December 27, 2011

45 hashtags for social change

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Image by jeffisageek on Flickr

Print out this cheat sheet to keep tab on the top tags

During the holiday break, Socialbrite is updating and republishing one of our most popular posts from last year.

By Kim Bale
Socialbrite staff

45 hashtags guide

Sending a tweet into the Twitterverse without a proper tag is like stocking a library with no regard to author or subject matter. Your messages may go unread and opportunities to connect with others may be missed.

Make room for a hashtag in your post. That will add your tweet to an existing thread, given that Twitter now turns hashtags into links. Bottom line: When used strategically, hashtags are definitely worth the precious extra characters.

We wrote earlier about how nonprofits can use Twitter hashtags. But hashtags have evolved a bit since then. Download and print out our new 45 hashtags for social good flyer so that you always have the right tag ready for your tweets.

What’s a hashtag? Our social media glossary says this:

A hashtag is a community-driven convention for adding additional context and metadata to your tweets. Similar to tags on Flickr, you add them in-line to your Twitter posts by prefixing a word with a hash symbol (or # sign).

How to create your own hashtag

Hashtags are useful when discussing a specific topic, trying to reach a certain demographic, aggregating tweets about an event or trying to raise awareness of a cause. Twitter now creates a link whenever anyone adds a hashtag — click it (say, #cause) and you’ll see a thread of most recent tweets that contain the same tag.

Anyone can create a hashtag. Just affix the # symbol to the beginning of a word, tweet it — and you’ve got your #hashtag! A hashtag can be included anywhere in your tweet — in the beginning, middle or at the end (though generally the latter). It doesn’t matter if the hashtag is uppercase or lowercase.

If you’re holding a conference — for example, #12ntc — or a special event or tweet regularly about a specific topic, you’ll likely want to use a hashtag. Be sure to announce the hashtag in advance so your followers will begin to use it. Need help with a fundraiser you’re organizing? Tag it with #fundraising and it will appear in a thread like this:

How to find the right hashtag

How to choose the right tag? Start with our flyer, then visit to, type in the hashtag and see how other people are using it. You can also go one step further and search the hashtag on an analytics website, like Trendistic, What The Hashtag or, to see how it’s trending over time. This will clue you into which hashtags are most popular and which hashtags you should avoid because they see more action than the freeway at rush hour — say, #politics.

Note: You can’t add any punctuation to your hashtag, so it’s #web2, not #web2.0.

Can’t find the right hashtag for your tweet? Create your own. Just remember to keep it short and recognizable so others will use and search it. The longer your hashtag is (say, more than 10 characters), the less likely other people will be to retweet it.

Before you create your own, check out these existing hashtags for social change and start a conversation. Have your own favorite, or spot something we missed? Please add in the comments below!

Social change & activism

1. #socialgood: This hashtag can be used to discuss any topic related to social good. Closely related: #socialchange.

2. #cause or #causes can be used to discuss subjects related to social causes.

3. #volunteer, #volunteers and #volunteering all seem to be equally popular when talking about or looking for a volunteer opportunity.

4. #4change: This hashtag was created to flag a monthly chat on how social media is helping to foster change.

5. #video4change is used to feature successful and creative video advocacy examples.

6. #giveback: Use this hashtag to talk about giving back to the world and your community.

7. #dogood: Support the movement to do good and share your good deeds with the world.

8. The Occupy movement uses these hashtags: #OWS, #occupy, #occupytogether, #occupywallst, #occupywallstreet and #OccupyEverywhere, along with local variations like #OccupyOakland. (See Occupy Wall Street: The fight for the future.)

Nonprofits & foundations

9. #nonprofit: This versatile tag can be applied to any tweet concerning the nonprofit sector (and is somewhat more popular than #nonprofits).

10. #nfp and #notforprofit: Similarly, these can be used interchangeably for discussions about not for profits.

11. #philanthropy: Tag your philanthropic news with this hashtag.

12. #charity: Mark your charitable tweets with this hashtag, or the slightly less popular #charities.

13. #charitytuesday: Share your favorite nonprofits with your followers every Tuesday.

