Services and Charities

Regular readers are probably aware that I'm a programmer of sorts. I've written a suite of tools that give me a somewhat unique insight into the demographics of followers on Twitter - this may be useful to you or your company. I do not charge for this service: it's available to anyone who makes an appropriate donation to the charities listed at the bottom of this post.

I'm grateful to Total Fundraising (@TotalFR on Twitter) for volunteering to be my guinea pig as I showcase what I can offer.

Word clouds
A word cloud is an image generated from text. The larger a word is, the more frequently used it was in the original text. I most commonly use these to analyse the two line biography people write to describe themselves on Twitter. In the below image I've pulled this Twitter biography from everyone who follows Total Fundraising and put them in a word cloud:

You'll see that the words 'fundraising', 'charity' and 'Ireland' are the ones most likely to be used by Total Fundraising's followers to describe themselves. This gives you a broad overview of what is and what isn't important to their followers.

Gender balance
I can provide a rough estimate of the gender balance of a Twitter account's followers by scanning the followers for masculine and feminine names. There is of course a margin of error in such an approach as my friends Nick and Michelle (female and male, respectively) will testify, but it can serve as a reliable indicator of whether or not your account lacks appeal to a specific gender. At 52% male and 48% female, Total Fundraising seems to be doing a good job of striking the right balance.

Mosaic images
I can download copies of profile pictures of all your followers and rearrange them into an image of your choice. Here I've taken profile pictures of Total Fundraising's followers and rearranged them to form an image taken from their Facebook page:
I can also provide a grid map so your followers can find their own profile pictures. As a sample, ten of the profile pictures used for this image can be found at the following locations:
1dayforrehab 37x10
2into3 29x4
4_md 38x16
98FM 38x13
AdvantageNFP 31x13
AffilyonUK 27x20
AfricaDay 2x10
Alangb 17x4
AngelaVBolton 10x3
Anne_Connelly 40x17
The technique can be adapted to provide recognition to sponsors or those that signed a petition. It works best with at least a thousand profile pictures.

Most valuable followers
Which of your followers have the best social media reach? How many self described journalists follow you? Have you missed a celebrity follower who you could ask for a retweet? By enabling you to sort your followers by how many followers they have and filter them based on their location or how they choose to describe themselves you can answer these and many more questions. Total Fundraising is followed by RTÉ 2fm, 98FM and RTÉRadio1 - it may be useful to reach out to them and ask for help with specific promotions.

Review those you follow
Have you had a policy of automatically following back anyone who follows your account? It's wise to periodically review those you follow to avoid being seen to inadvertently endorse groups or individuals with views damaging to your cause. Again, by allowing you to sort and filter information on those you follow you can easily identify likely problem accounts.

Demographics of your followers
I can poll a representative sample of your followers and tell you what accounts they're likely to follow. For example, I checked 952 of Total Fundraising's followers and found the following:

40% also follow The Journal. This is the most popular news outlet amongst their followers - advertising here is likely to reach their target demographic. The next most popular media outlet is Newstalk at 27%. Spin 103.8 attracts only 13% of their followers and may not be as well placed to reach their target demographic.

28% of Total Fundraising's followers follow Barnardos, 24% follow Amnesty Ireland and Focus Ireland, 19% follow Concern Worldwide. These are all customers of Total Fundraising and the crossover demonstrates a commitment to promoting their clients.

The Irish politician most popular amongst Total Fundraising's followers is Senator David Norris, attracting about 20% of their followers. He's followed by Michael D Higgins at 18%, and Ivana Bacik at 13%. Politics seems to be a secondary concern for their followers - no other Irish politician makes the list.

Due to the quantity of data required to compile this report a typical sample of a thousand followers takes somewhere in the order of 16 hours to process.

Special projects
Have something in mind that isn't listed? Do ask. I'll be happy to let you know how feasible it is.

How can I get this?
I like to treat these on a case by case basis. Please e-mail me initially, geoffsshorts at, letting me know what you'd like done, which charity you'd like to support, and how you'd like to support it.

Do I have to give you money?
No. I'll never ask you for money - just evidence you've made a charitable donation.You're welcome to keep all the tax benefits that accrue to those who donate.

What charities or nonprofits do you have in mind?
A quick disclaimer - that I endorse some charities and nonprofits below should not be taken to imply that I am authorised to speak on their behalf, have any connection with them, or that they share any of my views. (Many quite likely do not.) I merely admire their work.

I like both the Abortion Rights Campaign and the Abortion Support Network. My wife and I used Bóthar cards as table favours for our wedding - we found them very helpful and professional, and admire the work they do lifting folk out of poverty through promotion of sustainable farming.

Responsible Charity do fine work in Kolkata. For those who favour explicitly religious charities I admire the work of the Capuchin Day Centre who provide services to (and accept volunteers from) all faiths and none. The Barnabas Fund provide support to Christians who are persecuted for their faith. Islamic Relief to me embodies the strong emphasis on Zakat (charity) in the Quran and are an admirable organisation.

These are merely indicative samples of course, there are many other fine charities and non profits out there.

It might be simpler to give examples of charities and nonprofits I'm unlikely to favour. Art, dance, or organisations whose primary focus is evangelisation are unlikely to move me.

How much?

Again I'd like to take it on a case by case basis. Do get in touch.


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Unknown said...

I spent a very enjoyable couple of hours reading your blog. A lovely experience. Wonderfully written, funny but deeply - some might depressingly - sensible and tolerant. I promise to look in every so often, having lost patience with myself for watching re-runs of Father Ted. Keep up the good work! ...A British admirer..

Unknown said...

Thanks Unknown! Glad you enjoyed, and I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

Unknown said...

This is such an interesting article, thanks for sharing. I have recently discovered Tony Charalambides fundraising blog, you should check it out!