San Francisco, CA (April 3, 2012) – Blackbaud, Inc., in collaboration with the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) and Common Knowledge, today released the 2012 Nonprofit Social Network Benchmark Report at the 2012 Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC).

The 4th annual report, featuring survey results from more than 3500 respondents, provides an extensive look at how nonprofits are using social media, highlights key trends and provides insights for the year ahead.

New to this year’s report is a benchmark for the average cost of acquisition for Facebook likes and Twitter followers, along with the average value of a Facebook Like. The self reported average cost of a Facebook Like is $3.50 and a $2.05 for a Twitter Follower with the average value of a Facebook Like being reported as $214.81 over the 12 months following acquisition. This self-reported value far outpaces benchmarks of the actual values of offline and online acquired donors, which are $32 and $62 respectively as reported in the 2011 donorCentrics™ Internet and Multichannel Giving Benchmarking Report.

“These self-reported figures provide the first real glimpse into benchmarks for our industry,” said Holly Ross, NTEN’s executive director. “To be conservative, we recommend that nonprofits treat these benchmarks as a minimum investment level for acquisition of new supporters on Facebook and Twitter.”

Jeff Patrick, president of Common Knowledge, added that the wide difference between self-reported value and other actual benchmarks in the marketplace indicates that nonprofits still lack the necessary tools to truly measure the value of social network members.

“Although these initial self-reported social network value benchmarks may be inflated, they provide a baseline from which we can continue to measure,” he said. “It is obvious that nonprofits see the value associated with social networks, and as they become more sophisticated in their measurement, will refine these important benchmarks. We are committed to continuing to track them as this valuable channel evolves.”

Other key findings among respondents include:

  • Facebook and Twitter communities grew by 30% and 81%, respectively compared with the 2011 survey.
  • Respondents own an average of 2.1 Facebook pages and 1.2 Twitter accounts.
  • Google+ is struggling to gain momentum and Pinterest popped up as the top newcomer.
  • Respondent budgets and staffing for commercial social networks continue to cautiously climb.
  • The use of house social networks remained steady compared to last year’s results, while the average number of members in house networks grew by 265% on a year-over-year basis.