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