Nonprofit External Communications: General Management, Public Relations, or Fundraising Tool?
Keywords:External Communications, Social Media, Nonprofit Museums
In the nonprofit sector, effective communication with stakeholders is pivotal for promoting a good reputation, gaining financial resources and, eventually, pursuing an organization’s mission. Although nonprofits increasingly use and diversify their communication channels, such as social media platforms, existing research falls short of explaining how nonprofits institutionalize their different communication strategies. Drawing on institutional theory, this study attempts to bridge this research gap by exploring how nonprofits invest in their communication channels, both non-social media and social media communications, using a sample of U.S. nonprofit museums. The results of the study provide empirical evidence that nonprofits do not treat their non-social media and social media communication channels in the same way. In particular, a significant positive association between advertising expenses and social media channels indicates that nonprofit museums institutionalize their social media communication as the main function of public relations. Further theoretical and practical implications of the results are also discussed.
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