Social Media Evaluation Survey

Social Media Evaluation Survey Report
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February 2011

The past five years have revealed a new era in the United States and around the world – the era of social media. We have seen the rise of social media and its importance in our everyday lives. Because of the popularity and seemingly viral use of social media, nonprofit organizations have begun to invest time and money into using social media tools, often with little to no understanding of the potential impact on their organizations. In fact, a recent survey found that 85.7% of nonprofit organizations use social media, yet only 11% evaluate or measure the impact it has on the organization. Many nonprofits believe that their social media use is positively impacting the organization, but they have no understanding or knowledge in how they can measure this. Additionally, there is little academic research that illustrates how organizations can measure social media.

The importance of this study is made clearer when one combines this lack of understanding of how to evaluate social media with an increasing investment by nonprofits in these social media tools. In fact, 67% of nonprofit organizations invest one quarter to one half of a fulltime employee specifically for managing their social networking and half of nonprofits surveyed indicated that they plan to increase employee staffing related to social media in the next 12 months. Aside from staff time, many nonprofits allocate much needed dollars towards social media. The 2010 Nonprofit Social Network Benchmark Report found that one in five nonprofit organizations plan on increasing their spending on social media in the next 12 months. These dollars are being taken from programming needs such as meals for homeless individuals or youth programming – making it critical that social media has a pay off worthwhile of its investment.

In tight financial times, it is vital that nonprofit resources are used in effective places. This leads nonprofit organizations to ask about how they can evaluate their social media efforts. This study sought to address this question and provide insight into how nonprofit organizations use social media and how they are currently evaluating their impact.

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