Social Media Study Reveals Nonprofit Fundraising Supporter Motivation & Behaviour | Miratel Solutions

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Social Media Study Reveals Nonprofit Fundraising Supporter Motivation & Behaviour

As part of our Social Media series for nonprofit fundraising, I have featured many social media reports that provide insight into popular platforms and strategies on how to grow communities and optimize engagement. Most recent reports have included the 2013 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report and the 2013 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study. A recently released report Digital Persuasion, How Social Media Motivates Action and Drives Support for Causes, examines the behaviour and motivations of social media users when it comes to cause support. The study developed by Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communication and Waggener Edstrom Worldwide surveyed 2,004 digitally engaged charitable American adults in the summer of 2012 and the following are some insights from the research:

  • nonprofit-fundraising-social-media-motivatiuons-reportPersonal Values – The study’s research showed that personal values are the driving force behind why respondents digitally supported a cause. 76% either somewhat or strongly agreed that it’s important for them to personally influence others to care about the same causes they care about. 75% felt their friends and family listened to them and took their recommendations regularly. To a much lesser degree it was important for them to personally be seen as knowledgeable about causes (55%) and be seen as charitable to their friends and family (51%).
  • Motivations – The three top motivators for sharing cause related information on platforms like Facebook and Twitter included 61% being proud to be affiliated with charity or cause; 61% wanting to influence others to support the charities they support; and 58% feeling like they were making an impact. However, only 16% of respondents saw their influence as the most important resource to give to a cause, while time and money ranked significantly higher with 37% and 36% respectively. Clearly influencing others is important, but respondents realize the importance of resources such as time and money as valuable commodities that charities need.
  • Sources of Information – The most popular way both 65% of online and 48% of offline supporters first hear of a cause is through a friend or family member that they follow on social media. Other top sources include online news site or magazine that featured an article about the charity or cause (28% online and 23% offline) and being told in person by a friend or family member (28% online and 33% offline). The results are fairly similar for both online and offline supporters, but interesting to note is that the top sources are social media and online websites. As more and more people are communicating virtually these numbers are likely to grow in the coming years.
  • Facebook – An overwhelming 95% of those surveyed follow a brand, company or organization on Facebook, with 89% of those visiting the site on a daily basis and 64% post content more than once a day. Those with a Facebook profile, 47% supported a cause through Facebook, with the top three actions being: 1) ‘Liking’ a charity or cause at 92%, 2) ‘Liking’ a comment or post at 69% and 3) posting on a wall at 59%. Reasons for ‘Liking’ a page varied but the top three reasons included: 1) to publicly display their support of the charity or cause to their friends at 67%, 2) to follow news and updates on the charity or cause at 55% and 3) to influence their friends and family to ‘Like’ the charity or cause. Interestingly, the reasons for ‘Un-Liking’ a page is similar to past research mainly being: 1) the charity over posting at 43%; 2) the charity’s posted content was unappealing to them at 40%; and 3) the charity only posted appeals for donations at 36%.

The Digital Persuasion, How Social Media Motivates Action and Drives Support for Causes research is very detailed and includes top causes that respondents saw as being most popular on social media networks and the top three sectors included Animals with 41% of respondents, while 37% said Children and 19% said Health & Wellness.

Any individual with an online or social media presence can be an influencer and share information about the causes and organizations that they care most about. It’s important for charities that engage their communities through these channels to understand motivations and behaviour to better present content that will attract and inspire readers to influence their own networks.


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Miratel Solutions is a Toronto call centreeBusiness, and letter shop mail house specializing in professional fundraising services including telephone fundraisingonline fundraisinglottery servicesdonation cagingdonation processing and other donor management services. We are committed to our CSR business values in all contact centre services and mail house operations and advancing the missions of the nonprofits we proudly serve.

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