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Comparing surveys dating back to 2009, NTEN identified trends of nonprofits and their use of social networking over the years, gleaned from the Nonprofit Social Networking Surveys:
1. Commercial social network use by respondents has passed well into mainstream adoption leaving a small percentage of late mainstream and laggards to join.
2. Facebook popularity among respondents is at saturation levels, while average community size continues to grow.
3. Twitter adoption still growing along with average follower base size.
4. LinkedIn popularity is relatively low (compared to Facebook and Twitter) but 2011 saw a sizeable jump in adoption of this channel.
5. FourSquare is still a small, niche player.
6. MySpace continues to shed users, is used very little by respondents, and last year’s reinvention as a social music sharing site has yet to exert any positive influence to reverse this death spiral.
7. Nonprofit commercial social network investments are still largely justified on programmatic impact (soft ROI), with just a small number of respondents justifying resource allocation based on revenue returned (hard ROI).
8. Facebook fundraising success is still enjoyed by just a few.
9. Nonprofit respondents are still optimistic about commercial social networks.
10. Commercial social network related staffing and budgets are slowly inching up.
11. Communications and marketing departments own commercial networks for the majority of respondents, not fundraising nor IT.
12. Many mature commercial social networking communities continue to grow, while an increasingly number are just getting started.