November 09, 2011

Animal-Welfare Charities Among the Most Popular Online

Posting frequently on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks and designating staff members to focus on social media are key to gaining online visibility.

Those are just some of the conclusions in the newest nonprofit social-media report from the Internet entrepreneur and philanthropist Craig Newmark.

Mr. Newmark, founder of Craigslist and Craigconnects, a blog about nonprofit work, examined the Facebook and Twitter accounts of five big organizations involved in eight causes to see which ones did best attracting attention.  (For more background about how big charities use social media to raise money, see this survey from The Chronicle.)

Among his findings from eight weeks of data collected this fall:

• Animal and environmental organizations post most often on social networks. Animal groups posted an average of 14 times on Facebook and tweeted 134 times a week, while environmental groups posted an average of 12 times on Facebook and tweeted 88 times a week.

• Those frequent posts may be paying off: Animal organizations were also the most discussed. An average of 17,967 people posted messages about each of the five animal organizations on Facebook, and an average of 1,695 people posted tweets with an animal organization's handle.

• Disaster-relief organizations receive the most responses for each message. They get an average 50 mentions for every post on Twitter.

• Of the 21 organizations that responded to an e-mail survey, all but one had at least one staff member who focused on social media.

• Since hiring a full-time social-media manager, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has doubled its Twitter followers and exceeded 1 million Facebook fans.

This study is a follow-up to another graphic Mr. Newmark commissioned in October looking at how 50 of the largest nonprofits in the U.S. use social media.

Below is a graphic Mr. Newmark posted on his blog to show the results of the study.