned for charity. This will enable the business that wins the auction to reach a huge number of people as their #OneBigTweet is automatically retweeted from the accounts of supporters once only as a kind of giant Twitter mailshot.
Participation requires only three clicks:
1) Click on this link;
2) Click "Donate my twitter followers";
3) Click "Authorise".
Donors are then ready to share the scheme with friends. Once the #OneBigTweet is sold, the tweet (the content of which will be supervised by CPF) will be auto-retweeted from donors’ accounts.
The initiative will raise funds to help CPF continue its work with almost 280,000 smallholder farmers. A CPF spokesman said: "As a small organisation fighting for space within the charity fundraising sector, it can often be a struggle to get noticed. As we look around at the saturated fundraising market, we see a lot of cynical and manipulative strategies from organisations much larger than us. This is not only beginning to have a disillusioning effect on the public, but is also undermining the incredible work that many charities are doing. Rather than resort to the same old tactics, we want to set ourselves apart from the crowd. We see #OneBigTweet as a fantastic opportunity to break the mould."
How successful has it been?
So far, the campaign has inspired Twitter users to "donate" more than 750,000 followers to the cause, with donations coming from charities such as Restless Development and entrepreneurs such as Chris Messina, who first proposed Twitter adopt the hashtag as a method of monitoring trending topics.
What the charity says
"This is not the first time we have been involved in disruptive campaigning tactics. Our Rock the Goat campaign was created because we were looking for new and exciting ways to engage with new audiences in a positive and upbeat way. All of this is built on the fact that our programmes support farmers to develop and share their innovations and knowledge with each other. We don’t see why our fundraising efforts ought to be any different, and #OneBigTweet is designed to reflect this. By leveraging social media, we hope to be able to create a positive and innovative crowdfunding movement to revitalise the charity sector."
Third Sector verdict
This innovative use of social media has the potential to reach a large global audience thanks to its simplicity, speed of sign-up and lack of any requirement for financial contribution from donors. For a charity with just eight members of staff, the campaign has already achieved an impressive reach in just a few days, with the sky the limit when you consider Twitter’s 300 million active users. However, the proof will be in the pudding once the #OneBigTweet auction takes place and the financial rewards roll in.