By Jamie Evan Cohen, MAJNM/MCM ‘17
Given the proliferation of communication technologies and nonprofits, reaching audiences has never been more challenging. This study examines the potential for collaboration between the Jewish nonprofit industry and “online content creators” or “influencers” – a type of web-based mini-celebrity or artist – who either identify as Jewish or produce Jewish content. Many organizations are hiring full-time communications staff or social media fellows but still struggle to increase their donor base and maintain a relevant online presence.
This study is based on interviews and in-depth analysis of online content from two sources: of a variety of local and national Jewish nonprofits, and web creators from a number of different online social media platforms. The content analysis points to the irregularity and inconsistency of many Jewish organizations regarding post frequency, relevance, and a clear, persuasive call to action. For the content creators, their genuine voice and time spent creating original content are key to maintaining their audience, but within that space they are all willing to work with organizations that align with their own values or online voice.
Findings suggest that the most successful partnerships stem from leveraging existing networks and relationships to discover any connection between nonprofits and web influencers. Further research indicates that allowing these digital artists to experience a Jewish agency firsthand and then providing them the room to freely create content based on those experiences, can lead to successful and long-lasting web content for both parties. This research can serve as a base from which the Jewish nonprofit industry can search both internally and externally to examine which types of partnerships they are able and willing to pursue.