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NFPs must incorporate social media strategy at board level

NFPs must incorporate social media strategy at board level to succeed

9 July 2014

While many Not for Profit organisations (NFPs) consider social media to be an important channel to deliver their communications and fundraising goals, few incorporate social media as a core strategy to capitalise on interactive opportunity to engage with new communities, according to a new report from Grant Thornton, 'Growing communities: How charity leaders govern social media globally to thrive online'.

The report draws on insights from interviews with charity chief executives from around the world, including New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Ireland, the UK and the US and reveals how they are using social media to deliver to their beneficiaries.

Brent Kennerley, Head of Not for Profit at Grant Thornton New Zealand says the report highlights a real need for board-level understanding of social media.

“Social media is a game changer. NFPs 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 availability could erode.

“Some NPFs have made great progress and these pioneers will reap the benefits. However, there is currently a social media knowledge gap at senior levels in charities worldwide – the very people expected to govern the opportunities and risks to achieve their charity’s goals.

“The report demonstrates that senior executives within NFPs need to consider a range of questions regarding their social media interaction, especially in five key areas: strategy, governance, education, risk and measurement. NFP leaders also need to be asking their operational teams key questions, to ensure the resources invested in social media deliver greatest value to their beneficiaries.

New Zealand Aids Foundation CEO, Shaun Robinson, says his organisation has achieved great results thanks to a total board buy-in and a social media strategy that is worked into their communication plan, with an expense line for each delivery channel.

“Our board set a plan back in 2009 to specifically move to social marketing in which social media is a key tool and they are very engaged. We can easily see the benefit,” he says.

Kennerley added: “More NFP’s need to be adopting this approach. From documenting policy to informal training and measurement tools, there needs to be a real emphasis on practical advice and shared learning,” he said.

Find out more by using the hashtag #NFPsocialmedia or by downloading the report here.

'Growing communities: How charity leaders govern social media globally to thrive online' is a report produced by Grant Thornton. Compiled using interviews between 17 charity chief executives and Grant Thornton Not for Profit specialists, it provides clear advice for board members and senior management of charities. The interviews took place in Q1 and Q2 2014 and are backed up by commentary and analysis from Grant Thornton.

“Grant Thornton” refers to the brand under which the Grant Thornton member firms provide assurance, tax and advisory services to their clients and/or refers to one or more member firms, as the context requires. Grant Thornton International Ltd (GTIL) and the member firms are not a worldwide partnership. GTIL and each member firm is a separate legal entity. Services are delivered by the member firms. GTIL does not provide services to clients. GTIL and its member firms are not agents of, and do not obligate, one another and are not liable for one another’s acts or omissions.


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