Note from Beth: One question that I get asked at almost every workshop is about budget. How much are nonprofit organizations spending on social media? What are the returns? What are the valued metrics? While there have been different surveys on nonprofit adoption, for example, these two recent studies I profiled last month, I wish there was a benchmarking study. I mentioned this on Twitter. Marc Van Bree responded that he had some answers from a survey he was doing with orchestras. I invited him to write a guest post summarizing the findings.
I undertook this research to understand some questions about social media and orchestras. 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?
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.
The survey was designed to collect details about the state of social media, ranging from budget size and time allotment to attitudes and goals. I received 15 responses.
In short, social media activities, familiarity and usage seem to be widespread among orchestras. Managers find social media important and organizations are generally enthusiastic. However, the efforts are far from organized and strategic. It seems many orchestras are dipping their feet in the social media pool, but do not have the policies, budgets, and metrics in place to effectively use the tools at their disposal, even if they do recognize the need for checks and balances.
The full report can already be downloaded here. This week, I will kick off the Orchestras and Social Media Survey 2009 series on my blog. I am doing this to provide the opportunity for feedback and discussion. I believe, and I hope, the survey results will raise more questions than answers. I am interested in hearing your thoughts on what it all means and how we can use the results to inform a better, more strategic approach to social media.
Dutch native Marc van Bree is a public relations practitioner in Chicago with more than 5 years of experience communicating—on and offline—in the nonprofit environment. Find him on Twitter @mcmvanbree