Social media changes the game for charities: Pioneers will reap the benefits

Social media is changing the global landscape for charities by providing new ways to reach strategic objectives. Many charities consider social media to be an important channel to deliver on their communications and fundraising goals. Some use social media to deliver services. Only a few incorporate social media as a core strategy to capitalise on its interactive opportunity to engage with new communities. These pioneers will reap the benefits.

A new report from Grant Thornton, ‘Growing communities: How charity leaders govern social media globally to thrive online’, interviews charity chief executives from around the world and reveals how they are using this tool to deliver to their beneficiaries. The report features interviews with charities from Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK and US, revealing that there is a real need for board-level understanding of social media.

Commenting on the report, Rohit Bahadur, Partner, Grant Thornton India LLP, said, “The recognition of social media as a strategic tool is yet to reach the agenda of charity boards. In India, it remains largely an operational tool used for fundraising and attracting volunteers by a small population of large to mid-size charities. Chief executive officers and board members need to be made aware of the benefits and associated risks of social media.”

Carol Rudge, Global leader – Not for Profit at Grant Thornton said, “Social media is a game changer. Charities looking to engage with a more technology literate audience need to harness the power of this rapidly evolving environment. Without an informed social media strategy – and the internal governance and operations to support it – funding may erode.”

Their responses are brought together with insights from Grant Thornton experts to draw tangible lessons that every charity type can use. From documenting policy to informal training and measurement tools, the report places emphasis on practical advice and shared learning.

This report also equips charity leaders with key questions to ask their operational teams, to ensure the charity’s resources invested in social media deliver greatest value to their beneficiaries.

The ‘Growing communities’ report features embedded links to relevant sources and aids for charities, as well as specific calls to action that can help senior management embrace social media.