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Third Sector Innovations

Social Media, NPOs and Fundraising: Here to Stay!
December 19, 2012

Social media use by nonprofit organizations continues to grow and has become a fundamental fundraising and social engagement tool. In fact, nonprofit use of social media has grown significantly in the past year, with average Facebook communities growing by 30% and Twitter communities up 81%.  Like it or not, social media may be here to stay!

Three major reports were recently released on nonprofit marketing and fundraising:
2012 Online Marketing Nonprofit Benchmark Index Study (Convio)
2012eNonprofit Benchmark Study (M+R and NTEN)
2012 Nonprofit Social Networking Benchmark Report (NTEN, Common Knowledge and Blackbaud)

We’ve distilled the salient information here:

Community Size
For every 1,000 members of a nonprofit’s email list, the average organization had 103 Facebook fans, 29 Twitter followers and 12 mobile subscribers.  While nonprofit communities on Facebook and Twitter show significant increases, nonprofit community size on LinkedIn has dropped to the lowest it has ever been.
 
Engagement and Fundraising
Forty-six percent of respondents in the Blackbaud report indicate they are using Facebook for fundraising.  The most common technique is asking for an individual gift, followed by invitation to/buzz about a fundraising event.
 
Facebook ads to enhance fundraising are used by 24% of respondents, typically to build awareness of the organization and its cause.
 
Nonprofits average 2.5 actions per 1,000 Facebook users (“action rate” is calculated as the number of daily “likes” and comments on a page’s content divided by the total number of Facebook users).
 
Budget and Staffing
Social media use isn’t costly, yet can bring big returns for nonprofits.  Forty-three percent of respondents budget NOTHING for their social networking activities; however, the average value of a Facebook “like” is $214.81 (in cash contributions) over 12 months following acquisition.  Nonprofits spend an average of $3.50 to acquire a Facebook fan and $2.05 per new Twitter follower.
 
The majority of respondents (73%) allocate a .5 FTE employee to manage social networking activities.
 
According to Blackbaud, the top three factors for fundraising success in use of social media are strategy, prioritization, and dedicated staff.

We'll share more tips and strategies on how to best use social media in a future post.
Posted by Suzy

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