Half of Latinos Say Social Media Effective for Promoting Causes


Raising money for causes through social media hasn’t caught on the way some had predicted, according to a newly released study from Georgetown University, which found that most people are still more likely to donate when approached offline.
Conducted by the Center for Social Impact Communication (CSIC) at the university’s School of Continuing Studies (SCS) in partnership with Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, the study explored whether online tools such as Twitter and Facebook have changed the way Americans engage in causes and issues they care about.
According to a Fox News Latino article,  “About half (51 percent) of Latino respondents said they believe they can help get the word out about a cause through social networks, versus 58 percent of African Americans and 34 percent of Caucasians. They also believe that social networking makes it easier to support causes and increase their visibility. Twenty-seven percent of Latinos (versus 31 percent of African-Americans and 21 percent of Caucasians) cite social media and blogs as a main source of information for learning about causes.”
The article also asked how much that support is worth. how much is that online support worth? “Perhaps not much, according to the survey respondents themselves. A full 57 percent of Latinos believed that “Everybody ‘likes’ causes on Facebook, it doesn’t really mean anything.” And 69 percent said emails about causes sometimes feel like spam. Yet nearly 39 percent of Latinos said they were more likely to support a cause online than off (that’s in contrast to 30 percent of African Americans and 24 percent of Caucasians).”
The study surveyed 2,000 Americans ages 18 and up. Its key findings were broken down by gender, ethnicity and age. The research showed that women are more likely than men to engage with causes via social media, as were African Americans and Hispanics as opposed to whites. As expected, younger populations use social media tools to engage in causes more than older populations.
“Going into the study, the hypothesis was that the digital revolution had perhaps changed things,” said Julie Dixon, deputy director of CSIC, in a Georgetown press release. “But what we found in the study is that it really hasn’t changed things yet – it’s still in process but it hasn’t been fully realized.”
The findings showed that while 18 percent of Americans indicated their first involvement with a cause was through social media, 64 percent of Americans first donate their time or money offline.
“This was illuminating to us,” says Denise Keyes, associate dean of SCS’s Public Relations and Corporate Communications program, who worked on the study. “We focus a lot in our program on the role of strategy. That’s particularly relevant when one is considering how to use social media.”
Keyes says social media is only as good as the strategy that drives it, and it has to be part of an integrated communications plan that also uses traditional strategies that work. “Everybody wants to use it, but they don’t always use it effectively to advance their mission,” says Keyes. “That requires more thinking and planning, and that’s what our students know how to do.”