Nonprofits Still Setting the Pace in Social Media

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research recently completed one of the first statistically significant, longitudinal studies on the usage of social media by United States charities.

The new study compares organizational adoption of social media in 2007 and 2008 by the 200 largest charities in the United States as compiled annually by Forbes Magazine.

In 2007 (using the 2006 Forbes list), the first study of this group’s use of social media was released. It revealed that these large non-profits were leading both corporations and universities in their familiarity with, usage of, monitoring of and attitude towards social media.

This new research shows that charitable organizations are still outpacing the business world and academia in their use of social media. In the latest study (2008) a remarkable eighty-nine percent of charitable organizations are using some form of social media including blogs, podcasts, message boards, social networking, video blogging and wikis. A majority (57%) of the organizations are blogging. Forty-five percent of those studied report social media is very important to their fundraising strategy. While these organizations are best known for their non-profit status and their fundraising campaigns, they demonstrate an acute, and still growing, awareness of the importance of Web 2.0 strategies in meeting their objectives.

Still Setting the Pace in Social Media: The First Longitudinal Study of Usage by the Largest US Charities (PDF)