Okay, so you have been developing your nonprofit’s presence on the staples of social media new for a couple of years. Facebook page? Check. Twitter account? Sure. But how much time do you want to put into keeping up with those outlets? Has your organization seen any growth in volunteers or donors thanks to the outreach on social media?
The 2012 Nonprofit Social Benchmark Report from NTEN is the fourth in this annual series, which means the surveyors have enough materials to start identifying longer-term trends and to offer meaningful statistics as to how social networks are changing communications and fundraising for nonprofits and charities. Spoiler Alert: Nonprofit use of social networks is growing, and with that use most nonprofits are enjoying significant returns on investment (ROI). Still not sure you want to commit resources to it? Please read on…
Jeff Patrick, one of the NTEN staff in charge of the report, was interviewed at this past April’s NTEN Conference, and he hit some of the high points of the report. To be sure, nonprofits and charities still have concerns about the whole social-media scene. In particular, are they going to surrender years of building a brand and reputation for their organization only to hand control of a ‘conversation’ over to their audiences and their audiences’ acquaintances? Might that backfire?
Yes, it’s possible − though we have pointed out some of the ways your organization can avoid such occasional pitfalls. But the rewards can be even more striking than you might have thought! Let’s let Jeff offer some of the key points of the 2012 findings.
Some of his numbers deserve attention. Nonprofits who took part in the survey are reporting growth of some 30% in their social-networking audiences in just the last year. Yet they are enjoying that growth without a significant increase in budget or time allocated to monitoring social media (the average move was from 1/4th of an “FTE” (Full-Time Employee’s hour) to 1/2).
Thanks to longer-term tracking of analytics, nonprofits are generally stating that it costs about $3.50 to get a Facebook ‘Like’ and about $2.05 to get a follower on Facebook or Twitter. So you want 1000 new ‘Likes’? Be prepared to spend above $3500 (not everyone who sees your appeal will click the ‘Like’ button). Not pocket change for most nonprofits. And yet, over the next twelve months after getting a person to ‘Like’ your organization, that person is likely to give about $215 across social-networking and traditional outreach (email, direct mail, phone calls…) efforts. So the ROI on $3500 could be $215,000!
The full report can be(free, but requiring registration). Its numbers show that social networking needs to be part of your organization’s budget and everyone at your nonprofit needs to be on board with the strategy. The ROI potential has simply become too lucrative to ignore.