Whether or not you use Blackbaud’s software, one thing you’ve got to respect is their commitment to researching what online fundraising strategies work best for nonprofits.

Yesterday, they published the 2012 Nonprofit Social Networking Report (download it for free) that shows how nonprofits are using social media for fundraising.

A few highlights in the report:

  • 98% have a Facebook page with an average community size of over 8k fans.
  • Average Facebook and Twitter communities grew by 30% and 81%, respectively.
  • Average value of a Facebook Like is $214.81 over 12 months following acquisition.
  • 73% allocate half of a full time employee to managing social networking activities.
  • 43% budget $0 for their social networking activities.
  • The top 3 factors for success are: strategy, prioritization, dedicated staff.

They also created this amazing infographic summarizing the report.

 

Comments

  1. I really respect that they worked so hard to gather data from such a wide range of nonprofits [I believe the number of respondents was ~3.5k]. And I really appreciate having some of these benchmarks in there disseminated to the community for folks to learn from. However there are problems, IMO, with this data.

    A big concern is that value of a Facebook Like. First, that number is self-reported. Second, that drops to $161 when only online donations are accounted for. The latest M+R report says the average online one-time donation is ~$60. So that number is extremely high [and would make any successful direct mail campaign wet their shorts].

    Third, only 10% of the total [~320] answered that question. That alone stretches validity unless care was taken on sampling. And they left in a number of serious outliers – such as someone donating $10k after being a FB friend for a year. [that kinda messes with the curve] While yes, that did happen, and should be accounted for, that type of donation is unusual.

    Why am I so riled about this? There are a lot of well-meaning reports out there with valid data, based on the study’s data gathering structure. However, that “average” isn’t THE average – it’s not representative of what’s happening out there, not typical, and not, IMO, a benchmark.

    I’m currently battling a well-meaning collection of data where someone felt a nonprofit should only tweet 3x per day [3!] No context was given on engagement or timing of tweets or even whether you should increase/decrease tweets based on value to the community. That number became gospel. And unfortunately, that isn’t uncommon with nonprofits. A Board or exec team will grab that like a new chew toy without digging into the context or best practices.

    1. Hey
      Jeff. Great points and very valid. You’ll get no argument from me there :)

       

      We
      tried to be clear about the respondent numbers, demographics, etc and
      the fact that the value of a Facebook Like was self reported in an effort to
      ensure people understood the data, results and key findings. 

       

      We
      don’t want anyone making snap judgments and doing things that are not good for
      their organization based on reading into the data incorrectly (or us
      presenting poorly).

       

      Thanks
      for your feedback and, by all means, shoot me your thoughts on how we might do
      an even better job in future reports. Any insight is useful so that we can
      continue to evolve the report over the years. frank [dot] barry [at] blackbaud [dot] com

      @franswaa:twitter