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A Look at Nonprofit Social Media Use Studies

The following series will look at the results of several reports released during the 2010 year examining nonprofit use of social media.

Part 1: Nonprofit Social Media Use Overview

Why use social media?
According to Idealware, 34% of the nonprofits they surveyed were using social media simply because they were aware of other organizations’ use of social media.  Other reasons for utilizing social media include enhancing an organization’s relationships with current supporters and cultivating new supporters.  Surprisingly, raising money did not rank highly as a reason for using social media.

What organizational resources are devoted to social media?
On average, organizations are devoting 25-50% of one full-time staff member’s time to social media.  About four hours or less are dedicated to social media by over 50% of nonprofits.  Social media is largely used as a part of organizations’ broader marketing strategies.  The majority of nonprofits, 59%, did not allocate any money in their budgets specifically for social media.  The larger a nonprofit is the more staff time and/or money is generally dedicated to social media.

What social media tools are most commonly used by nonprofits?
Approximately 90% of nonprofits are using at least one social media tool, with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube being the most popular.  26% of nonprofits update two social media channels and 24% update only one.  Usage of MySpace, once very popular, continued to drop.  Interesting, slightly over a fifth of nonprofits manage their own in-house social network.

What barriers are limiting use of social media?
Staffing, finances, unfamiliarity with social media, unfamiliarity with means of measuring return on investment and resistance from upper management and/or board are some of the oft cited reasons for not fully investing in social media.

Nonprofits and Social Media: It Ain’t Optional. Ventureneer and Caliber. October 4, 2010.

2010 Nonprofit Social Media Benchmarks Study: An Analysis of Growth and Social Engagement Metrics for Nonprofit Organizations. M+R Strategic Services. 2010.

Nonprofit Social Network Benchmark Report. NTEN (Nonprofit Technology Network), Common Knowledge and ThePort. April 2010.

Using Social Media to Meet Nonprofit Goals: The Results of a Survey. IdealWare, Firefly Partners, Balance Interactive, Beaconfire. February 2010.

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