For Fundraising Europe this month, Ipek Aykut, communications officer at France générosités, shares insights into the performance of popular social media channels for nonprofits across Europe and specifically associations and foundations in France, along with how they are being used.
An essential part of our daily lives, social networks also provide associations and foundations with the means to engage their communities, increase their visibility and raise awareness of their social missions.
Social media channel use among nonprofits in Europe
Data from the 2023 Nonprofit Tech for Good Report, which covers nonprofits in 116 countries worldwide, shows that 87% of nonprofits now use social media in their digital marketing and fundraising strategies, and that 47% increased their spend on social media advertising in 2021 and 2022.
This study shows that Facebook is the most popular globally, used by 96% of nonprofits, while 73% use Instagram, 59% Twitter, 49% LinkedIn Pages, and 44% YouTube. Lower down, 16% use WhatsApp, 6% TikTok, 1% Snapchat and 1% Twitch. An earlier report from the same organisation, and with European-specific findings on social media advertising, showed that 63% of European nonprofits in 2021 were spending here, with half of these increasing their spend in that year. Facebook Pages and Instagram were the most popular social media channels for posting ads, followed by LinkedIn and Twitter.
These findings are backed up by EFA’s Nonprofit Pulse 2022 study, which showed that across Europe, use of social media channels has remained fairly steady. 73% of those surveyed said they used them to engage people (slightly down on 2021’s 76%) while use of social media for advertising rose by around a third – from 30% to 42% of respondents.
To find out how associations and foundations in France are using these channels, at France générosités, we have analyzed the presence and data of 53 of our member organisations across seven of them, presenting the findings in our 2023 social media report.
Here we share some of the data, providing insights into a number of areas including community size, ranking by activity, annual growth, and NGOs’ market penetration rates.
Evolution of NGOs on social media in France
Facebook remains the leading network in France in terms of overall users with 48 million. It’s also the leading network for NGOs, with 11.2 million followers to our 53 organizations’ pages – an average of almost 81,000 each, and a market penetration rate of 23% (the percentage of all people on the channel who follow an association or foundation). However, despite this high number, growth among our member organizations is weak (just 2% in 2023) and is beginning to slow down. The question we are asking then, is whether we have reached the glass ceiling for associations and foundations on Facebook.
However, this is not the case for LinkedIn, which is taking off! This social media channel has showed the most growth among NGOs, with a 36% increase in followers in 2023. Overall, our 53 members have 2.5mn followers on LinkedIn – an average of just over 39,500 each, with this channel followed in popularity by TikTok and Instagram. Furthermore, we also have noticed strong growth in the number of international solidarity organizations on the network, with a significant gap between them and other causes, largely due to the war in Ukraine.
Over on Instagram, it’s animal and environmental causes that stand out, thanks to content related to these causes being easily “Instagrammable”. However, lagging sector investment in this channel due to the emergence of new networks dominated by video such as TikTok and Twitch means the growth of NGO communities on this channel is slowing down (+13 % in 2023). While the NGOs present on Twitch so far remain very rare in France, we have seen a slight increase in the number of organizations opening TikTok accounts, resulting in one of the highest growth rates at +36 % in 2023. We expect to see more organizations testing out TikTok, considering that it presents a real opportunity for greater visibility and reaching new audiences.
NGOs also have a long way to go on YouTube, a channel they do not invest in as much (due to HR or investment difficulties, as well as specific formats required by the platform). Here, the market penetration rate is one of the lowest at 1.4%.
Finally, Twitter has shown a certain instability over the past few years, and we can only predict more of this to come in future. We have already seen the impact on NGOs’ accounts with the overall growth of associations on this channel slowing down despite a very good market penetration rate of 23%. While our member organizations reached 4.3 million followers in 2023, this was an increase of just 1%, and the lowest since we started our study.
Two examples of how NGOs are using social media channels
A French example:
The Fondation de France released a 45-second animated film across all of their social media platforms (Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook) called “We can’t act on one cause without acting on all”. This video shows that all the causes are linked, and that we need to act on each of them to achieve a real result. Furthermore, this animation perfectly illustrates the multiple causes that the foundation is working on. Along with this strong message, the scenes illustrating the causes are very well chosen and the link created between the causes is logical and relevant. The illustrations and colours are very soft and allow us to really understand the characters’ emotions.
An international example:
“The Color of Water” was a project created by charity : water in collaboration with Unsplash, a copyright free photo sharing platform in 2022. Their goal with this project was to raise awareness about the lack of access to clean, safe drinking water in too many countries by showing the real colour of water that people have to drink today, through the colour palette of unsafe water (brown, green, red, grey and yellow) using the Unsplash community. People were invited to submit their most striking yellow, red, brown, green, or grey images (of any subject matter) with the top images from each colour featured online and across both Unsplash and charity: water’s social channels. An original and highly visual way of denouncing the global water crisis, which allowed the cause to take a step away from its usual visual universe.
About Ipek Aykut
After multiple communication and marketing experiences in nonprofit organizations and as a Master’s degree student in strategic communication of organizations specialising in corporate, political and digital communication, Ipek Aykut currently works as a communications officer for France générosités, a professional union for fundraising organizations. She’s in charge of promoting generosity through the information platform Infodon.fr and strategic digital communication including peer-to-peer networks.
Main picture by Tracy Le Blanc on Pexels
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