Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Social Media Adoption Higher for Non-Profits

I have a soft spot for the University of Massachusetts, as two of my siblings and I graduated from UMass Amherst and my sister is currently enrolled at UMass Dartmouth. Soft spot aside, a recent study by the Center for Marketing Research at UMass Dartmouth found that non-profits are more likely to use social media than Fortune 500 companies.

In fact, 75% of the surveyed non-profits utilize social media or Web 2.0 strategies to assist their fundraising and/or outreach efforts. And, non-profits are much more likely than Fortune 500 companies to blog!

Maybe it's just me, but I'm not that surprised. Corporate blogging opens up a whole can of worms. Non-profits are often smaller, perhaps with fewer regulations, than Fortune 500 companies... though this study did look at the largest US non-profits. Or, perhaps non-profits are more likely to pursue "free" marketing like social media.

Why do you think non-profits are more likely to use social media than other groups?

Study Details: The Center performed a telephone survey of the 200 non-profits named by Forbes Magazine as the largest US charities in 2006. Over 1/3 answered, which is a great response rate and makes the data statistically significant. More details are available at the Center for Marketing Research website.


Noah said...

I think that most backward thinking corporations support a culture of closed decision making and general lack of transparency about business decisions. Blogs encourage sharing and scrutiny, but they also help people connect. Charity and social events always go hand in hand, so blogging popularity is the natural progression when these activities move to the web.

Liz said...

It might have to do with the fact that there are a lot of nonprofit marketing/communications work is less controlled in smaller organizations? Thus a young, web-savvy Coordinator could start a social media initiative for the company.

Or mabye it's because the roots of a lot of nonprofit work come from the community, so this idea of tapping into "the people" and giving them greater share in voicing their opinions is easier to swallow/naturally in line with management's POV.

Casey said...

Liz I think you're spot on with your second idea - non-profits are all about the community. With corporations, it may be harder for them to see the benefit from showing potential consumers the "guts" of their organizations through blogging. They don't realize that if people feel like they know a company, they're more likely to be loyal to it. Loyalty = $$$.