Top 50 charities on Twitter

It’s been nine months since I started looking at the Twitter followings of some of the UK’s biggest fundraising charities.

While I’ve previously just looked at the top 10,  this time I thought it would be worth going beyond that and setting out the top 50.

The National Trust is still well out in front of everyone else with 752,692 followers, having increased its following by a colossal 92,232 followers since January.

This is the biggest increase by far. But there are also another nine charities that have increased their followings by more than 20,000 in the last nine months.

It is not just the frontrunner that has stayed the same. In fact, the only change in the top 10 since July is that RSPB has overtaken Oxfam to take 7th place.

But looking across the top 50, one thing that strikes me is the number of charities with sizeable followings. There are 18 charities with more than 200,000 followers and 34 with more than 100,000.

In terms of how they’ve grown their followings, it’s mostly a case of the charities with the biggest increases being the ones that already had big followings at the start of the year. But not always. Stonewall and Rethink have both seen increases of more than 20,000 despite starting the year with fewer than 150,000 followers.

Stonewall’s increase of 20,708 since January stands out in particular; it represents a 15.9% increase in followers in just nine months.

Twitter followers
  1. National Trust, 752,692
  2. Macmillan, 624,203
  3. Help for Heroes, 512,061
  4. Mind, 334,771
  5. BHF, 314,817
  6. Cancer Research UK, 304,878
  7. RSPB, 271,839
  8. Oxfam, 268,183
  9. Dog’s Trust, 253,933
  10. Amnesty UK, 248,039
  11. Comic Relief, 242,025
  12. British Red Cross, 237,764
  13. Shelter, 236,832
  14. BBC Children in Need, 231,450
  15. Unicef UK, 226,561
  16. Royal British Legion, 220,694
  17. NSPCC, 207,569
  18. WWF, 206,553
  19. Battersea Dogs and Cats, 183,513
  20. Barnardo’s, 178,072
  21. Save the Children, 172,195
  22. Rethink, 166,223
  23. Diabetes UK, 161,893
  24. Breast Cancer Care, 156,240
  25. Alzheimer’s Society, 155,303
  26. Stonewall, 150,765
  27. Woodland Trust, 148,706
  28. Prince’s Trust, 145,340
  29. RNLI, 124,124
  30. Action for Children, 116,913
  31. Marie Curie, 113,870
  32. Age UK, 109,348
  33. Guide Dogs, 108,218
  34. Teenage Cancer Trust, 103,556
  35. Great Ormond Street, 98,614
  36. Stroke Association, 94,981
  37. Cats Protection, 94,728
  38. Scope, 94,657
  39. Samaritan’s, 89,740
  40. Art Fund, 85,863
  41. Christian Aid, 84,268
  42. Crisis, 83,559
  43. National Trust for Scotland, 75,793
  44. Wateraid, 71,535
  45. PDSA, 68,259
  46. Blue Cross, 67,137
  47. Children’s Society, 66,225
  48. Parkinson’s UK, 57,060
  49. Islamic Relief UK, 46,357
  50. MS Society, 44,486

Update: As was rightly pointed out on LinkedIn, RSPCA is missing from the list – an error on my part. If it had been included, it would have been included.

As always, it’s worth saying that looking at number of Twitter followers is only ever a finger in the air and comes with some big caveats. Not only is the number of followers only a single (and sometimes misleading) measure of success, but some charities mayhave causes and audiences that make it easier to build a big following than others. Also, the results are likely to be at least partly due to the resources – both staff and non-staff –committed to it.

The list of charities was based on the Charity Financials list of the top 100 fundraising charities, not including charities that were more cultural institutions than fundraising charities (eg Tate Britain and the National Gallery) or those without a significant social media presence. I also added nine charities not in the Charity Financials list that have a famous brand or big social media presence. Data was recorded on October 30, 2017.

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