About CASE

Pam Russell
Director of Communications


For Immediate Release
April 16, 2013

New Survey Indicates Educational Institutions are Increasingly Using Social Media to Reach Donors, Alumni and Students

Institutions See Value of Social Media as a Strategic Tool

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Schools, colleges and universities worldwide are increasingly using social media in campaigns to raise funds and steward current and potential donors and to connect more often with current students, prospective students, parents, faculty and staff.

The fourth annual CASE/Huron Education/mStoner social media survey, conducted in February and March of 2013, asked advancement professionals at education institutions about their use of social media.  More than 1,000 respondents provided feedback on the tools they are using, how they use them, challenges they face and what they expect as return on investment.

Facebook continues to be the most popular platform with 96 percent of respondents using it versus 82 percent on Twitter, 75 percent on LinkedIn and 71 percent on YouTube. However, the use of platforms other than Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube has decreased as compared with results from the 2012 survey—blog and Flickr use have both declined by 13 percent. The decrease in use of other platforms is due to an increased focus on strategy and an intentional approach to the investment of resources in new channels.

"Institutions have moved beyond just wanting to have a presence on social media to thinking more strategically about the value of each platform to their institution as part of an overarching strategy," said Cheryl Slover-Linett, a consultant at Huron Education.  "They do, however, recognize the need to act quickly when a new platform, such as Instagram, emerges that will allow them to engage with a specific audience.

Respondents continue to feel stretched in terms of staffing with just 33 percent of institutions having one or more people dedicated to social media. Seventy-two percent, as compared with 61 percent in 2012, believe that a champion is essential to the successful implementation of social media.

There is also an increased interest in quantifying return on investment for time spent on social media and a correlation between robust tracking and perceived success.

"The majority of survey participants believe that measuring return on investment of social media efforts is still a challenge—38 percent  as compared with 33 percent in 2012—but those who believe their social media efforts are effective also reported using robust tracking mechanisms," said Rae Goldsmith, vice president of advancement resources at CASE.

This year's survey delved into the use of social media for fundraising—35 percent of institutions use social media to raise private donations, and among those, 41 percent are using social media for stewardship or donor communication.

"While the number of institutions that use social media for fundraising has increased, only 33 percent have raised more than $10,000 directly through social media," said Michael Stoner, president of mStoner Inc. "Although we hear reports of institutions that have raised substantial amounts by focusing on a fundraising goal and using Facebook and other social channels to spread the word and encourage giving, I also know that many people view social media as a way to engage constituents, not as a fundraising channel. I suspect we'll see both an increase in gifts over time and continuing efforts to focus on the value of social channels for engagement."

Survey participants' indicated the importance of:

  • Engaging alumni and strengthening the institution's brand on the platforms that their audiences use most
  • Looking at social media from a bigger picture perspective
  • Focusing on showing return on investment and success

The detailed results of the survey were presented at the CASE conference on social media and community on Wednesday, April 17. View the top-line findings and the presentation of those findings.

About CASE

CASE believes in advancing education to transform lives and society. As a global nonprofit membership association of educational institutions, CASE helps develop the communities of professional practice that build institutional resilience and success in challenging times. The communities include staff engaged in alumni relations, fundraising, marketing, student recruitment, stakeholder engagement, crisis communications and government relations. CASE is volunteer-led and uses the intellectual capital of senior practitioners to build capacity and capability across the world.

CASE has offices in Washington, D.C., London, Singapore and Mexico City. Member institutions include more than 3,700 colleges and universities, primary and secondary independent and international schools, and nonprofit organizations in 82 countries. CASE serves nearly 88,000 practitioners. For more information about CASE, please visit www.case.org.

About Huron Education

Huron Education is the premier provider serving the unique needs of the higher education industry. Our team of professionals, each with extensive knowledge and experience in the business of higher education and academic medical centers, delivers comprehensive services to the industry and partners with institutions to improve business performance across the enterprise. Our professionals draw from their experience working in the strategic, financial, operational, and regulatory aspects of higher education to develop and implement the most effective consulting and software solutions. Huron Education has helped more than 95 of the nation's top 100 research institutions improve their performance so they can continue their traditions of extraordinary achievement. Learn more at www.huronconsultinggroup.com/highereducation or follow us on Twitter: @Huron.

About mStoner

mStoner, Inc., helps clients to tell their authentic stories by clarifying their unique brand value proposition, creating a content strategy to communicate the brand effectively, and implementing compelling and dynamic communications across the web, mobile, social media, print, and other channels. We focus on research, data, and results. Since 2001, we've worked with more than 300 colleges, universities, and professional schools in the U.S. and abroad. We produce HigherEdLive.com as a free resource for professionals in education. For much more, visit our website.

Contact: Michael Stoner, president; Michael.Stoner@mStoner.com; +1.802.457.2889