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Social Media for Nonprofits: Analysis and Discussion of Facebook for Habitat for Humanity San Luis Obispo

A Senior Project presented to the Faculty of the Journalism Department California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Bachelor of Science in Journalism

by Christine Gorney March 2011

© 2011 Christine Gorney

USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA FOR NONPROFITS Abstract In the past few years, social media has become a key strategy for public relations practitioners. Sites like Facebook have revolutionized online marketing and how businesses and organizations reach their publics. Large nonprofits utilize Facebook to

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spread their messages and gain supporters and funds, but many small, local nonprofits do not use Facebook to their advantage. Social media has become necessary for businesses and organizations, especially nonprofits, to grow, as well as compete with their competitors. The results of this project demonstrate why nonprofits may not participate in social media, as well as why it is beneficial to implement the correct strategy and tactics to be successful at social media.

USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA FOR NONPROFITS Table of Contents CHAPTER I. II. III. IV. V.

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Introduction ……………………………………………………………… 1 Review of Literature ………………………………………………….…. 2 Methodology …………………………………………………….………. 8 Discussion …………………………………………………….….……… 9 Conclusion and Recommendations ……………………………………... 15

Resources ……………………………………………………………………….. 18

USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA FOR NONPROFITS List of Figures FIGURE

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1 ………………………………………………………………………………….….. 21 2 ………………………………………………………………………………….….. 22 3 …………………………………………………………………………….….……. 23 4 ………………………………………………………………………………...…… 26 5 …………………………………………………………………………………..…. 27 6 ……………………………………………………………………………….....….. 28

USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA FOR NONPROFITS Chapter 1: Introduction The purpose of this paper is to examine how nonprofits use social media to further their causes, gain recognition, and fundraise. It also explores why many smaller nonprofits do not engage in social media. The research shows that social media can greatly benefit any nonprofit if done correctly. Habitat for Humanity San Luis Obispo County served as a case study as to why many small chapters of nonprofits have not utilized social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter, to its full potential. By exploring how large, national nonprofits successfully use social media, small, local

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nonprofits can learn how to apply the same strategies and tactics to achieve their common goal of increasing donations. The use of social media has become an important aspect of public relations. It enables the public relations practitioner to reach out to publics in new ways. Practitioners are able to see what is being said about their organization and how their organization is being perceived. They are also able to disseminate information more quickly because viral messages can be spread in seconds. Since publics can directly communicate with an organization, social media also helps personify an organization. It has created both challenges and new opportunities for the public relations field. Practitioners can use these tools to “make PR a more important part of the communication arsenal” (Bush, 2010, para. 7). Social media has revolutionized the way businesses and organizations promote themselves to their publics, yet many nonprofits have fallen short. Billion dollar companies have utilized these “free” channels, but many nonprofits either underutilize them, or have not even begun tapping into these useful resources. Social media has

USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA FOR NONPROFITS become a crucial, and beneficial, method of communication for nonprofits and it would greatly benefit them to better understand and adopt social media (Curtis et al., 2008). This adoption is critical for nonprofits, large and small, to further their public relations efforts and...
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