Thursday, September 10, 2009

Nonprofits say YES to social media… and mostly to Facebook

Originally published in onLine Philanthropy.

We know there is some dispute over whether or not Facebook is good for fundraising. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. [SOURCE]

But there’s no dispute over its popularity. In a recent NTEN survey, almost 1,000 nonprofit professionals answered questions about their organizations’ use of social media. And they said loud and clear that they’re using it.

Some highlights:

  • 86% have a presence on commercial social networks in general, and 74% are on Facebook.

  • 81% said their primary purpose for having a presence on these networks is marketing.

  • 81% allocate at least one-quarter of a full time employee to the networks.

  • The average Facebook community size is 1,369 (unless you leave in those big three organizations that skew the average to 5,391).

  • The average Twitter following is 291, LinkedIn community is 286, and YouTube is 268. Oh, and MySpace, which comes in at 1,905 members.

Your constituents are on Facebook. Your competitors are on Facebook. And there’s a lot of marketing going on.

So it’s not always a question of the dollars coming in due to Facebook, but how well you are marketing your organization, and engaging new and loyal supporters.

Thanks to this NTEN study, you can measure your organization against industry benchmarks. And, you can prove your success and relevance in social media in other quantifiable ways. Track the numbers of Facebook Fans and their demographics (via improved Insights reporting on Facebook Pages), the number of Followers and @ mentions on Twitter, and the click trends of short URLs in tweets.

With donations dwindling in this tough economy, it’s important to keep supporters engaged, even with brief status updates of “what’s on your mind” and tweets about “what you’re doing.”

Ninety-five percent of nonprofits said they are either maintaining or increasing staffing resources given to social networks over the next year.

Indeed, everybody’s doing it.

Nonprofit Social Network Survey Report:

NOTE: BETF is currently on a number of social networks including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn Network and YouTube. However, we could use your support and ideas on ways to improve our social media presence.

What say u?

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