A new study by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research finds that a “remarkable 89% 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.”
An interesting change is that 70% of the respondents now say they are familiar with social networking, an increase of 21% over the previous year’s study. Nonprofits are using nearly every tool at their disposal, with video blogging, social networking and blogs leading the way. In every respect, they’re blowing away corporations in their adoption of these tools: “Our latest research shows the Fortune 500 with the least amount of corporate blogs (16%), the Inc. 500 with 39%, colleges and universities blogging at 41% and charities now reporting 57% with blogs.”
These results really aren’t surprising. One of the greatest appeals of social media tools is there cost-effectiveness. It costs almost nothing to start a blog or Facebook group, which means that even a modest return is worth the effort. Nonprofits also don’t have many of the political barriers to speaking openly that big corporations do. Finally, they’re well-positioned to leverage the enthusiasm that their causes generate to maximize the potential of social networks to spread viral awareness.