Charities are Social Media Leaders?

Light Trails“We live in an age where opportunities for communication are increasing faster than ever. With the rise of Web 2.0 media such as social networking sites and blogs, it has become all the easier for philanthropic organizations to build new connections, as well as publicize their activities and needs.

And charities have responded, emerging as the surprising leader in the social media landscape. A UMass Dartmouth study released in June stated

“new research shows that charitable organizations are still outpacing the business world and academia in their use of social media. In the latest study (2008) a remarkable eighty-nine percent of charitable organizations are using some form of social media including blogs, podcasts, message boards, social networking, video blogging, and wikis.”

These figures are an increase from 2007, in which “seventy-five percent of the respondents…reported they use at least one form of social media.” However, one area where charities can improve is in leveraging these tools to raise funds. In 2008, the study notes, only forty-five percent called social media “very important” to their fundraising strategy, versus forty-six in 2007. “Somewhat important” answers received a small decrease as well, with thirty-six percent in 2008 versus thirty-eight in 2007.

These figures are an interesting anomaly in what is overall a strong push among charities to adapt to and take advantage of social media. As these new forms of communication take hold and break boundaries, it is important to explore what they can bring to fundraising.”

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