How to create a Twitter account that tweets your DonorsChoose search criteria

One of my favorite non-profits is DonorsChoose.org. For those that aren’t familiar with DonorsChoose.org, It’s a website that allows teachers to request items they need for their class that their school hasn’t budgeted for. Depending on the wealth of the school these items could range from books to iPads. As a donor you can choose which projects to donate money to. You might choose to donate to classes in your area, or maybe based on the subject being taught, or the need of the class.

I prefer to donate to classes in Austin, but I also like to search for projects that are only a few bucks from completion and finish them. To aid my effort in finding projects that are near completion I created a Twitter account, called @AlmostCompleted, that tweets when it finds a project that needs less than $20. I have Twitter send these tweet to my phone via SMS so I know about it immediately. Why? Just for fun. I can’t afford to complete every project that needs less than $20, but you have to be fast if you find a project near completion that you want to donate to.

Creating this Twitter account was very simple. I’ll detail the steps here so you can create an account with your own search criteria. For example, you could create an account that only tweets project in your state that need less than $20. Here’s how it’s done.

  1. Create a new Twitter account.
  2. Go to the DonorsChoose.org projects listing page and use the filters on the right hand sidebar to find the projects you’d like to tweet about.
  3. Once you’ve got your search criteria figured out, look at bottom of the project listings. On the left hand side you’ll see a drop down menu that says “Add to your website or feedreader.” Click on that drop down menu and select “RSS 2.0.”
  4. A new tab will open up with an RSS feed of projects that meet your search criteria. Copy the URL of this RSS feed found in your browser’s address bar.
  5. Next you must create a FeedBurner.com account.
  6. After you have a FeedBurner account, login and where it says “Burn a feed right this instant. Type your blog or feed address here:” put your RSS feed you copied in step 4.
  7. Next, in FeedBurner, go to the “Publicize” tab and select “Socialize” found in the left hand column.
  8. In the “Socialize” section you can connect the Twitter account you created in step 1. In the options, for “Post content,” you’ll probably want to select “Title and Body,” and you’ll definitely want to make sure you checkmark “Include link.” Other than that, you’ll can play with the other options however you’d like.
  9. Finally click the “Save” button in the bottom left hand of “Socialize” section.
  10. That’s it! You’re Twitter account should Tweet every 30 minutes or so if there are new projects that meet your search criteria on DonorsChoose.org.

In FeedBurner you might also want to turn activate “PingShot.” I understand that should make your Tweets update faster, but I’m not sure how well it actually works. To activate “PingShot” under the “Publicize” tab, select “PingShot” found in the left hand column, then click “Activate.” That’s it! Enjoy!

Please give @AlmostCompleted a shout out on the Twitter! 🙂

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8 Responses to How to create a Twitter account that tweets your DonorsChoose search criteria

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention How to create a Twitter account that tweets your DonorsChoose search criteria | Dusty Reagan -- Topsy.com

  2. MJ says:

    Thanks Dusty! I tried to make one for my school district with $50 or less. There are none that meet that criteria at the moment. Can I still create it with no projects listed now?
    MJ

  3. LouF says:

    I know your intentions are good, but this charity is not what it appears to be. Please don’t give to DonorsChoose.org.

    In their pie chart, they make it appear like their overhead is very low, but they hide their hugely-inflated “salaries” in that blue section together with “Classroom projects materials”.

    The people who run DonorsChoose.org pay themselves enormous salaries, which is money that doesn’t get to the kids. The CEO makes $160k, the CFO makes $150k, COO: $135,000, CTO: $135,000, VP1: $125,000, VP2: $125,000, VP3: $110,000…

    • Dusty Reagan says:

      I actually don’t find those salaries out of line. Non-profit organizations compete with for-profit businesses when it comes to hiring staff, which means the pay has to be competitive. Otherwise, why be the CEO of a non-profit when you could be the CEO of publicly traded company? Yeah, you might do it out of charity, but if you could be earning twice the salary somewhere else it wouldn’t make financial sense.

      In addition, when you donate to DonorsChoose, there’s an option where you can elect to not donate any of the money to the DonorsChoose organization, and have 100% of your donation go to the class.

      • LouF says:

        That is incorrect. Whether you make the optional “Optional Donation to Support DonorsChoose.org” or not, they still suck a “Fulfillment Labor & Materials” charge out of you, and it is not optional.

        Dude, those salaries are WAY out of line! The CFO of IBM gets paid big bucks because he has a very complex job. A charity that takes donations and buys chalkboards with them doesn’t need a $150k CFO. They don’t need a CFO at all. They don’t need multiple VPs and 50 employees.

        They don’t need to pay a CEO $160. This guy started a charity and paid himself and his buddies six-figure salaries. It is a scam. You shouldn’t support it.

  4. TD says:

    LouF I have seen this same post of yours all over the place. I just want to say that I am a teacher that has benefited from Donors Choose. My students are getting so really great resources that they would not have otherwise. I have another project that is less than $50 away from being fully funded. More resources for my students that they would not have without Donors Choose. I just don’t see how kids are being hurt by this organization. Lots of kids are benefiting when Donors Choose projects are funded.
    Teachers are able to get resources in their classrooms that they have no other way of getting. I get $200/year from my district to spend on materials. That means writing paper, pencils, pens, markers, crayons, tape…pretty much everything except copy paper (as long as we don’t run out, and if we do then I buy that too) and workbooks. Once in awhile we get small funds ($100 0r less) from grants or organizations such as PTO. I also get to claim $250 on my taxes (trust me I spend that plus some just getting my room ready in August). So, LouF if you’ve got another way for me to get these valuable resources for my students I’d love to hear it!

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