Case Study: Miriam's Kitchen

Miriam’s Kitchen has agreed to share its Twitter for business case study with the TWTRCON community. If you’d like to share your case study, too, please email it to tonia at

Miriam’s Kitchen provides free, high-quality meals and support services to more than 4,000 homeless men and women in Washington, DC each year.

We don’t like looking at Twitter as a ‘campaign’ or simply in terms of our ‘business objectives’.  Instead, we like to view our use of Twitter as a relationship-building tool.

Yes, it’s true that as a nonprofit one of our ‘business objectives’ is to raise enough money to provide high-quality services to our guests.  But, we know we can’t raise the necessary funds without first building strong relationships with the people who are passionate about our cause.

That’s why we’ve turned to Twitter.

We use Twitter to bring a little bit of Miriam’s Kitchen to the world.  The homeless men and women we serve each day have stories to tell and we are honored to be able to share their stories with the @miriamskitchen community.

We start each day, just as our guests do, with a tweet about breakfast.  Throughout the day, we tweet about the men and women whose lives are affected by homelessness around the country.  We love sharing interesting articles about the issues our guests face, the many talents our guests boast, and the varied needs our guests have.

We carry the hope that through @miriamskitchen we can break negative stereotypes about the homeless community, and with the power of this online community, we can finally end homelessness.

Twitter ‘works’ because we are genuine.  We truly care about the people we’ve met, the talents they bring to our community and the passion they have for ending homelessness.  As we see it, the question isn’t, ‘what can Twitter do for us’.  It’s, ‘what can we do for the Twitter community’.  And there is so much we can do for them.  Educating them about homelessness and inviting them to make a difference is just a few of those things.

Every time I am asked about the community we’ve found on Twitter, I feel like a record on repeat.  “The people we’ve met through Twitter are some of the most generous people I’ve ever met.”  But it’s 100% true.  We could talk forever about the tremendous support we’ve received from people we’ve exchanged 140 characters with.  Socks from California, tea from Boston, soap from Virginia, books from Maryland.

At this point, there are too many we would leave out if we tried mentioning all of them, but the entire @miriamskitchen community is truly extraordinary.  In fact, at the beginning of this month, they raised enough money through DC Twestival to provide 10,000 meals to our homeless guests—nearly 1/5 of the meals we serve all year!  If that doesn’t show the power of Twitter, I’m not sure what will.

As an organization, we owe so much to them.  And, as the voice behind @miriamskitchen, I (and my career) owe them more than I could ever repay.