Transnational Nonprofits’ Social Media Use: A Survey of Communications Professionals and an Analysis of Organizational Characteristics

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. In response to rapid changes in the communication environment, nonprofits are increasingly relying on digital technologies to achieve their communication goals. We examine factors influencing nonprofits’ digital-based external communication based on a survey of communications directors at transnational nonprofits, with an analysis of each organization’s characteristics as described on its Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 990 and website. Our results show that, at the organizational level, nonprofits with stronger leadership support concerning social media activities were more likely to use different digital platforms and value more various functions of social media for external communication as compared with those lacking such support. At the individual level, communications directors’ perceived ease of social media use and time in their current position significantly influenced their emphasis on different functions of social media. This research fills a gap in the literature by analyzing both organizational characteristics and individual communications director’s attributes in assessing nonprofits’ social media use.

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly |  

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