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3 Benefits of live tweeting #charity events – our experience from the @NelsonsJourney Quiz [short blog]

If you live in Norfolk and haven’t heard about the Nelson’s Journey charity for bereaved children, we hope it’s because you’ve been lucky enough to have never needed their support. But every year around 450 young people in our county turn to them for help coping with the death of a loved one. Sometimes all they need is someone to listen to them, to share their grief, other times they need intensive counselling: every time, Nelson’s Journey is there for them because of generous donations of time and money from people like you.

On Friday 20 November 2015, I had the privilege of being invited to join the Nelson’s Journey team for their annual fundraising Christmas Quiz – as their honorary ‘Twitter Elf’. Those of you who follow our blogs may know that we’ve been using them this year to raise funds for Nelson’s Journey. So donating an evening of intense social media activity seemed like the perfect way of rounding off the year.



Live tweeting is nothing new – it’s been pretty much the order of the day for big events since the launch of twitter. However, many people still fail to exploit the potential of live tweeting to engage with both their audience in the venue and those following remotely. Aside from building your brand, here are three good reasons why your charity should consider it for your next event:

    1 Build excitement round the event and encourage participation,
    2 Thank your sponsors and other supporters,
    3 Promote your fundraising page and the work you do.


Getting people involved – start early

The Nelson’s Journey team (including volunteers) started promoting this event back in September. Our aim at the time was to sell tickets and encourage local companies to support the event with prizes for the raffle, the lucky dip and the auction. Local events organiser Ruth Lowe coordinated activity, with additional support from Norwich Print Solutions (who have been the charity’s main corporate sponsor for a number of years) – we chipped in too with various tweets to our followers.  

The team increased social media activity gradually over the next six weeks (including posting the event on the Norfolk Chamber website). Then Nelson’s Journey released the hashtag #NJXmasQuiz at the end of October and we really started to motor. In the final weeks, Ruth led a big push to promote all the sponsors and the companies who had bought tickets for the event – by the time the Friday night arrived, the teams were definitely getting into the spirit.


Thank you to all the sponsors and donors…

As well as selling around 200 tickets for the evening, the team at Nelson’s Journey asked for prize donations from businesses across the region. The results were fantastic – including a magnum of champagne and a 4Kg chocolate Santa, which each raised £100 in the evening’s auction.

MC Gary Stevens thanks the audience for their generosity.

MC Gary Stevens from Heart East Anglia thanks the audience for their generosity.

As well as using twitter to thank as many of the donors as possible, we also created a special twitter list of supporters (which the NJ team will now continue to build – giving them a head start on next year’s quiz). 


Nelson's Journey Sponsors #NJXmasQuiz 2015

Nelson’s Journey Sponsors #NJXmasQuiz 2015

…and thank you to our official (and unofficial) photographers

An event like this lacks a certain sparkle without photographic evidence. People love to share pictures of themselves and their friends having fun. That’s particularly so when their friends wear fetching festive outfits.

Martin Lake - Buy Local Norfolk

Eat your heart out Ron Weasley.

As well as all the guests and roving reporter Ruth taking photos, the event benefited from the professional work of Simon Watson and John Newstead (whose photos we are using, with permission from Nelson’s Journey).


Seize the opportunity to promote your main fundraising page

Over the course of the evening, we posted around 160 original tweets plus numerous RTs from the NJ twitter account. But that was only a small part of the total twitter activity. Loads of guests as well as Ruth Lowe, our photographers, and other volunteers – even Simon Wright, the new CEO of Nelson’s Journey – took to twitter to share the buzz.  

Simon says - please support Nelson's Journey.

Simon says – please support Nelson’s Journey.

As a result of all this activity – both in the months running up to the event and on the evening itself – Nelson’s Journey raised over £6660. That’s enough to send 27 children and young people to one of the Charity’s therapeutic Residential Weekends at the wonderful Hilltop Outdoor Centre in North Norfolk.

End of an amazing evening.

End of an amazing evening.


Now it’s your turn

This year, 470 children will be facing their first Christmas following the death of one of their parents. If you feel like donating a special Christmas present to help them through this difficult time, please donate here. With your help, the wonderful team at Nelson’s Journey can help “bring back smiles.”



We’re blogging for charity

We’re trying to raise money for @NelsonsJourney who help children dealing with bereavement – here’s why.

If you enjoyed this post or found it useful or interesting, please donate £2 (or more if you can – the average is £15) to Nelson’s Journey. Donating with JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your money goes direct to the charity, saving the charity time and helping them cut costs.

We have posted this donation button on all our blogs in 2015. We hope to hit our target of £99 by the end of 2015. We will then select a new charity for 2016. If you like this idea, please feel free to copy it and use your blogs to support your favourite charity.


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Thank you for reading

This post is part of an occasional series on business, social media and communications. If you found it interesting or useful, please share it with others. 

Please join the conversation by adding your views below or contacting us on twitter, LinkedIn or Google+

Kind regards

Huw and Wendy

@HuwSayer / @Business_Write

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