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Advance Work: Tweet and Greet

University of Leeds uses Twitter to keep alumni up-to-date on annual fund drive

By Gayle Bennett

A night in the life of a phonathon caller doesn't tend to be too lonely. Multiple students are packed into a room, forming a resolved, rebuffed, and rejoicing community.

It's the other end of the line that Adrian Salmon, annual fund manager at the University of Leeds, is worried about. "If you get a call, you get a call, but you don't get a sense that there are hundreds of people getting calls that night, that people are giving money, telling stories." His community-building solution for the annual fund? Twitter.

Salmon and Annual Fund Officer Adam Robinson ask the student supervisors in the call room to tweet the nightly results or anything else of note on the Leeds Annual Fund Twitter page ( "A huge thank you to the 41 lovely alums who donated nearly £7000 tonight!" was one missive that went to the nearly 150 followers during the U.K. university's spring campaign.

Is the nightly tweeting helping student callers raise more funds? It's hard to say, but Salmon and Robinson aren't necessarily thinking about it that way. "It's where the people are at the moment," says Robinson, "so why not share good news in that platform? It's a fun and very visual culture."

And sometimes a bit of a conversation ensues, he says. "We do get people tweeting in support."

About the Author Gayle Bennett

Gayle Bennett is a freelance writer and a former editor at CURRENTS.




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