Revenue Sources and Social Media Engagement Among Environmentally Focused Nonprofits


  • John R. McCaskill University of Texas at Dallas
  • James R. Harrington University of Texas at Dallas



Nonprofit Management, Social Media, Resource Dependency Theory


This study examines social media efforts among environmentally focused nonprofits. A survey of environmentally focused nonprofits revealed that more than half of these organizations receive government funding. Prior research demonstrates social media is an efficient medium in which to simultaneously communicate with multiple stakeholders. However, stakeholder engagement is likely tied with the need to raise funds. From that basis, we discuss social media use among nonprofits and develop hypotheses about differences in social media use among organizations receiving government funds and those not receiving government funds. Our hypotheses are rooted in resource dependency theory (RDT) and dialogic communication theory (DCT). We test our hypotheses on data from environmentally focused nonprofits by comparing the levels of social media engagement with varying levels of their total funding provided by government grants to determine if there is a correlation with the level of public engagement via social media. We find the level of engagement on the social media site Facebook is lower for government-funded environmental nonprofits than privately funded ones. The findings of reduced social media engagement and the dependence upon government funding versus private funding supports the precepts of resource dependency theory.






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