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.
- Create a new Twitter account.
- 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.
- 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.”
- 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.
- Next you must create a FeedBurner.com account.
- 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.
- Next, in FeedBurner, go to the “Publicize” tab and select “Socialize” found in the left hand column.
- 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.
- Finally click the “Save” button in the bottom left hand of “Socialize” section.
- 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! 🙂