Non-Profits are the most connected sector when it comes to social media. Not multi-billion-dollar corporations, not universities, not the governments of the world. At least those are the findings of a joint venture between Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes, Ph.D., and Eric Mattson, CEO of Financial Insite Inc. The survey looked at the social media adoption of the top 200 charities and non-profits in the U.S., and its findings indicate that non-profits really have a grasp of what people like – and what they don’t like – online.
Of the 200 charities surveyed, 97 percent are using social media. Breaking down the numbers further, the findings show that 93 percent of charities use Facebook, 87 percent use Twitter, and 65 percent have a blog. And 93 percent of the charities examined reported regular social media monitoring.
The survey has been conducted each year for the past three years, and non-profit social media adoption rates have increased across the board since 2007. 22 percent more non-profits are using social media now compared to 2007, and 8 percent more are using it now compared to 2008. 18 percent more charities are monitoring social media this year over last year’s figures. These increases show that non-profits are on the cutting-edge of social media use, as they realize just how valuable it is to brand awareness, raising human, animal and environmental rights issues in the public sphere, and fundraising.
The charities were chosen based on Forbes’ annual list of the top charities in the U.S.. And according to the press release, this is the only statistically sound survey of its kind.
There are people on both sides of the argument that social media is a leveling tool, something that has a low-cost barrier to entry which can act as a marketing tool for even those organizations with tiny advertising budgets. And while some recent trends in the political usage of Facebook as a campaign tool might indicate that social media is susceptible to favoring higher budgets just like traditional media, this non-profit study says otherwise. In terms of funding, a non-profit even as large as Green Peace cannot stand up to a corporation like Coca Cola – but just compare Green Peace’s successful use of social media with Coke’s recent Facebook flop. Maybe social media really does let the little guys – or at least the medium-sized guys – have the same opportunities as the bigger players.