14. #nptech: Use this for tagging nonprofits’ use of technology.

15. #foundation or #foundations when discussing news about foundations. In the same vein: Use #grant to reference all things grant related.

16. #crisiscommons: This hashtag is used largely during disasters to create crowdsourced solutions that contribute to disaster relief, along with the hashtag specific to the disaster.

Social businesses

17. #socent: Use this tag to discuss social entrepreneurship.

18. #impinv: Use this to discuss impact investing.

19. #crowdfunding: For discussions of enterprises and projects funded by the crowd. Closely related: #crowdsourcing.

20. #socialbusiness: Use this to refer to business working toward social good.

21. #changemakers: Use this when discussing change through social entrepreneurship or when referring to Ashoka Changemakers.

22. #BOP (Bottom of the Pyramid): A favorite among entrepreneurs, this can be applied to a variety of tweets from topics concerning frugal spending to untapped resources. Be aware, however, that this hashtag gets a lot of use by those outside of the nonprofit sector. The related #bopbiz might be a better choice.

23. #entrepreneurs: Great for connecting with talented entrepreneurs.

24. #csr (Corporate Social Responsibility): Use this for tweets about sustainability and corporate programs to serve the public.

25. #microfinance: Use this when discussing microfinance or extending financial services to the low-income sector.

26. #socialenterprise: Use this to discuss how business or organizations are using marketing strategies to achieve social good.

27. #socap: For use when discussing social capital. (The tag for next month’s Social Capital Markets conference is #socap10.)

28. #sofinance: Use this for discussions on social entrepreneurship and finance.

29. #neweconomy: Yes! Magazine set this up for people to share ideas around alternative paths to economic growth.

Environment, social justice & human rights

30. #humanrights: Use to discuss human rights or oppressive actions taken against individuals.

31. #poverty: Use this to start or join a discussion about poverty.

32. #hunger: Discuss subjects related to hunger.

33. #aid: Discuss financial or humanitarian aid.

34. #diversity: Discussions about diversity in the workforce and in the culture.

35. #sustainability: Discuss topics related to sustainability.

36. #health: For use with tweets related to health. Another popular tag is #healthcare.

37. #sdoh, short for social determinants of health.

38. #disabilities: Related to people with disabilities.

39. #green: This popular hashtag relates to the green movement and, more broadly, environmentalism.

40. #eco: This hashtag is focused on improving the environment (and, really, #environment is too long a hashtag, though it’s still popular).

41. #earthtweet: Share what you and others are doing to keep our planet healthy.

42. #humantrafficking: Use to discuss human trafficking and modern-day indentured servitude.

43. #climate: Discuss subjects related to climate change (global warming). We like the shorter #climate over the longer but still popular #climatechange.

44. #solar: Discuss the benefits of, or questions about, solar power.

45. #fairtrade: Discuss subjects related to the fair trade movement.

And, of course, #ff (follow Friday) never goes out of style.

What else you got?


How nonprofits can use Twitter hashtags (Socialbrite)
Twitter tutorials: Twitter Lists, hashtags, Twitter stats & more (Socialbrite)
Measure your performance & influence on Twitter (Socialbrite)
Best Twitter dashboards for nonprofits (Socialbrite)
Build a fan base: How to get more followers on Twitter (Socialbrite)Kim Bale was recently the community outreach specialist for The Extraordinaries. Follow her on Twitter at @balekimb.

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21 thoughts on “45 hashtags for social change

  1. I’d like to suggest the addition of #socimpact, short for “social impact” for nonprofits to signal they are talking about their impact, or issues around measuring impact.

  2. Also: #ICT4D #voluntweet #ngo #ngos & women & girl-related tags, and the words for “volunteers” and “volunteering” in other languages (for my audience, especially French, Spanish and Portuguese)

    • Thanks, Michelle. We have #dogood (#7) and #causes (#2) but not the others. Didn’t know about #npmarketing. I think we’re up to 50 now. :~) Peace out!

  3. What I’d really like to see is a graph showing the comparative volume of these hashtags. Obviously quantity is not necessarily and indication of quality – however I would find it useful to see which of them have potentially the biggest reach.