A study released this month by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth shows that the largest U.S. charities are leaders in social media. The church, which when looking at an entire denomination like The United Methodist Church, could be considered a large charity and therefore has some catching up to do in reaching the masses of its grassroots audience.
Thank you to elainegantzwright for pointing out this study. It appears that the main benefit of charitible use of social media is in fundraising. Researchers Nora Ganim Barnes and Eric Mattson state, “Forty-five percent of those studied report social media is very important to their fundraising strategy.” Even those who do not see social media as important to fundraising still engage in it. Indeed, 89% of those charities surveyed use some form of social media, whether blogs, podcasts, social networks, wikis or others. Could the church get involved as well.
When hurricanes and a tsunami swept across the earth several years ago, The United Methodist Church took notice of the power of engaging people online. Money flowed in record numbers to the United Methodist Committee on Relief. This all occurred without any major coordinated effort. Imagine what could happen if churches and church agencies create a social media strategy.
While it looks like the United Methodist general church agencies are growing their social media work, these lessons need to get passed onto the regional annual conferences and the local churches. We need to train church leaders in how to effectively mobilize their community for the glory of God. How are churches in your area effectively using social media?