Large Nonprofits to Continue Widespread Use of Social Media

If there’s one thing that’s in short supply at many nonprofit organizations – it’s money. That problem might explain why so many charities were early adopters with respect to social media. Ongoing research from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research shows that trend is continuing.

In presenting her research, Nora Barnes notes that while only 49% of charity executives were familiar with social networking in 2007, that number has risen to 100% in 2010. These days, it’s a question of familiarity with specific social media sites and the numbers look like this:

  • Facebook: 97%
  • YouTube: 92%
  • LinkedIn: 65%
  • Twitter: 91%
  • MySpace: 44%
  • Foursquare: 27%

Use rates have closely following familiarity rates. Over 90% of charities are currently using Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Charity executives identified the top benefits of using social media:

  • Awareness of mission: 90%
  • Soliciting volunteers: 50%
  • Generating donations: 50%
  • Finding new hires: 18%

Blogs, an older form of social media, are still important to charities. Over 80% of charities with blogs allow comments and most offer RSS subscriptions to keep users engaged. And while charities tend to promote their blogs through a Facebook link these days, but many also use a link to the main website.

Barnes observes that charities are also sophisticated in how they monitor social media effectiveness. Most are looking at comments, traffic and hits. And most, 93%, are using manual and automated searches or alerts to see what turns up online about their organizations.

Barnes concludes that the “largest charities continue to outpace businesses and even academic institutions in their familiarity, use, and monitoring activity” when it comes to social media.

[Source: Barnes, Nora Ganim. Ph.D. Social Media Usage Now Ubiquitous Among US Top Charities, Ahead of All Other Sectors. UMassd​.edu. 2011. Web. 22 Apr. 2011] 
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.