Findings Friday | Demographics of Social Media Users are Changing Drastically

Social media has the reputation for being skewed largely toward teens and young adults, but new data show middle-aged and senior citizens are now logging on in record numbers.  

According to new research from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, 72% of adults (ages 18+) with internet access use social networking sites. That’s a 900% increase from 2005, when sites like Facebook and YouTube were just becoming popular among college-age individuals.

This chart clearly indicates the rapidly growing usage rates of not only young adults, but of older adults as well. Currently, 60% of internet users ages 50-64 and 43% of internet users over the age of 65 are using social media networking sites.

So, the question is: What is your organization doing to leverage this data?

In The Next Generation of American Giving, Blackbaud researchers emphasize the importance of using social media. “[P]eople are not donating on social networks… in significant numbers. On the other hand, there is growing evidence that social media plays an important stewardship role.” In other words, social media can be an effective conduit in which to capture and grow engaged donors.

With telemarketing and direct mail fundraising techniques on the decline, and more and more people engaging online, nonprofits need to keep up.

For tools and guidance for designing and implementing a social media strategy, check out these helpful resources: Georgetown University School for Social Impact Communication’s blog and research, Beth’s Blog, Network for Good’s NonProfit Marketing Blog, Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog, Socialbrite, and the Nonprofit Facebook Guy (John Haydon) to name a few.

Also, use this infographic from mycleveragency to create perfect Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ posts.


Tommy Pearce is Communications Coordinator at the Georgia Center for Nonprofits.

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