Nonprofits Using Social Media More, But Are They Getting Bang for the Buck?

St. Paul, Minn, Feb. 24, 2011 – How much is too much to spend on social media marketing? How much is not enough? A new study by the Minnesota Council of Nonprofit (MCN) attempts to raise these questions with nonprofit organizations. The Social Media Evaluation Survey Report asked nonprofit managers, staff and volunteers to quantify the time and expenses spent on social media and asked how they measure success.

The study, written by researcher Kristen Cici of the Advancement Company, and sponsored by Center for Urban and Regional Affairs at the University of Minnesota, finds that most nonprofits do not measure the impact of using social media, yet are increasing the amount of time and money spent on it.

Nonprofits often find social media as easy, inexpensive avenues to reach their audiences where they already are. “Whether it’s using Facebook, Twitter or YouTube, nonprofits’ use of social media tools has been growing steadily for the past five years,” said MCN communications director Christine Durand. “It is equally important to measure the impact of each strategy and many organizations have not yet figured out how to do that.”

Nine out of every 10 nonprofits use social media in some way. Most organizations spend little on the tools themselves, as most of them are free, but more commonly, nonprofits are allocating at least part of staff time to social media. While more than half of respondents agreed that social media has a strong return on investments in terms of gaining new donors, volunteers or participation, few have goals of methods to evaluate those efforts.

Further study is being conducted to offer case studies with nonprofits currently evaluating their social media efforts as well as a comprehensive social media evaluation guide for nonprofits to evaluate their social media work.

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The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN) is the statewide association of 2,000 nonprofit organizations. Through its website, resource publications, workshops and events, cost-saving programs and advocacy, MCN continually works to inform, promote, connect and strengthen individual nonprofits and the nonprofit sector.

www.minnesotanonprofits.org

 
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