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Aussie NFPs Missing Out On Social Media Success -Report

18 July 2012 at 4:58 pm
Staff Reporter
Australian Not for Profits are yet to see the degree of fund raising and cause advancement success that organisations in Canada and the US have realised through social media, according to a new report.

Staff Reporter | 18 July 2012 at 4:58 pm


Aussie NFPs Missing Out On Social Media Success -Report
18 July 2012 at 4:58 pm

NFPs are missing out on social media success

Australian Not for Profits are yet to see the degree of fund raising and cause advancement success that organisations in Canada and the US have realised through social media, according to a new report.

The finding comes in a report by strategic technology provider for Not for Profits, Wirth Consulting, called the State of Social Media Use in Australian Non Profit Organisations (H1 2012).

The report says that social media use among Australia’s Not for Profits is substantial, however, there is still plenty of room for growth.

It says the country’s Not for Profits are yet to see the degree of fundraising and cause advancement success that NFPs in Canada and the US have achieved.

It says as social media continues to grow in reach and influence in and outside Australia, organisations must identify how to target different demographics and best connect with relevant end users for their specific target market.

During the development of this research, Wirth Consulting says it analysed the online use of social media in 595 Australian Not for Profit organisations with annual revenues up to $253 million and who employ up to 9800 employees.

The majority of NFP organisations came from the Health and Human Services sector including aged care, disability support services, Indigenous support, and humanitarian aid.

“At the heart of the research we wanted to answer this question: with the rise in usage and popularity of the various social media in Australia, are Not for Profit organisations harnessing the advantages that these technologies and platforms potentially provide in terms of marketing, branding and engagement with their target market,” Wirth’s Director, Brianca Wirth said.

“The findings should serve as an eye-opener for the sector and pave the way for future research.”

Bianca Wirth says one of the surprise findings in the research is the abandonment rate of blogs among Not for Profits. The study found that blogs showed the highest abandonment rate, where 31 per cent of blogs had their most recent post older than three months.

“This is a significant finding and indicates that Not for Profits are giving up on blogs because they have to spend too much time on them and are labour intensive or they lack the expertise.

“Importantly blogs appear directly on a NFPs website and contribute to search engine optimisation.

The report recommends that NFPs re-think their blogs by putting more time and effort into them or removing them completely from their website.

Wirth says it looks bad on a Not for Profit website when a blog hasn’t been updated for months.

Online social media usage

  • 97 per cent of Australian Not for Profit organisations have an online website presence.
  • LinkedIn, FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube topped the list of most frequently used social media technology.
  • 50 per cent of YouTube and Twitter accounts belonging to Australian Not for Profits were customized and/or branded. The figure was marginally lower for FaceBook – 32 percent.
  • On average, NFPs posted three times a week on FaceBook compared to eight times on Twitter.
  • FaceBook NFP accounts had more fans on average (2,500 fans) compared to Twitter (570 followers).
  • Twitter had the lowest abandonment rate (three percent of accounts had no posts in the preceding 90 days) while blogs had the highest (31 percent).
  • Organisations with more than 1,000 staff were the least likely to use blogs as a means of engaging with customers and the wider public.There are a number of missed branding and information dissemination opportunities in LinkedIn Company Profiles and customisation of social media accounts.
  • Environment and Wildlife organisations came out on top with the highest use of social media across Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn, while Arts/ Culture/Humanities/Recreation had the lowest use across Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn.
  • Organisations with revenue over $5 million were most likely to use LinkedIn and YouTube and if they had more than 1000+ employees, they were least likely to use blogs.
  • Organisations with between $100,000 and $250,000 were least likely to use social media, while those earning less than $100,000 were the most likely to use Facebook.


  • Twitter attracted the highest use among organisations headquartered in Queensland.
  • New South Wales and Victoria came equally top on FaceBook use, while institutions with their head offices in New South Wales took the honors for Google+ and YouTube.
  • Victoria came in number one on Blogging and LinkedIn.

Number of fans and followers

  • FaceBook accounts have the highest number of fans/followers compared to NFP accounts on other social media platforms. However, FaceBook trailed both Twitter and Google+ in the average number of posts per week.
  • Google+ had the highest number of posts per week with 16. But considering Google+ is the newest kid on the social media block, this high posting frequency per account is likely due to a considerable amount of experimentation and a slight data skew based on comparative number of accounts


  • YouTube, the second most visited website on the planet is, as would be expected, is miles ahead of Vimeo as far as degree of use is concerned. Close to one in every four NFP in Australia have a YouTube account compared to approximately one in 33 for Vimeo.


