Getting Started

The Blueprint

Welcome to Thunderclap! Here’s our guide for creating a campaign that brings scale and impact to word of mouth.

Your message matters.

It’s at the core of your campaign and will be shared from your supporters’ accounts.

When people see your message, they should immediately understand what you hope to achieve and how their support will make it happen.

Whether you're raising awareness, demanding change, or just celebrating something fun, a clear and concise message is integral to rallying support.

Your message has a 117-character limit, so keep it short and sweet. You can continue to tell a more detailed story on your Thunderclap page. Some examples:

  • It’s time we changed the odds. Let’s #StandUpToCancer
  • We support #SharkWeek conservation partners and want to keep our finned friends safe from extinction.
  • Happy Birthday AmeriCorps! Thanks for 20 years of #GettingThingsDone. #AmeriCorps20

The Royal British Legion's Thunderclap message is short but to the point and included a relevant hashtag.

Choosing a deadline
Is there a day and time that will create the most impact for your message? That’s when your Thunderclap campaign should end! We recommend running a campaign for 2-3 weeks to give yourself plenty of time to recruit supporters.

Fight for the Future timed its Thunderclap launch to celebrate a specific day.
The Thunderclap “Moment for Jenni Rivera” was planned to launch at a specific time of day to coincide with an award show memoriam.


Make a plan to promote
You’ve just created a memorable message and set a deadline. Nice! Now it’s time to recruit supporters. This may sound daunting at first, but in practice will only require small, consistent daily actions.

Important:This window of time is crucial for getting as many people to see and support your campaign. Every day counts in getting the word out. Don’t wait until the last few days to ask for support.

Here are some of the most popular channels for promotion, but we recommend posting about your Thunderclap anywhere you have an audience.

Have a clear call to action
As you promote your campaign, explain to your audience that you’re asking them to sign up to share a scheduled message across Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. They’re joining your online flash mob and will join the other supporters in sharing your message all at the same time on the date you selected.

Tip: Make it clear that potential supporters must click one of the buttons on your Thunderclap page to pledge their support. Otherwise, eager potential supporters may misinterpret your promotion, and only "like" or retweet your invitation, rather than actually backing your Thunderclap.

Clear call to action messages are key in all forms of media promotion.

Its also helpful to briefly explain what Thunderclap is to your initial audience. Since Thunderclap is a new platform, a quick assurance of the safety and effectiveness goes a long way.

In this email, the Thunderclap organizer briefly explained what the Thunderclap platform does.

Be proactive. Always be promoting.
Leveraging all your available channels is half the battle; the other half is frequency. You should consistently engage your audience from the start of your campaign right up until it’s about to end. People check social media an email at different times, so your promotions should be spread out throughout the day.

Some opportunities to spread the word about your campaign:

  • Announcing that a celebrity/influencer supported it
  • Updates on your campaign (e.g. announce a milestone)
  • Crucial tipping points (e.g. “We only need 20 more supporters to reach our goal!”)
  • Current events that suggest why people should support your campaign now

Important: Bear in mind the golden rule for advertising: “Repetition, repetition, repetition.” You don’t have to sound like a broken record, just remind your audience that they are a part of a dynamic story that culminates in a shared vision, so keep the excitement going.

Where do I start?

Start with people you already know. Friends and contacts tend to rally and promote to their contacts on your behalf as well. The best way to approach them is usually through email.

Individual Emails
For your closest contacts, it’s best to reach out to them with a one-to-one email. It may take more time to individually write each person or group, but it’s much more personal than an email blast. This is your most valued network, and their trust in you goes a long way in spreading your message, so it’s worth crafting a thoughtful request. You know them best, personalize your conversation, but be sure to have clear instructions and calls to action that point them to your Thunderclap page.

You'd be surprised how much influence you have in your personal circle.

An email blast to your extended network is a great way to reach a larger audience. There is trust between what you have to say and this network. Be sure that your message falls in line with what the audience expects from this newsletter, otherwise it may appear disingenuous.

Newsletters allow you to promote to a large audience with the same consistent content.

Embedding and displaying on your website or blog
Adding a Thunderclap embed button or widget to external websites is one of the most effective ways to generate support. It lets your audience see your campaign with the authenticity of your own site.

Embed button
The Thunderclap embed button has the powerful advantage of letting your audience support your message outside of the Thunderclap platform. Visitors can see the embed button on your site and support your cause in a few clicks, all without having to leave your website.

