However, the precise nature of the relationship between social good and platforms like Facebook and Twitter can often be unclear. Do social media users really absorb the message? Do people use activism on a social platform instead of actually donating money to a charitable cause?
To further understand the relationship between social media and charitable causes, we gathered data through a SurveyMonkey Audience survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults, age 18 or older, who identify themselves as regular social media users.
Here are the most significant findings we observed in the results.
1. A majority of respondents first learn about social good initiatives through social media.
2. Respondents were more willing to donate money to charitable causes than time.
While 26.2% of respondents said they have not invested any time in charitable causes in the past year, only 8.5% of respondents said they have not donated any money to charitable causes in the past year.
3. Above all else, people need to believe in the cause to donate to it.
This may seem obvious, but a whopping 79% of respondents said "Belief in a specific cause" was more important than friend referrals, an excess of money or convenience when it came to deciding to donate.
4. Respondents feel social media is more effective for spreading information about a cause than for raising money for one.
According to the survey data, 66.8% of respondents said they feel social media is "extremely effective" or "very effective" for spreading information about social good initiatives. That number dropped to 53.3% when participants were asked how effective social media is for raising money.
5. LinkedIn users are more charitable than any other network's users with their money...
7. However, people don't view LinkedIn as a valuable resource for social good initiatives.
Even though the numbers suggest LinkedIn users donate more time and money to charitable causes than other network's users, only 0.8% of respondents said they feel LinkedIn is the most effective social network at promoting social good initiatives. Instead, 79% said they feel Facebook is the most effective, with 10% choosing Twitter.
Furthermore, 92% of respondents said they have never engaged in a social good initiative via LinkedIn.
8. Many people enjoy a little social good in their Facebook News Feeds...
In fact, 56.9% of respondents said they follow or "like" charities or nonprofits on Facebook. Of those respondents, 56.1% said they only follow between one and three charitable organizations on Facebook.
9. ...but not on their Twitter timelines.
A surprising 86% of respondents said they don't follow any charities on Twitter.
10. Those who don't follow charities on Facebook say there are too many updates.
The survey showed that 39.4% of respondents who don't "like" any of these organizations on Facebook cited an excess of updates that they're not interested in as their reasoning. Perhaps the News Feed algorithm could use a tweak, or perhaps these respondents were never all that interested in the charitable causes to begin with.