Do institutional donors value social media activity and engagement? Empirical evidence on Italian non-profit grantees

Anna Alexander, Silvia Pilonato, Giulia Redigolo

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Abstract

The paper examines whether social media activity and engagement of non-profit organizations affect the financial support received from institutional donors and their relationship with the latter. Data are collected using a survey of non-profit grantees that received at least one grant from a Foundation of Banking Origin (FBO) in the Italian context, and are supplemented with social media (i.e., Facebook and Twitter) data on grantees. The results show that grantees with higher social media activity and engagement receive a larger amount of funding from the FBO. Moreover, grantees that report higher social media engagement are subject to less constraining oversight by the FBO. In additional analyses, we find that the beneficial effect of social media activity is driven by accountability-related content consistent with social media allowing for a more informal and dialogic accountability. Overall, our results provide novel evidence on the role of online sources of information, such as social media, on the grantor-grantee relationship and contribute to the recent debate on the importance of promoting digital transformation and stakeholder engagement in non-profits.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101169
Number of pages23
JournalBritish Accounting Review
Volume55
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Foundations of banking origin
  • Grantees
  • Institutional donors
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Social media engagement

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