Social Networking Online and Non-Profit Organizations

by Meghan on May 26, 2009

As budgets and fundraising levels for non-profits get smaller, more organizations are turning to using social networking online as an essential part of their overall marketing strategy. Non-profits see online social media as an inexpensive way to build relationships, increase involvement, and help out with publicity and education efforts.

According to the Nonprofit Social Network Survey conducted in March 2009 by NTEN, Common Knowledge, and ThePort, social networking has become an increasingly important part of nonprofits’ online strategy.

This survey provides a rare snapshot of how non-profit organizations are embracing and using social media online, and provides concrete evidence that the use of social networking is becoming essential to a successful non-profit marketing plan.

  • Of the 929 survey respondents, nearly three-quarters (74.1%) of non-profits reported having a presence on Facebook, with an average community size of 5,391 members. YouTube (46.5%) and Twitter (43.2%) were cited as alternate social networking tools.
  • Despite having decreased resources, staffing and budgets for social network marketing on commercial social networks, like Facebook, are real although relatively small. Over 80% of respondents are committing at least one-quarter of a full-time staff person to social networking online. Additionally, more than half (55%) of survey respondents intend to increase social networking staffing over the next twelve months.
  • Funding for external resources dedicated to helping social networking online is also expected to increase, according to nearly one-quarter (24.1%) of respondents.
  • The survey revealed that social networks provide little real revenue for non-profits via fundraising, and are mainly utilized for traditional marketing efforts (promoting their website, email lists, and events.)

Non-profit organizations are realizing that while social networking online may not directly translate into fundraising dollars, by using social networking as a part of their marketing plan, they are able to engage supporters and prospective donors by building relationships, as well as gaining trust and loyalty towards their cause. Social networking also allows non-profit organizations a cost effective way to promote events, educate and raise awareness, and ultimately, create an ongoing conversation and involvement between the organization and its supporters.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Non Profit Organizations May 27, 2009 at 1:51 pm

Very Interesting article. I think social media gives non-profit organizations another outlet for communication. Also, most people are really big on charities, so engagement will more than likely be high for non profit organizations. I recently visited the Children International website and I noticed that they have a lot of social networks that they have presence on. After seeing that and reading this post, I realize that social media is becoming more and more important is ever facet of business.

Jose Antonio Nuñez June 2, 2009 at 4:20 am

Muy chula la he estado viendo y me a gustado bastnte.

Interactive Marketing Agency June 2, 2009 at 9:20 am

I think as time progresses and social media becomes more and more popular, all facets of business will find ways to use it to their advantage. I think non-profits definitely have an advantage because they are not “selling” anything. Their efforts are for good causes which definitely fit well into the social realm of things.

Interactive Marketing Agency June 2, 2009 at 4:20 pm

I think as time progresses and social media becomes more and more popular, all facets of business will find ways to use it to their advantage. I think non-profits definitely have an advantage because they are not “selling” anything. Their efforts are for good causes which definitely fit well into the social realm of things.

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