  • About half of all Not for Profit YouTube accounts are customized with non-standard backgrounds, colours and logo.
  • At 47-48 per cent, Twitter and YouTube top the list of customized social media accounts for Australian Not for Profits. FaceBook is a little lower down the rungs with just 1 in 3 accounts customized and branded.

Abandonment rate

  • Blogs showed the highest abandonment rate – 31 per cent of blogs had their most recent post older than three months. YouTube follows with 20 per cent – not surprising given the time, resources, skill and bandwidth necessary to regularly upload quality and relevant videos. Google+ at 14 per cent. Twitter had the lowest rate of abandonment at three per cent and Facebook fares well here too with six per cent.


  • On average, Australia's NFPs tweet roughly once a day and re-tweet once every three days. Only one in 10 Australian NFPs use Twitter hashtags.


  • Only 32 per cent have a Company Profile in LinkedIn. Within this 32 per cent, over half of all Not for Profits aren't taking advantage of the full functionality, with only a "basic profile" in place – i.e. a couple of paragraphs of text about the company and no logo to reinforce branding.
  • 37 per cent of Not for Profits had an 'intermediate' profile – i.e. a complete profile page and logo while as little as 14 per cent of Not for Profits were taking full advantage of 'advanced' features such as a Careers page, a Products page and linking their blog to their LinkedIn Company Page
  • Only five per cent of NFPs have a LinkedIn Group that they control. Of this five per cent, 62 per cent have made their groups 'members-only' making it harder (and possibly not worth the effort) to join the discussion and participate in supporting the organisation's goals

The report lists the top 19 organisations that it says are ‘doing social media really well’.

The factors analysed and attributed ‘points’ to included: a modern website structure, number
of fans / followers / subscribers, posts per week, customisation, and continuity in posting
consolidated across all social media platforms.

The researchers noted however that success comes in many forms and not all social media platforms will suit every organisation.

“We are not advocating you join every social media platform out there. In fact, we encourage the opposite,” Wirth said.

“Our advice is to choose carefully based on the presence of your target market, invest time wisely and measure success or failure – and then move on and test another platform.

The list of the top ranked organisations were:

  • Mission Australia
  • Save The Children Australia
  • Earthwatch Institute
  • Life Education Australia
  • S.C.O.P.E Inc
  • The University of Adelaide
  • WSPA Australia Limited
  • ACON (Aids Council of NSW)
  • Camp Quality Limited
  • Special Olympics Australia
  • Vision Australia
  • Brotherhood of St. Laurence
  • Caritas Australia
  • National Stroke Foundation
  • Information & Cultural Exchange Inc
  • The Australian Ballet
  • The Royal Flying Doctor Service (SE)
  • Disaster Aid Australia

The report also includes a case study of Oxfam Australia's (ranked #21) social media strategy and tips.

You can download the report and a summary infographic here.

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  • disappointed says:

    Disagree completely with the ranking of best performing charities.

    The factors we analysed and attributed ‘points’ to included:
    •a modern website structure, (A website is not social media)
    •number of fans / followers / subscribers, (This does not always relate to engagement which is far more important)
    •posts per week, (Too many posts is actually counter-productive)
    •customisation, and continuity in posting consolidated across all social media platforms.

    • Bianca Wirth says:

      Hi ‘disappointed’,

      Thanks for your feedback on our ranking approach for our first release of this report. Essentially when assigning a ranking to organisations it is important to identify commonalities in success. However we definitely agree that sometimes elements like number of fans can be artificially enhanced and the success of number of posts per week certainly vary across organisations based on their specific goals. If you read the report we did actually recommend that NFPs look to their specific organisational goals – we certainly do not recommend that NFPs join every social media platform – it is a waste of valuable time and resources if you’re posting to one platform when few of your supporters and partners are present there.

      However we did feel we needed to include a ranking to provide the ‘other’ 599,980 or so non profits in Australia with some type of pointer as to who is doing social media well based on a specific set of factors. Our advice is: glean what you can from their success because we certainly can’t diminish the fact that the organisations mentioned in our report have invested a *huge* amount of time and effort in reaching hundreds of thousands of people with their message – and they didn’t just do that through numbers but through engagement and that is what the combination of ranking factors help identify.

      Finally, although website is not officially social media, it forms the basis of any integration of social media platforms. A website standing alone in the cold winds of the internet is certainly one wanting a social media friend. 😉 Or to put it another way – an online marketing strategy should never stand outside an overall business marketing strategy – integration and leverage is one of the keys to success. So we include website and social media integration because these twins cannot, and should not, be pulled apart.

      We always welcome feedback on our research so if you (or anyone reading this) would like to contact me personally at or on 02-9589-1810 I’d love to hear your thoughts about how we can improve the ranking for our next release of the report – in approx 5 months time!

      Bianca Wirth
      Wirth Consulting

Your email address will not be published.


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