Global Nonprofit Non-governmental Organization 

Case Study: Social Business Strategy for Global Nonprofit Non-governmental Organization

Experiential Social Media Nonprofit Case Study for a global NGO shares insights and results of CSRA’s social business strategy and analysis, which considered community service and volunteering in ten operating regions worldwide.


Global Nonprofit Non-governmental Organization was founded in the 20th century and has operations in over 200 countries. Its chapters/clubs have members and volunteers who plan and perform service projects in local communities.

Business Challenges

Management perceived that its traditional service club model was under threat in the digital age in which people were shifting their methods of communicating and collaborating. The client also relied heavily on volunteers and members to operationalize its mission, and they saw a schism in their membership: long-time members skewed older and weren’t comfortable with interacting online while new, younger members eschewed face-to-face meetings and wanted to collaborate online. Thirdly, many of its clubs/chapters had websites and social media accounts that exhibited no standards and didn’t present a unified image; members who ran these sites/accounts had varying levels of social media knowledge.


CSRA served as subject matter expert and engagement leader, using its Social Network Roadmap(SM) methodology for experiential social media and social business strategy.


This engagement unfolded in two phases: first, the Ecosystem Audit conducted ethnographic research of the external need for the client’s social media. Then, the Organization Audit analyzed the client organization’s strengths and weaknesses for meeting the external need, and it synthesized the client’s unique approach for fulfilling the market need through suggesting several pilots.

Phase1 Summary [Ecosystem Audit]

  • The Stakeholder Analysis defined and analyzed five stakeholder types: millennial volunteers, volunteer families, global volunteering, cause-focused volunteering, and volunteer coordinators. Conducted ethnographic research of stakeholders’ (SH) group social media activity, curated hundreds of links, and sized these volunteer groups relative to each other. Discovered each SH’s various motivations for volunteering, and under what conditions. Collated quantitative data on each SH.
  • The Workstream Analysis followed an analogous process for SH journeys (WSs). Analyzed the shift from static, sustained volunteering to episodic volunteering. Conducted ethnographic research of social media; subsegmented volunteer journeys, sized SH interest in each segment, curated hundreds of links.
  • Venue Analysis used synthesized search tools to analyze the most relevant platforms/sites (“venues”) in which to engage SHs. Ranked venues quantitatively, using SNR Analytics.
  • Brand Analysis compared the client’s website and social media presences to competitors’ and substitutes’—from the perspective of a prospective volunteer in the early part of her workstream in which she’s exploring volunteer opportunities.
  • Opportunity Analysis revealed the clients ecosystem map and unique opportunities to engage SHs in their preferred social venues on issues where they could outperform competitors and substitutes.
  • International Analysis compared volunteer conversations around the world by conducting ethnographic research on select SHs and WSs. Assessed commonalities and differences in order to test the viability of a global approach, and produced quantitative and qualitative findings.

Phase2 Summary [Organization Audit]

Where Phase1 had emphasized social media content and light interaction, Phase2 reversed the balance to emphasize interaction. In a sense, Phase1 served as a control for the Phase2 experiential social media case study.

  • Core Competency Analysis mapped a unique mix of the client’s core competencies to SH and WS volunteering topics, revealing the topics to which they could add the most distinct value.
  • SH Issues & Actions delved deeper into SH motivations and journeys with an online survey and telephone interviews, which added depth and breadth to our understanding of their motivations, hopes and frustrations about volunteering and managing volunteers in clubs/chapters.
  • Trial Pilot Scenarios defined several concepts for experiential pilots to engage SHs around optimal volunteering topics.
  • Good Practices Analysis sourced and analyzed competitor volunteering initiatives, so we could learn from them and assess market validation for Trial Pilot Scenarios.
  • Resource Analysis assessed the client’s resources for each Trial Pilot Scenario; quantitatively ranked the client’s ability to conduct experiential based on their ability to execute.
  • Organization Analysis assessed the impact of the client’s pre-existing programs and communications on Trial Pilot Scenarios; identified conflicts and synergies.
  • The Social Business Strategy synthesized all analyses and presented several experiential pilots to operationalize the strategy. Quantitatively ranked the pilots, and recommended optimal sequencing and timeline.
  • International Organization Analysis surveyed members worldwide, discovering the relative importance of SH types (donor, volunteer), types of volunteer projects, communication methods, social media adoption and SH workstreams/journeys in ten operating regions globally.


  • Before engaging CSRA, the client was floating in a sea of uncertainty: it had a boatload of magazines, newsletters, and social media accounts, but little idea of their effectiveness in attracting volunteers, volunteer coordinators and donors. Traditional measures didn’t measure social media, and management perceived social was getting increasingly influential—fast.
  • The Social Business Strategy gave management the confidence to pursue an aggressive strategy in North America while understanding its additional impact in other global regions.
  • The quantitative ranking of the pilots helped management understand what pilots to prioritize, and CSRA sequenced pilots to maximize agile experiential learning so that it scaled over time.
  • The client gained extensive actionable insight on millennial volunteering, and the links to live conversations enabled them to engage directly with prospective volunteers, members and donors—unlike traditional market research.
  • The international analyses enabled the client to understand social media’s relative importance to engaging volunteers and members in North America, South America, Asia, Africa, and Europe. They pinpointed opportunities to share good practices globally.

See Also

  • Pilot1 tbd.
  • Using experiential social media for cause-focused organizations: see the nonprofit-ngo category.

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