Using Facebook To Meet Your Mission: Survey Results
In February 2011, Idealware surveyed 505 nonprofit staff members already using Facebook at their organizations to find out how long they’d been using the site, how much time they spent updating their pages, and what they have achieved. Participants were asked about their goals and whether they had seen tangible, measurable results.
| Posted in Technology on Jun 19, 2011
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Survey respondents were asked whether they’d seen an increase in their constituent base that they could attribute to Facebook—are they actually attracting new constituents or inspiring people to action. Initial data revealed at least some successful results in all five categories: donors, members, volunteers, clients and event attendees.
Increased Event Attendees
Organizations saw the most success attracting new event attendees. More than 70 percent of respondents reported positive impact—specifically, that they’d gotten more than “one or two” attendees, but instead had gotten a “a few” or a “substantial” number. Interviewees noticed the ability of Facebook to build enthusiasm for events when people repost and share events with their friends.
The data suggests that organizations are more successful attracting constituents for activities that require a lower level of commitment. Attending one event requires less of a time commitment than volunteering would, and neither require giving money. Facebook users may feel their online relationships are more casual than most organizations hope, or expect.
Increased Website Traffic
Respondents reported the most success using Facebook to direct new people to their websites—almost 300 reported “some” or a “substantial” increase in web traffic attributable to Facebook. Free web analytics tools, like Google Analytics, make tracking visitors from a link on a Facebook page one of the most measurable goals included in this survey.
Survey respondents interested in moving people to take some form of action for a cause, like signing petitions or other advocacy actions, also reported more success than failure—66 percent achieved moderate to substantial results. Online petitions and other political or advocacy actions are not difficult, demand little time, and are easily spread through Facebook and other social media.
Organizations reported less success using Facebook to attract donations. Under 30 percent saw an increase. Several interviewees mentioned the difficulty of fundraising on Facebook, reporting either that they’ve found it to be not useful at all, or that it takes a long time to develop donors on the site. Respondents that indicated some success reported using apps or other online donation tools that interact with Facebook, like those by Causes.com or FirstGiving.
Time Investment, Goals and Measurement
The survey also asked how much time organizations were spending on Facebook, and whether they had set goals or were measuring outcomes. Only 36 percent of respondents had set organizational goals for using Facebook; among those, 40 percent saw some success. On average, respondents who had some tangible success in using Facebook spent about 2.6 hours per week on the site. Very few respondents are measuring their results with Facebook—47 percent are not measuring at all, and only 26 percent have set a substantial method for measuring. Organizations that do measure were more likely to see success. Almost 40 percent of those with a substantial measurement plan reported that Facebook provided a positive impact.
For more information about IdealWare and to get the full report, visit http://idealware.org/facebook_survey.
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