News and analysis
September 10, 2014

7 Nonprofits to Test Using Twitter 'Buy' Button for Fundraising

Seven nonprofits are among the partners in a test of the e-commerce waters by Twitter that allows users to make purchases or donate money directly on the social-media platform.

Twitter said on its blog Monday that it would begin experimenting with a "buy" button, a tool that facilitates financial transactions directly from tweets. The company describes it as an early step in what will become "convenient and easy" mobile, Twitter-based shopping.

The nonprofits on the list of test partners are 9/11 Day of Service, the Nature Conservancy, Global Citizen, Glide, Glaad,, and Product Red. A small percentage of U.S. Twitter users will see products and solicitations in their Twitter feeds from the 28 artists, companies, and nonprofits in the coming weeks, Twitter said on its blog.

The nonprofits contacted for this story referred questions to Twitter. Katie Bisbee, chief marketing officer at, an education-focused crowdfunding platform, did say in an email that the organization would be selling back-to-school T-shirts on Twitter to help support more classrooms.

A Twitter spokesman declined to elaborate beyond the information shared in the blog post.

The participating nonprofits were selected based on existing relationships with the social-media company and because they had long used Twitter and had built up a strong following, a source familiar with the program said.

Beth Kanter, a consultant and social-media expert, says that Twitter recently expanded its corporate social-responsibility staff. Including nonprofits among the test partners is a smart move that could be part of a companywide strategy to support good causes, she says.

"Twitter has always been a platform for nonprofits to spread the word about their causes and fundraisers, and if the ‘buy’ button works for products, why wouldn’t it work for online contributions?" Ms. Kanter says.

To be sure, adding a button on a tweet does not guarantee a fundraising bump, she says. It is hard to track what exactly triggers a donation, Ms. Kanter points out.

"I suspect the nonprofits will be looking carefully at how they integrate the ‘donate’ button into their tweets and track conversation and explore what impact the overall strategy has had," Ms. Kanter says.

Send an e-mail to Megan O’Neil.