Does your nonprofit have a social media policy?

Written on Feb 13, 2018

Most nonprofit organizations use social media as a tool for online brand awareness, recruiting volunteers and online fundraising but only one-third have a written social media policy.

The Global NGO Technology Report, sponsored by the Public Interest Registry (PIR) and researched by Nonprofit Tech for Good, surveyed 5,352 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) from 164 countries and six continents.

The 27-page report breaks down details of the survey results, looking at social media, mobile technology, web and email communications, online fundraising, data management and security and more. It also breaks down survey responses by continent.

Only 32% of those surveyed said they have a written social media strategy but 95% said it’s an effective tool for online brand awareness. More than seven out of 10 said social media is effective for online fundraising and almost four out of five said it’s effective for recruiting event volunteers.

Facebook continues to be by far the most common social medium used by NGOs, at 93%, followed by:

  • Twitter: 77%
  • YouTube: 57%
  • LinkedIn: 56%
  • Instagram: 50%
  • Facebook group: 30%
  • Google+: 20%
  • LinkedIn group: 17%
  • Pinterest: 13%
  • Vimeo: 8%
  • Flickr: 8%
  • Tumblr: 3%
  • Reddit: 1%

More than 9 out of 10 nonprofits worldwide have a website and 87% have a mobile-compatible website and blog; some 38% regularly publish a blog on their website.

WordPress was the most commonly used Content Management System (CMS) for websites, with 44% of nonprofits using it. Almost two-thirds of organizations (63%) used an email marketing service to send email updates and fundraising appeals. Only about 15% of organizations did it through their CRM and about half as many used the Bcc function of email.

Some 68% of respondents said they use .org domain name for web and email communications, which is good considering survey results indicated that 72% of donors are more likely to trust websites and email addresses that use that domain, compared with 7% for those using .edu and 6% for .ngo.

More than nine out of 10 NGOs worldwide have a Facebook page and 30% have a Facebook Group. How often they use that page is all over the place. A quarter of organizations said they post daily and almost as many said they post every other day. Almost 1 in 5 said they post weekly and almost as many said they post two or more times a day. Only 15% said they post less than once per week to their Facebook page.

More than four out of five organizations have used Facebook to report live from a special event or to showcase their organization’s work.

One in four donors said that social media is the communication tool that most often inspires them to give, and 62% of those donors ay that Facebook is the most inspiring.

Almost a quarter of respondents said they tweet two to five times a day, yet 21% tweet less than once per week. About 18% said they send one tweet per day; about the same amount said they tweet every other day. Only one in eight organizations said they tweet weekly but just 7% tweet more than five times per day. About 17% of organizations reported having participated in or hosted a Twitter chat. More than a third of organizations have paid for advertising on social media.

Fewer than one in five organizations (18%) use messaging apps to communicate with supporters and donors. The most popular by far were WhatsApp (64%) and Facebook Messenger (58%).

Nearly half of the respondents were based in North America, including 37% from the United States. Almost 56% were small organizations and more than a third were medium. More than one in 10 were considered large.

Causes around children and youth represented 14% of the respondents, the highest proportion, followed by community development and education and literacy, both topping 11%. Health wellness was nearly 10% and human and social services at 9.2%.

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