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Success for the social nonprofit

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What works for nonprofits in social media?

The 4th Annual Nonprofit Social Network Benchmark Report surveyed nonprofits and asked them how they used and succeeded with social media. The findings were pure common sense.

The study narrowed down three reasons for success with social media:

  • Developed a strategy (41 per cent)
  • Prioritization by Executive Management (37 per cent)
  • Dedicated social media staff (28 per cent)

When it comes to communications, when has a lack of vision and strategy ever aided an organization succeed with its goals?

The things that are important to us, personally and professionally, make an impact. With nonprofit social media prioritization, comes success, said participants.

If an executive team “gets it” and prioritizes a social strategy, it leads to success. Expecting success through social media without prioritization gets the results most half-hearted strategies do: Poor ones.

Creating a new position or adding staff focused on social media met with favourable results. If you take social media seriously, results will come.

The points above may seem obvious — that’s because they are. Simplicity, with a focus on commitment and the long-term, produces results. Getting a plan, getting buy-in and getting dedicated staff to manage social media will work according to the study. But it requires what most other successful initiatives require:

Commitment and conviction.

  • Getting a plan
  • Getting buy-in


  • Getting dedicated staff

These three factors create success in communications generally.

Why would great communications strategy be any different when it comes to social media?

How are nonprofits using commercial social media?

According to the study:

  • 93 per cent are using social media for marketing
  • 55 per cent are using social media for fundraising
  • 37 per cent are using social media for program delivery

Measuring success

When it comes to measuring success for nonprofits:

  • 74 per cent used their website
  • 62 per cent used reach
  • 56 per cent used customer feedback

Ranking goals

How did nonprofits rank their goals for social media?

  • 76 per cent wanted to grow their base
  • 74 per cent wanted to engage members more

Measuring ROI

When it comes to measuring return on investment (ROI) for social media:

  • 63 per cent said there were only soft benefits
  • 32 per cent said they were not measuring

Because of this lack of measurement, many nonprofits, while using social media, aren’t getting the most benefit out of that use. Often, budget constraints are the reason. But many argue soft benefits provide an advantage, too.

Still, incorporating metrics into social media strategy can only help nonprofits benefit as they continue to use social media in the future.

See study.


Written by johnrondina

May 14, 2012 at 12:32 pm

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