Tuesday, April 10, 2012

New US study shows social media “not quite there yet”

The vast majority of non-profits don’t raise any donations on Facebook. That’s one of the conclusions of a new survey of more than 3,500 non-profits in the US.

The 4th Annual Nonprofit Social Network Benchmark Report 2012, published by NTEN, Common Knowledge and Blackbaud, found that 98 per cent of non-profits on Facebook do not raise any donations through Facebook. The remaining two per cent reported raising less than $10,000 a year on Facebook. Fourteen per cent raised donations using Twitter and five per cent through YouTube.

At the same, the report found that 93 per cent use social media, and that it is growing fast. Facebook & Twitter communities grew significantly. However, the entry into social media is recent for most non-profits. Nearly half of all respondents said their organization had started using Twitter and YouTube only in the last 12 months. Facebook, in comparison, is the granddaddy of social media. Nearly half of non-profits reported being Facebook users from more than two years.

The study shows that while social media is a powerful communications tool, it has yet to become a major fundraising tool.

For the first time, the study attempted to determine the cost and the benefit of recruiting social media community members. According to the self-reports of non-profits in the study, average cost of a Facebook Like is $3.50 and a Twitter Follower costs $2.05. That means the benchmark for spending to acquire 1,000 new Facebook Likes would be roughly $3,500. The report also found that the average value of a Facebook Like is $214.81 over the 12 months following acquisition.

Many non-profits value social media because it is “free”. However, the time and effort required to create and maintain social media has a real cost.

Overall, only 20 per cent of respondents said social media was “very valuable” to their organizations. The majority, some 61 per cent, said it was “somewhat valuable”. Some 16 per cent said it was not valuable at all.


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