Orchestras and Social Media Survey: Preface

Nonprofit blogger Beth Kanter recently highlighted two new research studies about nonprofits and the adoption of social media released by Weber Shandwick and Philanthropy Action. These studies yielded some interesting results.

The Weber Shandwick study of 200 nonprofit executives revealed that an overwhelming majority (85%) will use more social media in the next two years. There is extensive experimentation with social media in the nonprofit sector, but only half (51%) are active users. Most nonprofits (52%) do not currently have the infrastructure, staff and expertise necessary to take full advantage of social media’s potential, and ultimately, for most nonprofit executives (79%), the true value of social media has yet to be determined for their organizations.

The Philanthropy Action study questioned the use of social networking for mid-size nonprofits and concluded that ―in terms of fundraising and attracting volunteers, metrics that most nonprofit boards and executive directors highly value, the available evidence suggests that social media is not very effective.

How do orchestras stack up in this environment? What kind of resources do managers commit and how active are orchestras in social media? Do orchestra managers share the opinion that fundraising and attracting volunteers are highly valuable metrics, or do they have different goals and objectives?

Orchestra survey

There has never been a comprehensive, industry-wide look at if and how orchestras are using social media. In order to get a clear and complete picture of what is happening with orchestras and social media around the country, I sent around a survey to 53 orchestra marketing, communications and web managers in October and November, 2009. I received 15 responses and my gratitude goes out to each of the orchestra managers that responded.

The survey was designed to collect details about the state of social media, ranging from budget size and time allotment to attitudes and goals. It was not meant to single out organizations, or show what is good or what is bad. All responses have been tallied to provide a comprehensive, collective report that aims to aid orchestra managers in years to come.

Blog series

Next week, I will kick off the Orchestras and Social Media Survey 2009 series on my blog by publishing the full report, followed by in-depth posts about the different findings.

I am doing this to provide an opportunity for feedback and discussion. I believe, and even hope, the survey results will raise more questions than answers. I am interested in hearing your thoughts on what it all means and how orchestras can use the results to inform a better, more strategic approach to social media.

So if you have any questions or comments about the survey, don’t hesitate to contact me at dutchperspective (at) mcmvanbree.com, and stay tuned to the blog to join the discussion about the survey next week.

Check back for the full report on Monday. (Full report can be found here)

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