What charities can learn from Twestival

It’s been a little while since Twestival in March so I thought it was about time I penned a short blog piece on it.

I’d been aware of Twestival for a while and so when Amanda, Twestival’s founder, called out for volunteers with social media skills I jumped right in and offered my time.

I was one of around 15 people on the worldwide social media team- a few working in each country. We were there to take the pressure off the regional co-ordinators so they could work with each of the local cities in their region. It was a new role/team for Twestival and so it started off a little loose and ready to be shaped by everyone. But it was clear from the start that we were bubbling with ideas.

Harnessing it was harder as we were lacking definition and all looking to each other to make the first move. So it was great when one of the global Twestival team stepped in to give direction – he gave shape to our responsibilities and we agreed who was taking the lead on different things.

So how did it work?

  • Each channel was divided up to be led by a different person- the local city volunteers already run their own profiles while the UK national ones were covered by the social media team.
  • Each city received guidance and support from the rest of the Twestival collective through huddle.
  • We crowd sourced various strategies and documents amongst the social media team on huddle and skype chat. For example:
    • Our first skype chat resulted in the creation of incentives for cities for the first time – this being a tactic to get the most of social media chatter and produce great content eg best team photo and best logo.
    • A quick social media tips guide that covered comms, persuasion and bribery for attention- and social media fundraising tools
  • We continued to have regular skype or gotomeeting calls to keep in touch with what the next focus area should be and any things that need sorting out.


What Twestival really demonstrates is the power of a loosely formed network connected together through social media. Success in this can only come from an organisation trusting the network and letting the network shape the activity rather than having a top down approach.

Completely unconnected to Twestival I’ve been reading some of the free MIT course notes and this quote really struck me:

“The rise of networks… means that conflicts may increasingly be waged by ‘networks’ perhaps more than by ‘heirachies’. It also means that whoever masters the network form stands to gain the advantage” – John Arquilla & David Ronfeldt, Networks and Netwars (Rand 2001).

This quote was in the context of Al Queda and conflict – but turning it on it’s head and thinking about it in the context of doing good works just as well, and Twestival proves it.

So I absolutely and totally agree with Cian’s blog post which has some great references on networks. This digest of how the Plymouth City Twestival engaged volunteers is also pretty insightful too.

One thought on “What charities can learn from Twestival

  1. Pingback: twestival two years on | laila takeh thoughts on my everyday

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