Women are more passionate than men about getting involved in nonprofit causes and paying attention to them through social-media sites, while men tend to view supporting causes through social media as a fad, according to a study released last week.
The study, which analyzed responses to an online survey completed by 2,000 Americans, was prepared by Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communication and paid for by Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide.
More than four in ten Americans get involved with groups working on social and political causes.
While both men and women put “feeding the hungry” and “supporting our troops” as top causes, they differ on what else they consider important. Women prefer supporting youth-related causes like bullying and childhood obesity, while men are more compelled to support the Tea Party movement and global-warming groups, the study found.
When asked how charities can attract more supporters, women were more likely than men to suggest enlisting someone famous to support a cause, designating a particular month to promote a cause, or maintaining a presence on social networks.
Women were more likely to say they got involved in a cause by donating clothing and other personal items as well as volunteering their time. They are also more likely to respond to online promotions from social-networking sites by taking actions such as joining a cause group on Facebook or posting a charity’s logo on their personal profile online.
But both genders agree: Nearly three-quarters of both men and women complain that e-mails about charitable and political causes seem like spam, and they get too many of them. They also say that clicking “like” for a cause on Facebook doesn’t really mean anything and contributes to “cause fatigue” brought on by the rampant use of social media.
So, how does a charity cut through the clutter?
“They should definitely have an audience in mind,” says Denise Keyes, executive director of Georgetown’s Center for Social Impact Communication. “Certainly with social media, you have the opportunity to customize your message. Be sure to be strategic and not just bombard people. Getting someone to like you is not the same as building a relationship with them.”