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Facebook Trumps Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube as King of Non-Profit Social Media Platforms

WAKEFIELD, Mass. – Feb. 18, 2014 – Facebook is the most widely used social media platform by non-profit charitable organizations and trade associations, according to a recent survey. Eighty-two percent of responding associations said they are leveraging Facebook, while Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube were being used by 54%, 49% and 42% respectively.

Virtual, Inc. (, a technology-focused association management company recently commissioned the online survey to examine characteristics and practices of non-profit organizations. Responses were received from 266 non-profit organizations of varying sizes, including 501(c)(3) charitable groups and 501(c)(6) trade associations. Results differed according to group size and IRS designation. A 15-page report containing survey results and analysis is available for download at no charge.

In addition to information about financial reporting, operations and human resources, the research revealed the tactics non-profits are using to communicate. Social media in particular have been widely embraced:

  • Overall, 82% of the associations that responded are using Facebook, with fewer on Twitter (54%);
  • LinkedIn usage (49%) rivals that of YouTube (42%), with Google+ (22%) not yet showing traction;
  • Among 501(c)(6) organizations, LinkedIn is more popular (65%), especially among mid-size organizations (69%), where Twitter use is also higher (81%).

To deliver member and public communications, 95% of respondents reported that their organizations use email, and 86% said they distribute email newsletters to members. Very few have implemented private social networks. Other communication vehicles are also well used:

  • 48% run online discussion forums
  • 38% hold webcasts or webinars
  • 32% publish blogs

For webconferences and webcasts, the leading solution is GoToMeeting, cited by 31% of respondents; WebEx was second with 11% [behind Other (29%) and Not Sure (21%)].

Only 39% of the respondents provide a private web area for members, separate from a public-facing website. The majority of respondents (73%) update their websites using the services of in-house employees, rather than outside professionals, and only slightly more than half (56%) said they could quickly restore their sites from backups in case of disaster.

Additional information about the services that Virtual provides to associations is available at

About Virtual, Inc.

Founded in 1999, Virtual, Inc. is a full-service association management company that combines advanced technology, best practices and innovation to provide its clients with world-class business operations, freeing organization leaders to focus on their missions and programs. Virtual was named to The Boston Globe’s “Top Places to Work” list for 2012. The firm has been named three times to Inc. Magazine’s list of 5000 fastest-growing private companies. Virtual is accredited by the AMC Institute, the global trade group that represents the association management industry. For more information about Virtual, Inc., visit, or call +1 781-246-0500.