To Tweet or Not to Tweet, and are Blogs Worth the Slog?

Rockefeller Foundation, Vietnam, flood risk, children
Using Positive Visual Storytelling for Fundraising: The Science Behind Personalising a Cause
19th May, 2017

To Tweet or Not to Tweet, and are Blogs Worth the Slog?

international development, NGOs, online technology, social media

New research examines how NGOs use online technology to further their causes.


Non-profit Communications Managers, prick up your ears! Digital Content Editors, sit up and take note! A very useful analysis of the digital trends shaping the way we represent our organisations online is now out. Hailed as ‘groundbreaking’ by the research team at Nonprofit Tech for Good, the 2017 Global NGO Online Technology Report claims to be “the only annual research project dedicated to studying how NGOs worldwide use web and e-mail communications, online and mobile fundraising tools, and social and mobile media”. To save you some time, we’ve put together an overview of its key findings.

international development, NGOs, online technology, social media
Some visual insights from the section of the report that deals with international development.
This annually collated research seeks to better understand how organisations are engaging their supporters and donors through online mediums. To produce this year’s insightful report, 4,908 NGOs were surveyed across 153 countries. Sponsored by the Public Interest Registry, the body responsible for managing .org domains (which also launched .ngo website URLs in 2015), the findings shed light on the ways in which our rapidly changing digital landscape inform the priorities of humanitarian communications professionals around the world.

Here are a few noteworthy points for those of you who’re too busy to read the full report:


While 92% of NGOs globally have websites, only 32% regularly publish a blog. This is surprising when we consider that Google uses the posting of regular, relevant, fresh content as a key factor in its search engine rankings. Clearly, NGOs are finding other ways to rise up the Internet rankings.
Despite the prevalence of social media, 71% of NGOs surveyed still rely on e-mail to update their supporters and donors on news, events, etc. and only 32% have a specific, written social media strategy.
When it comes to using social media to communicate, 92% of NGOs worldwide have a Facebook page, but only 39% have an Instagram account.
If you’re looking for a comparative benchmark for Twitter followers, small NGOs were found to have an average of 3,755 followers, while medium organisations have 12,815. As for the big fish, they are tweeting to an average of 80,371 people!
Only 55% of NGOs have a YouTube channel. This is surprising, given that video is predicted to generate up to 82% of all web traffic this year. But there are, of course, other means to embed and share videos. We particularly like Vimeo.
Although Africa has the lowest percentage of NGOs with websites (74%), it does boast the highest percentage of mobile-compatible sites (85%).
Now have a glimpse at the infographic below to see for yourself which online platforms are most effective for fundraising, and how social media is currently boosting supporter engagement. If you’re in Asia Pacific, India, Australia or Nigeria, you might also like to look at these regional infographics for geography-specific findings.
NGO, online technology, social media, fundraising, communications, infographic
While most NGO communications teams and senior managers agree that engaging supporters though social media is a priority for fundraising and campaigning purposes, it seems that there’s still a need for upskilling in order to truly get the most out of it. Continued evidence-based research, like this report provides, is key to persuading senior non-profit executives that digital communications should be budgeted for, invested in and planned strategically.

For those of us interested in the visual side of communications, this report is a reminder that whether through e-mail or social media blasts, engaging stakeholders is vital for NGOs in terms of fundraising, building awareness, engaging voluntary support and creating social change. What better way to do this than through photography, animation and video? You can learn more on this with these seven reasons why non-profits need to harness the power of visual storytelling.

Like Nonprofit Tech for Good, we’re big fans of using infographics for helping audiences get to grips with big data quickly and painlessly. If you head to our Design Portfolio, you’ll see that our creative associates are highly skilled in this medium. Do get in touch with us to see how we can help you make your own data easier (and more fun!) to digest.