Effective social media engagement for nonprofits: What matters?

Julia L. Carboni, Sarah P. Maxwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


We employ public management relationship theory to examine how nonprofits can effectively engage social media stakeholders in two-way communication. Though many nonprofit organizations have a social media presence, there is variance in how well organizations use social media to engage stakeholders. Simply having a social media presence is not enough to engage stakeholders. We examine Facebook posts of a stratified random sample of youth development organizations to determine what predicts stakeholder engagement. We find the type of Facebook post is a significant predictor of stakeholder engagement. Longer posts also significantly predict increased stakeholder engagement. At the organizational level, having many posts is a significant negative predictor of stakeholder engagement, indicating that users may feel bombarded and are less likely to engage. Increased organizational spending on advertising as a proportion of total budget is positively associated with stakeholder engagement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-28
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Public and Nonprofit Affairs
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Nonprofit communications
  • Public management relationship theory
  • Social media
  • Stakeholder engagement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Public Administration
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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