Social media Non Profit

HandsA new study from the Case Foundation and Social Media for Nonprofits, based on a survey of almost 500 nonprofits, helps advance the conversation around how nonprofits use social media to engage their communities. What is working and why?

To better understand how nonprofit practitioners integrate social media and online communications into their strategies, the Case Foundation in collaboration with Social Media for Nonprofits, created an informal survey to help advance the conversation around how nonprofits use social media to engage their communities. Close to 500 nonprofit professionals, who are involved with running their organization’s social media and online communications efforts, responded to the survey detailing their own methodologies and practices.

The answers proved to be insightful and revealing. From these responses, we’ve aggregated key takeaways, tips and tools that have proven most effective for them and shared them below. (See full results here, n=480.)

Email & Websites Still Rule: Nonprofits overwhelmingly (88%) said their most important communication tools were email and their websites, even though fully 97% of them are on Facebook. This may have to do with the fact that in their mind, the pinnacle of engagement is a donation (47%). Clearly, simply getting folks to retweet or comment (18% each) is helpful only to the extent it culminates in financial support, which still typically happens through a donate page.


More Focus on Social: Just about half our respondents had one or less staffers overseeing their social media efforts, and the remaining half was split between teams using a to guide their efforts, and those winging it. This is actually more upscale than Social Media Benchmark Study’s finding that most nonprofits only allocate ¼ of one full-timer, so it seems nonprofits are starting to allocate more personnel to their efforts. Yet lack of manpower is still the biggest challenge facing nonprofits, followed by moving beyond the “like” and transcending cute kitty photos.

It’s All About Moi: When asked how nonprofits engage their communities with social media, most (74%) use social networks as a megaphone, announcing events and activities and sharing organization-centric info. Only 53% actually follow the best practice of posting issue-centric content to establish thought leadership in their nonprofit’s area(s) of focus. Clearly, the sector still has a long way to go on this front.

Graphic Tips

Local police departments review social media policies  — WKYC-TV
Oliver says the tensions in Ferguson right now are a prime reason why trust is needed between the officers and the community they serve. He says that's why they have a social media policy.

Social media policies in the workplace  — Lexology
This is an ever-increasing area of litigation. In a series of recent decisions, the National Labor Relations Board (“Board”) has found social media policies unlawful because those interfere with employees' rights to act collectively.

Popular Q&A

How to manage social media for your nonprofit?

Social media is everywhere. There is nowhere to hide. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I can feel a little overwhelmed. If you look at my computer some days I have so many tabs open in my browser I don’t even know what I’m looking at anymore.

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