GETTING GRANTS: HOW HELPFUL IS SOCIAL MEDIA?

In two previous blogs (below), we looked at the role Twitter and Facebook play in getting private foundation grants. We wrap up this trilogy by first examining the use of social media in getting government grants and then offering some 30,000 feet impressions.

The Feds must have gotten the same memo because they are all on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. We looked at all of the major grant making agencies: Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Resources Services Administration, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, Justice, National Science Foundation, and the list goes on. All 26 agencies had a presence on FB, Twitter, and YouTube. Some even went on to include other media such as RSS Feeds and Flickr. Of the agencies we chose to follow, NIH and NSF were the most common posters, which is not surprising since they tend to be federal agency leaders in most technological applications.

When viewed more broadly, the federal grant making agencies have a much larger social media presence than do the private foundations. The reason is quite simple. The federal agencies have large staffs when compared to private foundations; presently, only 7% of the 93,000 private foundations have a professional staff and therefore are extremely limited in their capacity to maintain a social media presence. Creating social media accounts is easy; the challenge lies in continuing to post useful content.

As a grant writer, it is worthwhile to monitor public and private grant makers for the purpose of “tuning in” to their values because they post messages that are important to them. They post social messages on social media platforms. To date, only limited amounts of grant information is posted on such topics as application guidelines, deadlines, current priorities, grant funding, available grants, types of grants, grant writing tips, and review protocols. You won’t go wrong staying with the traditional information sources, such as those listed in our Grant Writing Tool Box.

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