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Social Media and NPO’s Expository Essay


Introduction

There has been a rapid growth in utilization of social media applications amongst various groups of internet users in the last five years (Ostrow, 2010). The common applications in the social media platform include Facebook, Blogs, RSS and wikis (Hansen et al., 2011). These platforms have become popular with most internet users, who utilize it as a channel of communication at least on a daily basis (Boyd & Ellison, 2007).

Public sector Organizations such as Estee Lauder Companies cancer campaign and NPOs such as the Hope campaign that was used by President Barrack Obama and anti-kidnapping campaign through Weibo in China have taken to the social media platform as a means of staying in touch with the public and their affiliated members.

NPO’s do not exist to generate profits hence are not concerned with outdoing any form of competition. They work much more to be noticed by the public and to get more donor money (Gregory and Rathi, 2008). NPO’s have a duty to handle the information at their disposal in an effective way for efficient dissemination to the public. The social media proves to be a most effective way of achieving this goal.

Role

The social media promises to be the best means of realizing online and real world social networks. A number of social networks have been created as a means of pooling together people with common interests who probably have not had a chance to meet in real life (Boyd & Ellison, 2007).

Social networking enables direct interaction with people willing to participate in the organization’s activities. It also enables them to establish their presence online and boost their brand consciousness (Salamon and Anheier, 1992).

The Impact of social media services is quite tremendous hence making it a very effective tool for dissemination of information. There is great potential in social media platforms for the future of Knowledge Management theory and practices. The desires and trends of the users need to be considered (Shaw and Edwards, 2005) before putting in place a workable means that would gain from the power of social media.

The Non Profit Organizations are an example of organizations that have taken up the exercise of information management such as KM (Kaplan and Haenlien, 2010; Salamon and Anheier, 1992).

SWOT analysis for a non profit Organization

The SWOT analysis is an important management practice that focuses on four areas; Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Strength and weaknesses are internal factors whereas Opportunities and Threats are external factors. SWOT can be used to study competition.

The SWOT evaluation of a Non Profit Organization is carried out in the same way as that of a profitable organization with major factors to be considered being fundraising, Volunteer staff and goodwill. SWOTS help non profit organizations to come up with a marketing plan (Lettieri, et. al, 2004).

Strengths

One of the major advantages that the NPO’s have over the profitable organization is their exclusion from taxes. They can thus afford to sell products at a discount and their customers are also exempt from taxes associated with purchase. The availability of volunteers from various professional fields e.g. artists, canvassers, lawyers, Doctors Etc has enabled the NPO’s save on the costs of hiring (Salamon and Anheier, 1992).

Weaknesses

With the revenue earned, most NPO’s can hardly meet their expenses. The fact that they are not able to offer remuneration and are volunteer oriented means that employees work based on passion and Job satisfaction.

Opportunities

The funding made available to the NPO’s is an opportunity. The funding could be given from a public or private entity. NPO’s work in collaboration with other institutions businesses or fellow NPO’s which gives the organization opportunities to earn much in terms of publicity by donating a portion of purchase price to the NPO (Lemieux and Dalkir, 2006).

Threats

Tough economic times would always affect NPO funding as many prospective donors would want to limit their expenditure and focus more on their more personal survival. The reliance on funding makes the NPO’s susceptible to scrutiny. There ought to be a high level of integrity as any dishonesty would lead to donor pulling out (Rowley, 2010).

PEST

One of the most important factors within the external environment is the strength of support from majority of beneficiaries. Market strategies of NPO are based on PEST analysis reveals wide expansion of supporting base within various market environments (Salamon and Anheier, 1992).

There is enough evidence to prove that unlike other for-profit organizations within the market, NPO’s have resisted diversification and hence focuses on building image and reputation based on high quality services provided across all market segments within the international market.

In addition, NPO’s report indicates that media industry within European nations is very saturated; hence there is high possibility of reaching higher percentage of the already available consumers (Lemieux and Dalkir, 2006).

The role of social media for not-for-profit and/or public sector organizations

Before the realization of the social media platform, NPO’s and Public sector organizations used direct mail, phone calls and other means to interact with consumers. Supporters were arranged in groups and the most interested ranked at the top of a pyramid or ladder and groomed to make bigger and bigger donations.

The advent of internet and social media has however disrupted this direct engagement and offered NPO’s and public sector an opportunity to interact with consumers in a more complex yet influential way (Lemieux and Dalkir, 2006).

Social Media has enabled donors to directly interact with the NPO’s and also enabled public sector companies such as Estee Lauder Companies cancer campaign to interact with consumers through viral video campaigns, online competitions and mobile distribution. It is used by NPO’s and public sector to attract more supporters and increase visibility (Kanter, 2008).

Through social media supporters, volunteers, consumers and other interested groups are able to participate in a course as presented by the NPO. Interested parties are able to advance the cause by posting a logo on their social profile or even through blogging. Social Media is a very influential tool that a donor can use to convince his peers to join the NPO’s cause (Lemieux and Dalkir, 2006).

The said peers can also be very influential to the commitment of the donor. Marketing and advertisement also form a very integral part to the NPO’s course. Using the social media platform the NPO is able to reach out to a wide audience with their intended message (Rowley, 2010).

Many researchers in the Public sector agree to the fact that economic and cultural factors play the most significant role in determining the kind of organizations established within an area. The recent financial crisis made many families reshape their lifestyles and cut their budgets.

This made most public sector organizations to rethink their market strategies and aspirations as many of them had to reach wider areas with high population densities. However, availability of various programs aimed at assisting aspirin young communities help in preventing negative effects of financial crisis (Kanter and Fine, 2010).

References

Askanase, D 2011, Nonprofits: Are your Facebook fans engaged? . Web.

Boyd, D & Ellison, N 2007, Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. Vol.13. No.1.

Hansen, D, Shneiderman, B & Smith, M 2011, Social Media: New Technologies of Collaboration, In Analyzing Social Media Networks with NodeXL, Morgan Kaufmann, Boston.

Kanter, B 2008, “The ROI of social media,” NTEN: Nonprofit technology network. Web.

Kanter, B & Fine, A 2010, The Networked Nonprofit: Connecting with Social Media to Drive Change, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.

Kaplan, A & Haenlein, M 2010, “Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media,” Business Horizons, Vol.1, No. 53, pp 59–68.

Lemieux, S & Dalkir, K 2006, “Knowledge Management in a Non-traditional Setting: the Case of a Nonprofit, Artistic Organization,” Information Outlook.

Lettieri, E, Borga, F & Savoldelli, A 2004, “Knowledge management in nonprofit organizations,” Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol.6, No. 8, pp 16-30.

Ostrow, A 2010, A look back at the last five years in social media, Mashable. Web.

Rowley, M 2010, How nonprofits are using social media for real results, Mashable. Web.

Salamon, L & Anheier, H 1992, “In search of the non-profit sector,” International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, Vol. 2, No.2, pp125-151.

Shaw, D & Edwards, J 2005, “Building user commitment to implementing a knowledge management strategy,” Information and Management Vol. 7, No. 42.

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