Wednesday, 5th May 2010 at 3:32 pm
Just over 70 percent of Australian Not for Profits are using social media, and in particular Facebook, as part of their everyday operations however only 34 percent are using it to fundraise, according to Pro Bono Australia's Facebook Factor Online Survey.
Surprisingly, out of the organisations that are using a combination of social media such as Facebook (71%), Twitter (50%) and YouTube (37%) only 21% have a social media policy or strategy in place.
Yet 70% of survey participants say they are planning to develop a social media strategy.
This is certainly a case of 'the cart before the horse', according to Pro Bono Australia founder Karen Mahlab.
Mahlab says the rate of take up of the new social media options appears to be rapid and a large number of charities are jumping on board without any long term plan or strategy.
The online survey of 112 of Pro Bono Australia's readers found that a majority of charities are using social media (72%) as a way of communicating with their supporters and 62% are using it to promote events and campaigns. Yet only 35% are using Facebook and Twitter to fundraise.
However Mahlab says that one unexpected outcome of the survey is that Not for Profits are using social media to network with other organisations (42%).
Mahlab says more work needs to be done to see what the benefits of this networking are but it obviously it gives Not for Profits an opportunity to see what other organisations are doing and saying.
The survey found that social media is still not seen as a place to recruit paid workers. The online survey found that only 5% of NFPs are using Facebook and Twitter to recruit paid workers. However it found that some 28% of organisations are using social media to recruit volunteers.
On whether or not using social media is valuable, 45% describe it as very or extremely valuable and another 46% describe is as fairly or somewhat valuable.
Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 400 million users and was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students in the US.
Andy Jamieson, the Director of Switched on Media, a leading digital marketing agency based in Sydney responded to the survey results saying social media presents many opportunities for Not for Profits but it’s important to decide which opportunities are best suited to an organisation and business objectives before getting involved.
For example, the target market might talk about certain issues, like politics, on Twitter more than they do on Facebook so it is important to know this information before jumping in and setting up a Facebook Fan Page.