Are we finally getting serious and asking important questions about the role social media (or media in any form) can play in helping foundations achieve their goals? Signs seem to be pointing that way.
For instance, last week, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) held a day-long conference focused on how foundations can determine if social media is moving their work forward. Over the course of large group and small group discussions and presentations, the questions that kept communications professionals and evaluators engaged were “what do we measure and what will success look like from using social media?”
Social media is increasingly ubiquitous, but it can be hard to know what impact your efforts are having on your followers. With survey responses from more than 6,000 grantees about their experiences with one of 34 foundations, the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) set out to address a very basic question: Are grantees using their foundation funders’ social media?
Only 16% of grantees surveyed report using social media created by funders or their staff.
(A version of this post also appears on The Center For Effective Philanthropy Blog.)
In a perfect world, our ideal audiences would read every one of our tweets, consume every blog post and make sure not a day goes by they don’t check Facebook for our latest updates.
But we know it’s not a perfect world, and for proof we have the results of a Center for Effective Philanthropy survey that examined grantees’ engagement with foundations’ social media. For any tweeting, blogging, or Facebook-using foundation that presumes their grantees are paying routine attention to what they’re writing, posting and featuring through social media channels, this study may surprise, but I don’t think it should disappoint.
When the Communications Network released its survey last summer of foundation communications practices, one of the key findings it trumpeted was the increasing reliance on all forms digital communications, especially social media, for reaching target audiences. Yet, a report just released by the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP)–based on a survey of leaders and senior managers at 6,000 nonprofits–may give some foundations pause for thought if they are similarly relying on social media to keep grantees informed about their organizations’ work.
(This is cross-posted from the July 12th edition of Stanford Social Innovation Review, where it originally appeared.)
Guest Post: Thaler Pekar
I frequently write about the communicative power of story, and the insights that organizations can glean from listening to story and exploring narrative. But what is a real story, and how do you go about gathering some?