Foundations' Social Media Not Engaging Grantees, Study Finds

Although foundations increasingly are investing in social media such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube videos, and blogs, nonprofits tend not to pay attention to their funders' efforts on those platforms, a report from the finds.

Based on a 2011 survey of senior nonprofit leaders and managers as part of a broader Grantee Perception survey administered by CEP, the report, (12 pages, PDF), found that only 16 percent of the more than six thousand grantees surveyed utilize at least one social media tool created by their funders, while 52 percent said they used none and 11 percent said they didn't know whether their funder used social media. In terms of social media included in the survey, 10 percent of respondents said they checked their funder's Facebook page, 6 percent followed their blog, 6 percent checked out their videos, and 5 percent followed them on Twitter.

The report also found that nonprofits ranked social media lowest as a helpful resource for learning about a foundation, below individual communication, group meetings, published guidelines, and Web sites. According to an analysis of the survey, grantees use social media primarily to gather general information about the foundation or content-specific information, rather than to interact with funders.

"I think our survey findings raise critical questions for any foundation that wants to use social media to connect to grantees," said CEP president Phil Buchanan. "It's not enough to simply be online. You need to be intentional about what you are trying to achieve with social media. As in any philanthropic endeavor, making a difference requires clear goals, the right strategy to achieve those goals, and measures of progress."

"." Center for Effective Philanthropy Press Release 07/26/2012.