Interview with David J. Neff - Nonprofit Tweet-up


David_j_neff In his role as Director of Web, Film and Interactive Strategies for the American Cancer Society's High Plains Division David J. Neff has worked with ACS in some exciting social media intitiaves. One of the most successful has been  the non profit world's first total user generated content site.

The other side of David J. Neff is .. he is an author, speaker and social media maven. He's also a guy with a big heart. Skipping along Twitter a couple of weeks ago I caught tweets about a Tweet-up. Following the teeny bread crumb trail I learned that David was part of the Tweet-up team. Sounded like a Diva Interview to me and David agreed.

Toby/Diva Marketing: So David, what is a Tweet-up?

David J. Neff:  A Tweet-up is the same thing as what used to be called a meet-up. From the days. It’s a bunch of people who know each other online meeting in real-life. Usually to enjoy some Tex-Mex and Adult Beverages if it’s an Austin tweet-up ; -)

Toby/Diva Marketing: What was the ACS Tweet-up about? How many people signed up?

David J. Neff:  Well Toby we didn’t have a ACS Tweet Up. We had a Blood Drive Tweetup to benefit the Central Texas Blood and Tissue Center. The American Cancer Society was not involved at all. We had 45 to 50 people sign up and we had 45 people show up.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Let’s put a little traditional perspective around that number. In a typical Blood Drive out reach what would be your average response?

David J. Neff:  We doubled their traffic for that day!

Toby/Diva Marketing: Did you have any expectations?  What did you “hope” would happen?

Austinblooddrivetweetupstickerbfw David J. Neff: I hope I would get to meet a lot of the Central Texas/Austin commuity and talk to them about giving blood and even our newest Web Community Luckily we did a lot more than that!

Toby/Diva Marketing: As with most social media initiatives the “oomph!” comes from relations build with a community .. with Twitter it's the “Followers.” This is sort of a chicken and egg question. Do you first have to build a base of Followers before you can have a successful Tweet-up?  How do you do that?

David J. Neff:  Good question. I don’t have a third of the followers you do Toby (add me at @daveiam) so that was not an option for us. But what did happen was people spread the word on twitter and email! Michelle Greer my awesome co-partner on this did the same thing and soon we had the whole Austin Twitter Community interested in the Blood Drive. It went viral since it was such a good cause.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Twitter has a unique challenge. As the tweets (or posts) continue to increase exponentially based on the number of people you follow you can easily miss a tweet. How did you compensate for that?

David J. Neff:  Michelle Greer and I talked the heck out of it. We also partnered with two local groups to get the message out. The 501 Tech Club of Austin and the Austin Social Media Club. They were a big help!

Toby/Diva Marketing: From a marketing view .. congrats! on integrating other social tactics such as the YouTube video and @Twitter  messages .. which is how I found out.  Please talk a little about that part of your strategy.

David J. Neff:  That was just the summary.

If you are going to have an event around your non-profit be sure to Blog about it, Video tape people and take photos. It’s all you can do to spread the word!

Toby/Diva Marketing: What are a few of the Lessons Learned? Would you do it again?

David J. Neff: Whew! We learned a lot. The most important thing is that people really do care nowdays. You just have to break through the clutter and get them to notice your event. In this case the community on twitter really helped us do that!  We do plan to do it again very soon for another non-profit here in town.

Toby/Diva Marketing
: What would you tell non profits and profits who are exploring micro blogging/Twitter as part of their communication out reach?

David J. Neff:

Make it happen. You need to experiment. Watch this video and follow some of my tips.

Follow David on Twitter! FI Space - blog about innovation for non profits.



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Thanks so much for this Toby. I hope people enjoy the interview!

Posted by: David J. Neff on Aug 19, 2008 5:07:56 PM

@David - pleasure. thank you for generously sharing.

Posted by: Toby Bloomberg on Aug 20, 2008 8:07:59 PM

Interesting to see how meetups are turning into tweetups - and the impact of twitter in getting people to work for a cause. This makes for a good case study for event marketers and managers. The power of online social interactions, so as to speak.

Simon - Events Listed

Posted by: Simon on Aug 26, 2008 2:13:38 PM

It's really nice to see that the internet social networks can still provide some REAL people on the streets.

With a little effort and coordination, you were able to do a great thing for the people in your community (donate blood) and at the same time, you've taken people who chances were, would never meet, and have now created an opportunity for them to creat genuine, real-world friendships and relationships. Good Job! - Where busy chicks come to unwind...

Posted by: DivaGuru on Aug 28, 2008 10:47:25 AM

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