How Twitter can Fight Addiction

By Garrett Stanczak

Lately, my posts in this blog have largely mentioned how social media can benefit business. And while I do believe that it is impossible to overstate the opportunities that social media can provide organizations, the truth is that interactive media has so much more to offer. Especially in regards to charities and NPOs.

Last week I mentioned social media can help advertising by allowing its users to target messages directly to their audiences. NPOs can perform a similar feat using the same methods. Most charities will claim that they don’t care where the money comes from, and while that’s most likely true, social media enables an NPO to see who is most receptive. In an article on Sprout Social, Alicia Johnston wrote that it is a good idea for charities to “develop audience personas, which are representations of your ideal supporters based on a combination of demographic data and information about individual members of your target audience” (2015). An example of some demographic data is below:


That is one of the tools charities can use to improve their cause, so how are they using it? One charity, called Oxford House, is a sober home in Edmonton for men and women recovering from addictions. It knows how many potential donators are on social media, and it takes full advantage of twitter.

This tweet is geared towards advertising a charity concert. Perhaps Oxford House used special tools to discover that a lot of its followers enjoyed music. It also links to the organizations facebook account to ensure the message is spread on multiple media.

This tweet is more overt, showing the visually striking image of a woman who looks down on her luck to ask people to donate so they can improve her life.

The final tweet we’ll be looking at is a more uplifting one. Instead of asking for money, this tweet is geared towards the idea of the Oxford House offering its services to those in need. To that end it uses a happy, uplifting picture to illustrate what kind of environment it offers.

In summary, social media allows NPOs to recognize their audiences and easily deliver effective messages to them in ways they could not before. With that in mind, it’s comforting to know that it isn’t just businesses that can benefit from the social media juggernaut.


A Strategic Guide to Social Media for Nonprofits by Alicia Johnston, 2015

Oxford House’s Twitter Feed


6 thoughts on “How Twitter can Fight Addiction

  1. Social media is probably a non-profit’s best friend. I used to help organize semi-annual musical events with choirs and other singers. Social media helped us reach way more people than word-of-mouth and door-to-door. We also had awesome attendance and I think a big part of it was because everyone who was part of the event would advertise it on Facebook in the weeks leading up to it.


  2. I completely agree. For non-profit groups, social media provides a platform to share their messages, their services, their requests. Being able to cut costs while improving their presences, is a win-win. It allows the groups to use their resources more efficiently, and then help more and more people.


    1. I agree! I didn’t talk as much about the low-to-nonexistent cost of social media as I would have liked, but it really is an overlooked aspect of the medium that is often taken for granted.


  3. Do you draw a distinction between non-profits and businesses when it comes to this kind of targeted advertising? A few people in class have made posts about how creepy it is that their interests are being analyzed in order to maximize marketing effectiveness. Obviously Oxford House is doing good work, and I don’t think that many people would question the morality of their donor analytics. I wonder where the line is where people start to get creeped out.


    1. Honestly, I don’t draw a line. My post last week was about business using targeted marketing from businesses and I’m very much in favor of it. It helps businesses use marketing targeted to specific audiences and they aren’t using any information that people aren’t making public anyway. As long as they focus on targeting interests and not personal information, I don’t see anything to be creeped out about.

      I’m probably the wrong person to ask though. One of my aspirations in life is to be a mass media corporate stooge, lol.


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