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A Look at Large Charities on Social Media

The Internet entrepreneur and philanthropist Craig Newmark has taken a look at how some of the nation’s largest charities are using social media to connect with their supporters.

Mr. Newmark, founder of Craigslist and author of Craigconnects, a blog about nonprofit work, examined large organizations’ social-media habits and followers in August and September. (For more background about how big charities use social media to raise money, see this survey from The Chronicle.)

Among his findings:

• About 92 percent of charities included a link to their organization’s Facebook page on their Web sites. Another 90 percent of groups featured links to their Twitter feeds.

• The YMCA, the group with the highest revenue included in the study, posted to Facebook infrequently, 19 times in two months. Nonetheless, the organization has more than 24,000 Facebook fans.

• The Public Broadcasting Service had the most Twitter followers, Facebook fans, and Facebook comments of groups in the survey.

• The American Red Cross was the first large charity to join Twitter, and it has accumulated more then 530,000 followers since it took that action in 2007. The latest to join—Father Flanagan’s Boys’ Home, which started in December 2010—has 134 followers. That’s not to say there’s a correlation between early adoption and followers, though. Operation Blessing International Relief, which joined in October 2007, has about 2,300 followers.

Following is a graphic Mr. Newmark posted on his Facebook page to show the results of the study.

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