Charities still struggling to make use of social media data, says survey

Howard Lake | 2 October 2014 | News

Five blue Twitter birds and a speech bubble from one with a chart in
Image: Sumall.com

Although many charities and not-for-profit organisations have used social media for several years to support different areas of their work, most are still finding it hard to gather and make use of the data generated through this activity. As a result, they are being held back in making the most of these channels to maximise fundraising and membership results.
This is one of the conclusions of a survey by Advanced NFP, who earlier this year produced a report on the problems faced by charities in handling data. In that they reported that 96% of not-for-profits were struggling effectively to manage to collect and analyse all donor, member or supporter data.
The Advanced NFP Social Media Data report shows that nearly all NFP organisations are struggling to know what data they ought to be collecting from social media campaigns, as well as how to collect and use it to best effect.

What is holding organisations back?

Although 95% of the not-for-profit organisations surveyed said that social media has had a positive impact on creating greater awareness of what they do, 80% report that they do not have the capacity to get involved as much as they would like to. After lack of resources, the next most common hindrance (68%) was lack of in-house expertise.
While 70% of organisations recognise that they should be spending more time and money on social media, 62% say they are not able to measure the impact of their social media activity.
61% of respondents claim that they do not have enough support throughout the organisation, with 52% revealing that a lack of full understanding or appreciation of the benefits of social media from senior decision-makers was holding them back.
Over two thirds (69%) of respondents claim they were not able to link social media data into existing systems, with 62% saying they could not link online and offline campaigns. In addition, 68% of respondents revealed they weren’t able to connect together data from the different forms of social media activity.

Most popular social media channels

Not surprisingly Twitter and Facebook were cited as the most popular social media channels for not-for-profits to use. Yet 63% of organisations could not collect useful data from that activity, and 61% could not effectively track what was happening in their social media activity.

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Simon Fowler, Managing Director, Advanced Business Solutions (Advanced NFP), said:
“It’s encouraging to see NFPs embracing opportunities to engage with a wider audience via social media activities. However, data-driven insights continue to be an issue. Once again, the single biggest threat facing NFPs right now is an inability to gain a competitive advantage from data.
“However, on a more positive note, we are encouraging our customers to get to grips with these new channels and steal a march. To support them, we are investing in technologies that will integrate data from social media channels into our solutions.”