Twollars – a Twitter based fundraising currency

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There has been a lot of discussion this year about the potential value of microblogging service Twitter to nonprofits, so I’d imagine there will also be a lot of interest in the latest version of the Twitter-based virtual currency – the Twollar.

Described as “a currency of appreciation” for Twitter, the idea is that every Twitter user is given 50 Twollars and can then use these to thank or reward other people who use Twitter – perhaps in thanks for a particularly useful Tweet or as a reward for engaging on a website.

But the interesting thing is that you can also give your Twollars to a charity which uses Twitter – by sending a Tweet as shown in the screengrab above. The receiving charity can then convert them into real money (at an exchange rate of 10 Twollars to 1 $US) by selling them back to Twitterers who have used-up their 50 allocation, or companies who want to make use of Twollars as part of a reward or loyalty programme. And, all money goes directly to the charity with no cut going to the folks behind the Twollar site.

I really like this initiative, and guess it could have some real fundraising potential if companies start to use Twollars and thus need to purchase them in large volumes from charities – and charities can engage with enough Twitter users to keep them stocked-up.

However, one thing struck me as I checked my own Twollars page (which you can do here) and found that I had indeed been credited with 50 Twollars. What is there to stop me spending the rest of the afternoon opening new Twitter accounts so as to snag a big pile of Twollars for myself? Perhaps not a bad thing if I then donate them all to good causes – but it does seem like an easy way to subvert the Twollar economy?

This aside (and perhaps there is a way to stop such Twollar-piling that I haven’t picked-up on?) there are already over 50 charities from all over the world signed-up to ‘trade’ Twollars, and any interested in giving the scheme a go can register here.


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