Nonprofit Organizations & Social Media

Social media has been around for longer than we think, but the internet and evolution of technology has changed the definition over time. While all media is constantly changing and developing, there seems to be a gray area with nonprofit organizations and how they should utilize media, specifically social media, and when it’s appropriate to use various methods to further their organization.


Photo Courtesy of Google Images

According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics there are over 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in the United States and about 97% of them use social media. New media brings several platforms for various nonprofit organizations to create awareness and try new things. Since 85% of Americans get their information from online sources, social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube can be instrumental tools in building awareness, sharing success stories, and learning what they can do better. New media allows two-way communication that not only helps non-profits to build a base of donors and clients, but it also allows them to receive feedback from both to better their organization, in an effort to meet the needs of those they are trying to help.

It’s clear that larger nonprofits use online media very effectively. For example, the Invisible Children campaign was widely publicized not only on several college campuses but worldwide. However,  social media is becoming most important for smaller, local nonprofit organizations to not only create awareness, but to reach out to those in need, but it seems that small, local nonprofit organizations use these platforms sparingly.

The WV Family Grief Center , a local nonprofit based in Morgantown, uses social media and the internet sparingly to help further their organization. I had no idea this organization even existed until I had to work on a PR Campaign for them for an undergraduate class. They wanted a campaign that would create awareness, but lacked the help and experience to be able to maintain a well-run website and other social media pages.

In the future, I’m looking to examine whether time and experience is a common problem for other local nonprofit organizations. I’m interested in discovering how local nonprofit organizations can adapt social media practices of larger nonprofits on a smaller scale. Regardless, nonprofits must begin adapting quickly if they intend to reach the masses.


Hello World

My name is Whitney Godwin, and I’m a 23 year old journalism student at the P.I. Reed School of Journalism at West Virginia University. I’m currently in the second year of my Masters Program pursuing an MSJ. I graduated with a BSJ with an emphasis in Television Journalism from the School of Journalism here at WVU in 2011. Upon graduation I am  interested pursuing a career in television production and online media.

DSC_0579   My goal has always been to help others, so I wish to  take my journalism background in video and online media and apply it to the benefit of nonprofit organizations, specifically Christian organizations. I was raised in church since birth, and I still continue to actively pursue my faith in Jesus today. I attend Crossroads Church here in Morgantown, and actively participate in CRU , a campus ministry, and community group and Bible Study weekly. My blog will focus on how nonprofit organizations can use and tailor social media and online media practices to further their missions, goals, and organization.

Despite a busy schedule, I do a lot of freelance video production for various organizations. Some of my favorite videos have been those for nonprofit organizations in an effort to share their mission and create awareness. My favorite PSA I’ve worked on was a video for the “R-Word” Project. The video features a collection of WVU students, athletes, faculty, and coaches requesting we stop the use of the word “retard” in every day speech.154300_472037076182159_1903998678_n

I currently work as a the Television Graduate Assistant at the P.I. Reed School of Journalism. I love to twirl baton, and I serve as one of four feature twirlers here with the Pride of West Virginia, the Mountaineer Marching Band. I’ve been twirling competitively since age 3, and in my free time, I teach baton to little girls aspiring to be college and competitive twirlers. I love being busy and working hard. I’m excited to see where life takes me.