Charities Increasingly Turn to Social Media

Charities, which may be suffering from decreased giving because of current 707124_ribboneconomic conditions, are increasing their use of  online media for a variety of purposes. The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research regularly studies how large charities have engaged with Web 2.0 strategies and its most report indicates that nearly 9 in 10 major charitable organizations have made the investment in either blogs, podcasting or social networking.

Charities are using social media in the following forms:

  • Video blogging 79%
  • Social networking 79%
  • Blogging 57%
  • Podcasting 36%
  • Message boards 30%
  • Wikis 16%
  • Do not use 11%

These numbers all represented increases from the previous levels.  Study results also indicated that charities are using social media more effectively. For example, researchers note that charities are reaching out to their user community as follows:

  • RSS Feed 67%
  • Email subscriptions 56%

Charities that have not yet ventured into social media seem to understand their online presence is a must. They indicated intentions to move into specific areas of social media as follows:

  • Video blogging 38%
  • Social networking 40%
  • Blogging 52%
  • Podcasting 49%
  • Message boards 34%
  • Wikis 13%

It’s also interesting that charities, on the whole, have embraced social media to a larger extent than for-​profit businesses. This faster adoption rate may be linked to the perceived lower cost of advertising via social media.

[Source: Social Media: Longitudinal Study of Usage by Largest U.S. Charities, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, Summer 2009] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.