Newsbits – November 2012 Not-For-Profit Newsletter

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Quantifying the cost and benefits of social media fans

Having people "like" you on popular social media sites may cost more than you think and is worth tracking. The fourth annual Nonprofit Social Network Benchmark Report found that the average cost of a "like" on Facebook was $3.50, while the average cost of a Twitter "follower" was $2.05. The report surveyed more than 3,500 nonprofit professionals about their organization's use of social media to build their supporter base.

Don't let the costs scare you off, though. The survey also found that the average yearlong value of a supporter acquired via Facebook — that is, the amount of revenue received from a supporter over the 12 months following acquisition — was almost $215. It's no surprise, then, that 81% of the respondents deemed their social network communities as somewhat or very valuable. 

Accounting body explores nonprofit financial reporting

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is conducting two projects directly related to nonprofits. The "Not-for-Profit Financial Reporting: Financial Statements" project is re-examining existing accounting standards for organizations' financial statements, with a focus on improving 1) net asset classification requirements, and 2) the information provided in financial statements and notes about liquidity, financial performance and cash flows. FASB will likely propose a revised standard and request feedback in the future.

FASB also is conducting a research project called "Not-for-Profit Financial Reporting: Other Financial Communications." That project is looking at other types of communications nonprofits use to tell their financial stories. FASB's staff, for example, is reviewing existing best practices followed by organizations to determine how such communications may enhance the understanding of donors, creditors and other stakeholders of the organizations' financial health and performance. 

Does dual-channel fundraising pay?

A study of donors to the national humanitarian organization CARE suggests that engaging donors through both online and offline approaches can pay off for nonprofits. According to the study, dual-channel donors (those who give both online and offline) have the highest annual donor value, returning about 46% more value than donors giving only through direct mail.

The study also found that dual-channel donors gave almost as much through offline channels as offline-only donors ($74 vs. $85). This led the researchers to conclude that adding digital channels of donation doesn't materially cannibalize revenue from direct mail. Moreover, traditional offline direct response donors who were engaged through online communications demonstrated higher retention rates than offline donors not engaged online. 

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