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(In the video, Frank Ovaitt invites PR scholars to share useful, practical findings with the IPR audience.)

This year’s IPRRC included exciting studies. Since it is safe to mention conference findings without disqualifying anyone from having their studies considered in an academic journal, I’d like to highlight one of the many presentations I am thinking about from IPRRC.

We know from Tina McCorkindale, Marcia DiStaso and Hilary Fussell-Sisco’s research that a “like” on an organization’s Facebook fan page doesn’t equal engagement.

Considering Groundswell’s social technographics, we know that even spectators can be engaged (i.e., people who do not “like” or comment).

So how do we measure engagement in a way that includes spectators and excludes people who might click “like” but do not have a real connection with the organization?

Minjeong Kang offers an answer with her public engagement scale, which has three components (alpha=.91).

1. Affective commitment (alpha=.89)

  • Feel emotionally attached
  • Feel like part of the family
  • Feel a strong sense of belonging

2. Positive affectivity (alpha=.89)

  • Interested
  • Attentive
  • Excited
  • Enthusiastic
  • Proud

3. Empowerment (alpha=.89)

  • Can make differences
  • Determined to develop the organization
  • Have a control over the organization’s decision making
  • Confident about the ability to improve the organization
  • Collaborate with the organization

There were many other great studies! You can see highlights from a handful of them, thanks to Constantin Basturea, who has aggregated highlights from the #IPRRC Twitter feed.

Also, you might enjoy reading my highlights from IPRRC two years ago.

IPRRC attendees, what was one of the studies that interested you at the conference?

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Windy is seeking a job with a nonprofit organization in the Portland, Ore., area where she can share her skills and passion for development and public relations. She can be reached at  linkedin.com/in/windyhovey.

She is knowledgeable about nonprofit development and social media, she is strategic, she is an excellent writer, and she has an incredible work ethic. I strongly recommend her without reservation.

By Windy Hovey

A thesis. You spend so much time planning for it, nurturing it, and making it the best it can be. When you finally set it loose in the world, you hope that all your effort and sleepless nights will provide valuable information for both scholars and practitioners. It was also  my wish that the crowning achievement of my two years in graduate school would arm me with knowledge I could apply in a nonprofit development and communications position.

Over the past three decades, scholars have built theories about how an organization can manage relationships with its publics. My study adds to this body of scholarly work by providing insight into strategies an organization uses to build relationships with its publics and outcomes for those relationships. It examines social media in the rich context of a nonprofit dance center with unique strengths and challenges in its community. Fortunately, the director and volunteers were willing to share their use of and opinions about the organization’s social media sites. By the final chapter, my academic research demonstrates a practical way for nonprofit managers to assess ROI of social media. It also presents both good and bad aspects of using social media that might surprise nonprofit managers:

  • How can an organization’s volunteers on Facebook help nonprofit managers who are limited on time and resources?
  • How might using Flickr jeopardize the outcome of an organization’s relationship with its publics?
  • What are some barriers to two-way dialog on an organization’s blog or Facebook page?
  • What roles can social media play in an organization’s strategy to be a good neighbor and community steward?

Discover answers to these questions and more by downloading my full research article — at no cost — published in the latest issue of the Public Relations Society of America Public Relations Journal.

Acknowledgments: This study’s success was secured by my thesis committee members Dr. Mark Horney, Dr. Pat Curtin, and Kelli Matthews; professors in the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication and the Department of Planning, Public Policy and Management; and Dr. Tiffany Derville Gallicano, who was the most marvelous graduate adviser and thesis committee chairperson in every way. They gracefully balance and blend academia and community. They are outstanding researchers and professors who prepare their students for the rapidly changing worlds of public relations and nonprofit management.

Additional sources of information: Learn even more (than you ever thought possible!) about nonprofit social media use by following Beth Kanter (@kanter) and Allison Fine (@Afine) — two excellent sources to start with.

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