by Nathan Egan
on August 4, 2010

Non-profits lead the way in social media deployment

We’ve had an opportunity to work with a number of non-profit organizations and it’s always energizing to see their enthusiasm for social media. A new study from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research may show why. Non-profits are adopting the use of social media much more rapidly than their corporate counterparts.

The new study compares organizational adoption of social media in 2007, 2008 and 2009 by the 200 largest charities in the United States. And for the third consecutive year, the research shows that non-profits are deploying social tools more rapidly and more broadly than Fortune 500 giants, small companies, and even universities.

According to the latest study, a remarkable 97% of the non-profits report using some social media tool. Social networking sites like Facebook (96%) and Twitter (90%) are now the most common tools used.

There is big news in blogging. While the Fortune 500, the Inc. 500, US colleges and universities and charities have all increased their adoption of blogging between 2007 and 2009, charities are “out-blogging” them all for the third year in a row. The Fortune 500 had the least amount of blogs at 22% adoption, the Inc. 500 with 45%, colleges and universities blogging at 51% and charities now reporting 65% with blogs.

And of those charities without blogs, 56% said they planned to add one in

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Podcasting was another big-gainer, up 10% to 36%. Curiously, the use of video blogging, which was the fastest-growing social media tool between 2007 and 2008, took a substantial dive in usage, from nearly 80% top about 50%. Quite surprising given the popularity of video and YouTube right now.

Charities also report a higher presence on Facebook (93%) and MySpace (30%) than other sectors.

It is clear that not-for-profits are now communicating in new ways and they’re listening too. Sixty-six percent of respondents in 2007 and 75% in 2008 reported they monitor the Internet for buzz, posts, conversations and news about their organization. A remarkable 93% now report regular monitoring. Most of these organizations realize the importance of knowing what conversation might occur around their cause, their name, their location or constituents.

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