Society for New Communications Research Explores How Universities Use Social Media to Raise Money

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New study asks universities and colleges how they are using social media to raise money, and seeks best practices, predictions for the future.

Susanne Rockwell, Fellow, Society for New Communications Research

As higher education struggles with imploding budgets and shrinking endowments, we are searching for examples of institutions using social media to bring donors to their causes, said Susanne Rockwell.

In a new study, “Universities, Social Media and the Challenge for Fundraising,” the Society for New Communications Research will explore how higher education is taking advantage of social media to attract philanthropic gifts.

SNCR today announced the launch of a national survey of development and communication professionals in higher education, led by SNCR Research Fellow Susanne Rockwell, campus Web editor at the University of California, Davis.

"The 2008 presidential election raised much attention about social media as a serious vehicle for attracting donors when the Obama campaign successfully paired fundraising with 'friend raising,' commented Rockwell. "The Obama communication team created a committed coalition of supporters and donors that continues today, a goal shared by many colleges and universities. As higher education struggles with imploding budgets and shrinking endowments, we are searching for national examples of institutions taking similar advantage of social media to bring donors to their causes. We are gathering success stories and at the same time want to learn about barriers for colleges and universities using social media for fund raising.”

This study intends to paint a national picture of how higher education perceives and uses social media for fund raising. While identifying best practices and opportunities to strengthen bonds with donors, it will also offer predictions of whether social media will change university fund raising strategies.

All college and university development and communications professionals in higher education are invited to participate in this study. The online survey is available at:

http://sncr.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_7TISThqZBWo4ZZq

Development and communication professionals in higher education will be asked:

  • Are universities and colleges using social media to raise money?
  • What are the impediments?
  • What is proving to be the most effective social media channel among the various options?
  • Who is attracted to fundraising through social media channels?
  • What types of fundraising opportunities are most conducive to attracting donors?
  • What does the future portend?

Those who complete the survey will receive a complimentary copy of the executive summary of the survey results. Participants will also receive a special discount to attend the 2010 Society for New Communications Research Symposium, which will be held in November in Palo Alto, Calif., where the initial findings will be shared.

The final study report, which will be highlighted in the society’s Journal of New Communications Research, will offer a national view of how universities are using social media for fund raising.

About the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR)

The Society for New Communications Research is a global nonprofit 501(c)(3) research and education foundation and think tank dedicated to the advanced study of new communications tools, technologies and emerging modes of communication, and their effect on traditional media, professional communications, business, culture and society. For more information about the Society for New Communications Research, visit http://www.sncr.org or call +1 (408) 266-9658.

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