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Connections to be made?: Social media use by infrastructure organisations supporting the voluntary sector in the West Midlands

Wed, 06/08/2014

Connections to be made?: Social media use by infrastructure organisations supporting the voluntary sector in the West Midlands’[PDF] is the report of an initiative which enables us to examine social media usage by infrastructure organisations supporting the voluntary sector in the West Midlands. This piece of research aims to improve relationships and increase communications amongst participating organisations and between the voluntary and public sectors across the West Midlands.

The report consists of 3 parts: Pt 1 Creating a baseline, Pt 2 Comparative data, Pt 3 Information sources, plus Conclusions and recommendations and 2 Appendices: Baseline Data and LinkedIn groups for charities

The research was conducted between January and July 2014 by Pauline Roche while under contract at RAWM, and was funded by Improvement & Efficiency West Midlands under their ‘New Ideas Fund’.

Research conclusions - highlights

85.7% of respondents think that is very important that West Midlands support and development organisations (e.g. CVSs) use social media in their work

The top 5 most used social media platforms amongst respondents are:

  • Twitter 85%
  • Facebook 83%
  • LinkedIn 66.6%
  • YouTube 64%
  • Google+ 45%

80% of respondents think their use of social media will increase

Research recommendations

  • This survey should be carried out on an annual basis so that the sector has more consistent data and information about who is using social media and how we are using it, and other sources of information
  • A deeper analysis of membership of LinkedIn groups across the region should be carried out to see what impact such membership is having on individuals and groups
  • Social media surgeries should be promoted as a way of getting more people who are connected with VCSOs, including infrastructure organisations, up to speed with digital tools
  • It would be useful to compare attendance at social media surgeries with related involvement by people in infrastructure organisations to measure their effectiveness in this area.
  • The sector should be encouraged to attend and organize more unconferences and gatherings like BrewCamp, BostinCamp, VCSSCamp in order to share knowledge about digital tools and social tech and gain new insights to help their beneficiaries
  • There is a need for more training in the use of digital tools and platforms to help more people who are connected with VCSOs, including infrastructure organisations to overcome any barriers
  • The learning from this survey should be shared with local government colleagues