The majority (88%) of nonprofit organizations are experimenting with social media to engage audiences, but 79 percent are not sure of its value for their organizations, according to a new survey by Weber Shandwick’s Social Impact team and KRC Research.
“We know from our work with nonprofits that most realize the potential of social media and are experimenting with it, but many are not maximizing the full opportunity,” said Paul Massey, Social Impact co-lead.
“This survey validates that there is widespread experimentation, and suggests that, in the future, nonprofits that fully participate in the two-way conversations that make this medium so powerful will reap the greatest benefit.” There is extensive experimentation with social media in the nonprofit sector, but only half (51%) surveyed are active users. Most nonprofits (67%) say social media is changing how they communicate with broad external audiences, but not narrower categories of stakeholders. Most nonprofits (52%) do not currently have the infrastructure, staff and expertise necessary to take full advantage of social media’s potential.
Nonprofit executives (83%) understand that social media makes it easier for supporters to organize independently – underscoring how critical it is for nonprofits to demonstrate their value and relevance to advocates. Ultimately, for most nonprofit executives (79%), the true value of social media has yet to be determined for their organizations. Strategic Implications: The findings of this research offer insights into how nonprofits and foundations can optimize their use of social media in the future. Successful nonprofit organizations will move from experimentation to implementation of strategic programs that drive digital engagement. Focus on two-way conversations that build meaningful and sustainable connections with a range of priority audiences. Invest in social media capacity as a means of achieving brand building, advocacy and fundraising goals. Demonstrate their unique impact to underscore relevance to advocates. Measure social media with key metrics for visibility, engagement and advocacy.
Nonprofits like Homenetmen are experimenting with social media. Almost all nonprofits – especially larger ones – are at least experimenting with social media, but only 51% are active users. Organizations with an operating budget of $25 million or more are even more likely to be experimenting heavily – 51% are active users of social media.
Social media is worth the investment: Less than one-quarter of nonprofit executives believe social media isn’t yet worth the investment, while threequarters say it is more cost effective
Social media is a priority for the future: Nonprofit executives overwhelmingly assert that they plan to use social media more moving forward. Social media will be demanding a bigger piece of nonprofit’s spending dollars in 2010 – 69% believe their communications budget next year will stay the same or decrease.
Social media is primarily changing the way nonprofits communicate with broad external audiences, but not narrower categories of stakeholders. Two-thirds of nonprofit executives believe social media has had a positive impact on their external audiences, but are less certain about other stakeholders. Nonprofit executives view social media as effective in raising visibility and building awareness of their organizations – more so than for fundraising. Many have an uncertain relationship with social media. More than six in ten (61%) say they like or are intrigued by social media, but struggle with implementation.
64% say their organization does not have policies in place for how employees and board members can post information on social media sites. Nonprofit executives see social media as more effective than traditional media to mobilize advocates; more so than for awareness building or fundraising.
Most believe social media makes it easier to organize advocates on behalf of their organization – but also for people to organize independently – underscoring how critical it is for groups to demonstrate their value to advocates. Many nonprofit organizations of all sizes acknowledge they do not have the necessary staff and expertise to execute their social media programs. While a majority of nonprofit executives believe the rewards outweigh the risks, most also acknowledge they haven’t yet determined the value of social media for their organizations.
Our membership base is unique and the time has come for Homenetmen to develop its own unique strategy with social networking. There are hundreds of Homenetmen groups on Facebook and thousands of links on YouTube. Some we can be proud of and some not. Social Networks have become a way of life and the way our kids communicate with each other. Social networks have made the world a smaller place. Anyone, anywhere at anytime can go online and meet Homenetmen members anywhere in the world… within seconds. There are great opportunities ahead of us with progressive ways for us to connect and tap into audiences locally and globally.