This is the introduction to a new study from Idealware, called Using Facebook to Meet Your Mission: Results of a Survey. If you're wondering how much time and energy you should invest in Facebook and how other nonprofits are and aren't finding success with The Social Network, check it out.
"Nonprofits are increasingly told that they need to be on Facebook, and countless gurus and experts offer them advice for maximizing their Facebook presence to get the most return. But are nonprofits actually seeing results, or is Facebook just a bandwagon that's not going anywhere?"
Based on a survey of 505 nonprofits already on Facebook, the study shows that Facebook is NOT a silver bullet but it's not a total "FAIL" either. Here are some key results.
- Over 70% of respondents saw the most success in attracting new event attendees.
- Over 70% saw a significant increase in traffic to their websites because of their Facebook presence.
- Only 36 percent of respondents had set organizational goals for using Facebook. Yikes!
- Just 29% of respondents saw an increase in donations from using Facebook.
I have to admit, I'm not a big fan of Facebook. The site seems incredibly cluttered to me and I find it very difficult to keep track of the people --let alone the causes-- I care about, via my stream. On the other hand, I am not an authority on the site.
Here is what I do know.
- Regardless of the tools you use, it's impossible to determine the value of a new channel unless you set goals for success. Set goals! Analyze progress! Rinse and repeat!
- There is an Opportunity Cost to using one tool over another. Choice your tools wisely or you will waste a lot of time and money.
- Facebook is not FREE! (This is a corollary to the point above.) Your time may be your most valuable asset and it's worth a lot. Use it wisely.