Charities can benefit from #SocialMedia

  • Report shows that charities are using social media much more effectively but there is still much more they could do to develop a competitive edge

    Unicef UK is the top charity in the study, and shows it has recognised the changes.

    Charities spend vast amounts of money every year on marketing and getting fundraisers to be aware of their cause, when there is now a method of social media freely able to do this.

    The Charity Social 100 Report, released today, follows up on the report last year and shows the changes that charities have made in their use of social media, and some interesting milestones are being reported.

    There's marked difference across charities in terms of how they're using social media with some clearly distinctive stages of social media adoption. For many charities, being social means having a presence on Facebook and Twitter. For others, social business is reconfiguring the entire way they think about being an organisation.

    The study suggests a need for new strategies:

    As charities report an overwhelming preference for owned and earned media in our study, a potential culture clash between new and old world marketing may be emerging. The big question to answer is ‘how should charities reconfigure their marketing spends to make the most of the growth of social business and redefine how as brands they can connect most effectively with their users?'.

    Our study suggests an opportunity and a need for social business strategies that can close the gap between media effectiveness and how marketing budgets may be being allocated to serve fundraising and promotional objectives.

    In 12 months, the figures for charities using social media have almost doubled; the top 100 charities now have over 3.7 million followers on twitter and 7 million Facebook followers, compared to 2 million on twitter and 3.5 million on Facebook found in the previous study last year.

    33% of charities now have their own community as a destination point, up from 21% a year ago, but deep engagement has a way to go.

    The study looks at the relationship between the social activity, supporter engagement and fundraising impact, and measures which charities are gaining most from this. They have found that it tends to be smaller charities that are doing better with this relationship, due to people feeling more involved and the feeling of being excluded from the central organisation in removed. Presently, charities are struggling to become more personal as it is more effective to engage supporters with them wanting to share their own involvement with the charity.

    The study has worked with JustGiving, who use social media to broadcast fundraising activities and people donate via their JustGiving account; the study looked at which charity's supporters are the most likely to share their fundraising activities with others on Facebook

    There are now more platforms and devices in social media available to charities than there were 12 months ago, and the report shows that charities are now beginning to explore these.

    Unicef UK is the top charity in the study, and shows it has recognised the changes. It is weaving international, national and local activity together, on and offline, as multi-platform experiences supporters and staff can participate in. Despite it being a large organisation, it has understood a way to use social media to make personalise it's cause.

    The charities using social media the best are making big gains. By becoming a lot more distributed, and by using people to make the social change, there is more access to ever increasing numbers of receptive users to gain loyal supporters. Charities can then convert the loyalty of their supporters into direct and interactive involvement, and generate cost savings by doing so through their use of social business planning and networked media. Social media is able to do this in a way that previous marketing of charities is unable to.

    Report by Visceral Business



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