When Twitter meets Robert Burns

Exciting one this…just been given the go-ahead to spend the weekend seeing if Twitter can work as a fundraising mechanism for Robert Burns and the new Robert Burns Birthplace Museum (what? If it’s good enough for Stephen Fry, Jonathan Ross and Andy Murray, it’s good enough for Burns – and besides he’s been on Twitter for months at @ayrshirebard)

Now I’ve written regularly about how I think Twitter can be used to promote events and organisations, so this is a case of the proof is in the pudding – and no doubt I’ll be picking the brains of Sarah Evans to see if I’ve missed any tricks.

It continues what has been a very Burns-intense day for me as earlier on I was involved with Tunnock’s (of the Teacakes and Florida Oranges fame) and that involved coming up with a few Burns/Tunnock’s poetry mashups:

Address to a Snowball

Fair fa’ coconut sprinkled face,

Great chieftain o the teacake-race!

Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,

mallow, choc, or cream:

Weel are ye wordy of a grace

As lang’s my arm.

Ode to a Teacake

Wee, mallow, rounded, choccy biccy,

O, what a panic’s in my tummy!

One needs tae eat ye hasty

Wi bickering brattle!

I wad be laith to rin oot of thee,

An hae to eat a tattie.

Anyway, for those wanting to follow the fundraising adventures, set your twitter accounts to follow @craigmcgill and @ayrshirebard and the fun begins at noon on Saturday (following the 25th across the globe)

(if you’re still trying to work out all this Twitter stuff, here’s a great starting Twitter guide courtesy of Dubber and Clutch – and those are good guys to follow on Twitter as well.

And now, the obligatory press release….


23 January 2009

Burns Museum benefits from UK’s first fundraising by Twitter

Twitter – the massively popular online service used by the likes of Stephen Fry, Jonathan Ross and Andy Murray – is to be used as the UK’s first fundraiser for the National Trust for Scotland’s new Robert Burns Birthplace Museum.

Twitter has been used as a fundraising mechanism in the US, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars, but this is believed to be the first time it has been used in the UK.

The Twitter fundraising push will run over the weekend, when the world is celebrating the 250th anniversary of the bard’s birth, and end on Monday evening.

Robert Burns is already on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ayrshirebard where lines from his poetry are posted daily, and it is through this Twitter account that the fundraising works and updates will be announced. Regular Tweets reach out to Twitter’s global audience.

The Trust is still looking to raise £4 million for the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, with £17 million having already been raised.

Trust Development Manager for Corporate Relationships David McKinnon said:

“Twitter has been used for a number of charities across the globe and it seemed like a natural fit for this weekend.

“Burns was one of Scotland’s most consummate communicators and as can be seen on his Twitter site, his work translates well into Tweets.

“We don’t know how successful this first try at fundraising through Twitter will be – it’s never been tried in the UK before, but it’s just one of the new and innovative fundraising approaches the Trust is taking to help raise the funds we need to deliver our exciting vision for the new museum.”

The new Robert Burns Birthplace Museum is set to become one of the UK’s most prestigious and historically rich visitor destinations. This world-class attraction is the largest project the National Trust for Scotland has ever undertaken and will epitomize Scotland’s proud heritage, paying homage to the nation’s most heroic son – Robert Burns.

National Trust for Scotland Chairman Shonaig Macpherson said on Burns being on Twitter:

“Using Twitter to send out the works of Burns is an incredibly inexpensive and fun way of doing that. I’m sure Burns himself would approve because he was, at heart, one of our finest communicators.”

Twitter works by people going to www.twitter.com and signing up for the free service. Users then have the option of finding friends or organisations online and receiving messages sent to them via the Twitter website, instant messenger, handheld devices like the iPhone or other mobile phones.

At Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said: “Twitter is a new way for people to communicate. The National Trust for Scotland has discovered a creative way to spread the works of Robert Burns and we’re flattered to be associated with such a pioneering figure.”

The fundraising can be followed at www.twitter.com/ayrshirebard.


Issued by DADA on behalf of the National Trust for Scotland.

For further information please contact:

Craig McGill craig.mcgill@dada.co.uk / 0141 222 2266/ 07703 175 151

Breea McGinness breea.mcginness@dada.co.uk/ 0141 222 2266/

Notes to editors

1. The Trust’s Burns programme will be the largest, most ambitious project the charity has ever undertaken. It will cost in the region of £21m and this is made up of:

    • £5.8m Heritage Lottery Fund
    • £5.5m contribution from the Scottish Government
    • £250,000 from Scottish Enterprise Ayrshire
    • Land in Alloway with an estimated worth of £2.885m from South Ayrshire Council
    • Trust responsible for raising a total of £7m – approx £4m remaining.

2. The Burns Monument Trust generously donated a series of important assets to the National Trust for Scotland, including the Burns Birthplace Cottage, an irreplaceable collection of artefacts and original manuscripts, and other assets including the iconic Burns monument.

3. The new 1600m² museum building will provide space for the Burns collections, their interpretation and storage, as well as space for visitors and space for learning. The building will provide an exhibition area of 500m² compared to 120m² in the existing museum.

4. Companies interested in fundraising or donating for the new Robert Burns Birthplace Museum should contact Georgina Pearson – 0141-222-2266 or georgina.pearson@dada.co.uk.

5. The National Trust for Scotland is one of Scotland’s leading conservation charities, which relies on the financial support of its members to fund its important work of caring for the natural and cultural heritage of Scotland for everyone to enjoy.

6. You can join the National Trust for Scotland for as little as £5 per month for a family. To become a member, visit http://www.nts.org.uk/Join/Benefits/.