Study Shows Nonprofits Fail to Engage Donors, Other Constituents
Most U.S. nonprofits fail to maximize the use of social media to build relationships with their donors and other constituents, according to the Nonprofit Social Media Scorecard, a national study by Dunham+Company and Marketing Support Network.
All of the 161 nonprofits studied were on Facebook, and 85 percent of them were on Twitter, but only 58 percent of them linked to Facebook and 55 percent linked to Twitter from their home page. The 161 nonprofits selected for the study were chosen with an emphasis on variety in type, size and religious ties.
“While the overwhelming majority of organizations are on social media and do a good job of posting regularly, very few use these channels to genuinely engage with their constituents,” says Rick Dunham, President+CEO of Dunham+Company.
“Charities generally use social media channels to advertise events or as a ‘billboard,’ but rarely do they use them as a way to engage donors in conversation. This will be important to remember as we approach the holiday giving season.”
Each organization was studied in the following areas:
- Response time to general inquiries over social media channels;
- Integration between website and social channels for sharing; and
- Response time to posts about donations over social media channels.
Nonprofits lagged significantly behind for-profit organizations in responding to general inquiries. Of the nonprofits surveyed, only 51 percent took the time to respond to questions on Facebook and only 45 percent responded on Twitter. A 2013 survey by Conversocial found that 81 percent of for-profit organizations responded on Twitter and 80 percent responded on Facebook. And on Twitter, for example, businesses responded to questions in an average of 11 hours, 15 minutes, compared to 15 hours, 12 minutes for nonprofits.
Surprisingly, nonprofits are better at responding to general questions than they are to questions after donations. Only 9 percent of those studied responded to post-donation questions on Facebook, and only 29 percent responded on Twitter.
In addition, only 24 percent of the nonprofits studied have links set up to give donors an opportunity to share their good feelings about the organization via social media channels, even though a study by the Red Cross has shown that 40 percent of donors would share or would be likely to share on social media about a donation they made.
“Social media is an excellent way to not only keep your donors informed – but to engage in building a relationship,” Dunham says. “The good news is that most nonprofits are on social media and if they use it as they should to interact with donors, potential donors, and other constituents, they will increase engagement, and ultimately donations, as a result.”
The study was conducted from Sept. 20-Oct. 15, 2014. Using a variety of personal Facebook and Twitter accounts, Marketing Support Network contacted the nonprofits via Facebook and Twitter to ask a question about the organization. If the nonprofit answered, Marketing Support Network made an online donation of $10 and tweeted and posted on Facebook about the donation, tracking the nonprofit’s response and integration with social media.