Pilot case study: How two nonprofit education foundations use social media to support systemic engagement



nonprofit, social media, engagement, organizational capacity, complexity, systemic


Easily available and widely used, social media tools look like a boon for small, nonprofit organizations that need systemic approaches for disseminating information and cultivating networks for donor and member engagement, especially those relying on a few paid staff and many good-hearted volunteers to do the work. This case study examines the experiences of two nonprofit organizations and the complexities, constraints, and contextual challenges that have made adopting social media practices more difficult and less effective than industry advisers, researchers, and examples suggest. Leaders of these two education foundations describe themselves as caught between the demands of tending key person-to-person relationships and the additional duties associated with cultivating interactive relational networks through social media. The experiences described in this instrumental case study align with themes found across trans-disciplinary research on social media and organizations. These themes are social media, organizational capacity, and the changing concept of engagement

Author Biography

Kendra Rosencrans, Saybrook University

Kendra Rosencrans is a doctoral candidate in Organizational Systems at Saybrook University. Her research interests include systemic thinking, critical media literacy, and unconventional approaches to change, better known as ingenuity.



How to Cite

Rosencrans, K. (2019). Pilot case study: How two nonprofit education foundations use social media to support systemic engagement. Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the ISSS - 2017 Vienna, Austria, 2017(1). Retrieved from https://journals.isss.org/index.php/proceedings61st/article/view/3129



Organisational Transformation and Social Change