Nonprofits Successfully Embrace Social Media

Nonprofits Successfully Embrace Social Media

January 27, 2012 by jga_admin

by Dan Schipp


Recently NTEN, Common Knowledge and Blackbaud released their third annual Nonprofit Social Networking Benchmark Report. The report summarizes data from a survey completed by more than 11,000 professionals from a wide spectrum of nonprofit organizations. It provides some interesting insights into how nonprofits are using commercial social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) and house (or private) social networks. The 2011 report contains some surprising results. Here are a few of the key findings:

1. Facebook is still the leader of the pack and its lead is growing – Facebook is the most popular social network platform for nonprofits. 89% of nonprofits report having a presence on Facebook in 2011. In the last three years, Facebook usage by nonprofits grew from 74% to 89%. By comparison, Twitter declined slightly from 60% in 2010 to 57% in 2011. LinkedIn also dropped from 33% in 2010 to 30% last year.

2. Commercial social networks are getting bigger – Nonprofits seem to be succeeding in their efforts to attract more supporters through social networks. The Facebook average community size for nonprofits increased by 161% to 6,376 members. The average Twitter follower base is up just 2% in 2011 to 1,822 followers but a huge increase of 535% from 2009 levels (287 followers.)

3. Fundraising on Facebook is growing but it’s still a low-level effort – The number of nonprofit organizations successfully generating a small gift revenue stream ($1 to $10,000 annually) has risen each year from 38% in 2009 to 46% in 2011. The number of nonprofits raising $100,000 or more per year through social networks is very small but that number doubled this past year from 0.2% to 0.4%.

4. Here come the newbies – Several social networking platforms made the survey for the first time. Among the newcomers, FourSquare led the way with 4% of nonprofits saying they had a presence on it. Other newcomers are Jumo, Vimeo (video sharing), Yelp (local search and review), Picassa (photo sharing), and the peer-to-peer giving sites: CrowdRise, FirstGiving, Razoo, and Causes, but each had a less than 1% usage by nonprofits.

5. Surprise: master social fundraisers come in all sizes – Of the 27 organizations that raised more than $100,000 on Facebook last year (“the master social fundraisers”), 30% were small nonprofits with annual budgets less than $5 million. The average Facebook following of a Master Social Fundraiser is nearly 100,000 members – more than 15 times the general average. This number shows that it takes a big social community to raise big dollars by way of social networks.

I encourage you to read the entire 3rd Annual Nonprofit Social Network Benchmark Report. You will find other interesting insights into such topics as what departments are managing nonprofits’ use of social media, what types of organizations are the top performers, and what level of staffing are organizations devoting to social media.