Whitehouse.gov utilized the Thunderclap embed button and styled it to match the rest of the site.

Showcasing the Thunderclap widget presents a quick snapshot of your campaign message and stats. The widget links back to your Thunderclap page where people can add their support.

Showcasing on the embed widget gives a quick snapshot of your Thunderclap campaign on external sites. The widget only supports linking back to Thunderclap.

Promoting on Twitter
Tweets are quick and straight to the point. Successful promotional tweets specifically ask supporters to “Back our Thunderclap” or “Support our Thunderclap” because they are a clear call to action. Asking for support without mentioning Thunderclap is ambiguous and your followers are likely to just retweet you and not actually support the campaign. While it may be hard to be seen on Twitter without a large follower base, it also has high rewards for tweets, and can easily propagate to new audiences. Here are some easy tips on how to keep engaging via Twitter:

  • @ mention relevant people directly asking for support. Don’t be shy!
  • Create a sense of urgency (i.e. “3 days to go...,” “2 days to go...")
  • Share and retweet when people support you (i.e. “Thanks to @Username for supporting...”)
  • Send updates on current events that relate to your message

Promoting on Facebook
Facebook leaves more room for detail than Twitter and has the option to include supporting images. You can explain what Thunderclap is and why people should support your message. By "priming" your audience, you’ll get a much higher percentage of opt-ins than if you were to simply drop a link on your page. Push out at least one or two Facebook posts per day and experiment with different wording to see what works best.

Facebook invites and shares allow you to display more content and imagery than you can on Twitter.

Promoting on Tumblr
Tumblr is a great platform for creatively promoting your Thunderclap message. It's perfect for sharing images so feel free to choose an eye-catching one that grabs the attention of your audience. While there is no character limit, it's best to keep the writing short and allow your image to be the focus. Tumblr also allows you to post a video or an infographic that may explain your cause better. Also, be sure to use relevant hashtags on your post so that it may be found by more people!

Slavery Footprint's Tumblr post included a large detailed image that promoted their Thunderclap campaign.

Promoting on YouTube
If you have related videos on YouTube, provide a link in the description that drives people to your Thunderclap campaign. It's a great way to contextually engage your audience. Use this technique with other video platforms if available.

The link in the description will drive people to your Thunderclap campaign page.

Build on your momentum

As the campaign is running, thanking, liking, favoriting, and retweeting your supporters' messages validates their contribution and serves as great social proof. People will start seeing messages pop up from many different people, lending increased credibility to your message.

Thunderclap Updates
As a campaign organizer, you have the ability to create updates on your campaign's progress and share them with your supporters to keep them excited and engaged. If people opt-in to receive updates, they will receive a daily email digest containg your message. The update will also be visible on your project page.

The "Updates" tab is located next to the story section of a campaign page.

You can create and edit updates to your approved campaign in the "Project Update" tab under your "My Thunderclaps" admin page.

You have the option to include an image and embedded videos in your update.

A few ways to use Updates:

  • Send a quick message about your campaign’s progress. Did you reach 75% of your fundraising goal or gather 100 signatures on your petition? Supporters love to see how they’re making a difference, even before the campaign has ended. Plus, highlighting your campaign’s traction will encourage more people to back it.
  • Share some breaking news about your organization or cause that will help your supporters better understand and advocate for you. Empower them with information so that they can share it with their networks.
  • Say thanks. Your supporters are excited about your cause, so take a moment to let them know you appreciate their help in spreading the word.

What to do, post-launch:

You met or exceeded your Thunderclap support goal and your message was blasted out across Facebook and Twitter and captured people's attention. Now what? It’s important to keep the dialogue going. You now have a list of engaged Facebook and Twitter supporters; be sure to keep in touch.

Say “Thank you”
Donating one’s social reach is an investment in trust. Be sure to let your supporters know that they were an integral part of building awareness. Show them your final Thunderclap results, such as the percentage of the campaign that was supported and its total social reach. People appreciate seeing the results, especially if they are a part of the success.

If your Thunderclap did not reach the support goal, you should still thank your supporters. Let them know that they still made a difference in building awareness and that they can join in future efforts, both on Thunderclap and beyond.

Follow up
Your message doesn’t have to stop there. You now have an audience that is interested in what you’re saying. Update them on any other Thunderclaps or initiatives that you have, but be sure that those campaigns are relevant to what they originally supported.