Most Charities Are Trying Social Media, But Few Can Measure Its Impact
„Nearly all charities are experimenting with social-media tools like Facebook and Twitter to get attention for their groups, but few have found ways to measure the tools’ usefulness, according to a new survey.
The survey of 200 charity and foundation professionals, conducted by the public-relations firm Weber Shandwick, found that 88 percent of groups have tested the tools, but only 51 percent are using them regularly.
The majority (71 percent) said they would continue to use traditional forms of media (advertising, for example) while experimenting, either a little or a lot, with social media.
Just 8 percent said they were switching almost entirely to social media. Eleven percent said they would continue to exclusively pursue traditional media.
Overall, 85 percent of respondents said they would use social media more frequently in the future. For the most part, nonprofit professionals were happy with social-media tools.
Ninety-two percent of the executives surveyed said social media raises awareness of their organizations, 86 percent said it keeps people engaged, and 77 percent said it helped reduce costs because it is less expensive than advertising or using traditional channels.
All that said, nonprofit executives are finding it difficult to determine how valuable the tools are for their organizations. Seventy-nine percent said they hadn’t found ways to do so.
The survey, which was conducted between July and August with help from KRC Research, found that groups see social media as more effective in reaching general audiences (70 percent) than donors (42 percent), the news media (41 percent), and policy makers (30 percent).
Two other recent surveys on charities’ use of social media have also raised questions about the value of the tools for nonprofit groups.
- Social Networking and Mid-Sized Nonprofits: What’s the Use?, by the online journal Philanthropy Action.
- The 2009 Cone Consumer New Media Study, by the Boston marketing firm.
A slideshow of the report on the Weber Shandwick study is available below. The organization also discusses the findings on its blog.
By Caroline Preston
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