13 Twitter Search Examples for Nonprofits

Post by Frank Barry - 11.23.2009 - Follow me on Twitter

Twitter search is a pretty amazing resource that most have yet to tap into. Why do I think it’s amazing you ask? Well, because it’s nearly real time and driven completely by humans. Twitter search isn’t searching web pages and it doesn’t take days/weeks for your tweets to show up in the results. If you want to find out who’s talking about nonprofit work in your area within the last month or even today you can. If a person wants to find out what nonprofits are actively seeking volunteers for an upcoming event in their area they can. If I want to find out who’s participating in an upcoming nonprofit event in San Diego I can.

Twitter Search Samples for NonprofitsOf course this all requires people are using Twitter and sharing this type of information, but twitter is the fastest growing social network in the world so your chances are getting better by the day. Just think about the possibilities for your nonprofit!

Learning how to use Twitter search is the key to finding the type of information you are looking for. The below searches can all be built using Twitters advanced search page. I hope the examples give you some vision and ideas that you can put into practice today. Make sure to use these and begin to replace my words/searches that make sense for your organization. 


People talking about you specifically


People talking about and linking to your website or blog: (See Results)

This one is simple. You want to know who’s talking about you on Twitter? This search will let you see who is linking or sharing information about you and/or your web site. Just replace the search terms I’ve listed below with the name of your organization, website and blog. Remove the "filter:links" part on the end of you want to open up the search to tweets that don't have links in them.

netwitsthinktank OR netwits OR "netwits thinktank" OR "netwits think tank" filter:links 


People talking about your executive director: (See Results)

You’d be surprised who’s talking about you already. You could replace your executive director’s name with the name of your nonprofit or the name of an event you run. These people could be saying good or bad things about you. Wouldn’t you want to know and have the ability to respond?

"holly ross" -to:ntenhross -from:ntenhross -@ntenhross


People talking about things your focused on


People talking about fighting hunger and sharing web resources: (See Results)

Think about this for a minute. If you’re an organization whose mission is to fight hunger these are people who you want to connect with. They are active online and talking about your issue. They are also sharing links to resources (see: filter:links)  Go connect with them. 

"fight hunger" -rt -via filter:links 


People using a hashtag (#) that you’ve started or that is of interest to your organization: (See Results)
A hashtag (Example: #TED and #nptech) is a way to group tweets by a word or topic. It’s very easy to do and people use them for all sorts of things.



Location based Twitter search


People talking about volunteering around San Diego: (See Results)

If you are a nonprofit in the San Diego area looking for volunteers to help with an upcoming event this is the perfect search for you. Maybe you’re a nonprofit who’s mission is to connect volunteers with other nonprofits in need like Volunteer Center Serving Howard County. If you are like them you could use this type of search for all kinds of different areas to find people looking to serve.

“volunteering” near:"san diego" within:50mi


People talking about things related to nonprofits in San Diego: (See Results)

This one is pretty simple. If you are a nonprofit looking for people who are interested in nonprofits in your area then this search is for you. Anyone that is located in San Diego (remember you can switch out San Diego with your city or state) who uses the word “nonprofit” or “nonprofits” one of their Tweets will be found.

nonprofit OR nonprofits near:"san diego"


People talking about breast cancer in San Diego: (See Results)

Very similar to the above search except this time we’re looking for people talking about a specific topic in my local area.

"Breast Cancer" near:"san diego"


People talking about breast cancer in San Diego and sharing links to pictures: (See Results)

This search combines a few things to find people who are located in San Diego, talking about breast cancer and sharing links to pictures. This search could be perfect for an organization like The American Heart Association or LIVESTRONG. When they put on their big walkathon type events they could easily find people participating and sharing pictures. They could then reach out to them and share their pictures on their websites. Awesome!

"Breast Cancer" near:"san diego" twitpic OR yfrog OR post.ly OR twitgoo OR pikchur filter:links


Social Media for Nonprofits


People talking about social media for nonprofits and sharing web resources: (See Results)

"socialmedia" OR "social media" "nonprofit" OR "nonprofits" -rt filter:links


People talking about social media strategy for nonprofits and sharing web resources: (See Results)

"socialmedia" OR "social media" "nonprofit" OR "nonprofits" "strategy" -rt filter:links


People talking about social media being used for fundraising and sharing web resources: (See Results)

"socialmedia" OR "social media" fundraising filter:links -rt


People talking about social media being used for philanthropy and sharing web resources: (See Results) 

"socialmedia" OR "social media" philanthropy filter:links -rt -to:Philanthropy -from:Philanthropy -@Philanthropy


Technology for Nonprofits


People talking about nonprofit technology and sharing web resources: (See Results)

"nptech" OR "nonprofit tech" OR "nonprofit technology" filter:links –rt



A few definitions that will further help you understand the above search strings: 

Additional Twitter search operators here

Photo by andercismo 


What other Twitter Searches can you think of? Do you have any that are working well for you yet? Oh, and I’d love to help if you have questions?



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