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Nonprofits Can Increase Trust through Social Media

Trust Barometer Nonprofit Highlights

Edelman, the world’s largest public relations firm, conducted its 14th annual exploration of trust: The Trust Barometer.  After surveying 33,000 individuals from around the world, the results are astounding, and provide beneficial information for all industries. Following is a tip-of-the-iceberg examination of how organizations, especially nonprofits, can use this information to build stronger trust through social media.

The findings reveal the largest gap of trust in government and business since the study began. For the seventh year in a row, however, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) remained the most trusted institutions. The in-depth study also reveals 84% of respondents want to see businesses pursue self-interests while doing good work for society. Another interesting finding, perhaps the most underutilized voice in social media, is that employees are considered the most trusted source across various topics of engagement, integrity, products and services, purpose and operations.

The public has overwhelmingly revealed some interesting facts regarding trust. Trust in business and government is down. Trust in nonprofits or NGOs remains high. People trust businesses that are involved in social welfare. The most trusted source of information comes from employees, not the CEO, who speak on behalf of their companies. Meeting these needs can be done (in part) through social media. While the study covers many other topics, an important revelation can be concluded: organizations that practice local and global goodwill should encourage employees to communicate this information and to serve as an overall company representative. And, they can do this with nearly no expense through social media.

On May 6, nearly 400 nonprofits in Sacramento will take part in the Big Day of Giving. Given the information within the Trust Barometer, nonprofits are already seen as a trustworthy entities. Though Sacramento has many needs, it also has many dedicated nonprofits working to alleviate these needs. Imagine if employees of these great nonprofits used their personal as well as their organizations’ social networks to share stories of how they find motivation for the work they do, of how they use their skills (often for lower-pay) to help others, or of how those they serve achieve their goals (maintaining necessary confidentiality of course).

Every organization should have a social media policy. Depending on the specific conditions, nonprofits would do well to encourage employees to share work-related posts on their personal networks and/or write posts that the organization can share through its networks, blog or website. The Employee’s name, title and photo can be incorporated as well. As others like, repost, retweet, re-pin and re-share the information, nonprofits stand to benefit.

If you love your job, believe in its products or services, respect the leadership, and feel honored to have the co-workers you do, then share it and continue to build trust for your organization – especially if you work for a nonprofit.

Big Day of Giving on May 6
Big Day of Giving on May 6

About the author

April Mae Saenz Johnson

On a daily basis, I see animals from all over the world in one special place: the Sacramento Zoo. I am happy to share inside info, fun facts and photographs of the zoo's animals, staff and events.

In my personal life, I enjoy the sleepy, gross and amazing moments of motherhood, time with my husband and our labradoodle, with a bit of traveling, yoga and volunteering on the Leadership Team for Social Media Club Sacramento.

I am embarking on a new adventure as co-founder of Aging UP, a nonprofit empowering youth with experience in foster care to successfully transition into adulthood.

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