The tendency of Not for Profit organisations in New Zealand to rely on enthusiastic volunteers to manage their social media activities is described in a special report as risky and recommends they follow the Australian sector and invest more in this area.
The report by Grant Thornton is based on a survey of 416 Not for Profit organisations in Australia and New Zealand. It is one of the most comprehensive undertaken in the sector on an Australasian-wide basis.
Grant Thornton New Zealand Partner, Barry Baker says organisations in Australia tend to have an annual social media budget, an active social media plan and an employee dedicated to managing its social media. In New Zealand, organisations are more likely to rely on a keen volunteer.
“Whether social media is used to promote an organisation, communicate with stakeholders or help fundraising, it is critical that it is integrated into the wider business/marketing plan. Its use in isolation could create more risk than benefit.
“Organisations without a full-time social media resource and appropriate monitoring tools are at the greatest risk of damaging their brand.”
The Grant Thornton report identifies a significant disparity in overall online activities between Not for Profits on both sides of the Tasman. It says 99% of the Australian organisations surveyed have a website. In New Zealand, 79% have a website.
Organisations in the health sector appear to be the most active online with 92% of those surveyed having a website and being the most likely to increase their social media activity through dedicated resourcing.
Organisations in the culture, sport and recreation sectors are least likely to have a website and tend to rely on a volunteer to manage their social media activity, the report reveals.
Baker says the survey found the most important purpose of a Not for Profit organisation’s website was marketing, followed by communicating to members and then stakeholders. Fundraising was a relatively distant fourth.
“Organisations in Australia are, arguably, using their websites more than those in New Zealand, where it appears some organisations lack a clear digital strategy.”
The report identifies a decline in the effectiveness of telemarketing and door-to-door fundraising in the Not for Profit sector, and growing utilisation of social media.
However, it warns against treating online channels as the “silver bullet”, referring to a survey in the United States three years ago which found that 77.6% of non-profit organisations that used Facebook to raise funds, raised less than $1,000.