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Stakeholder Communication in 140 Characters or Less: A Study of Community Sport Foundations

Anagnostopoulos, C and Gillooly, L and Cook, D and Parganas, P and Chadwick, S (2017) Stakeholder Communication in 140 Characters or Less: A Study of Community Sport Foundations. VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 28 (5). pp. 2224-2250. ISSN 0957-8765

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Abstract

Community sport foundations (CSFs), like other non-profit organizations, are increasingly employing social media such as Twitter to communicate their mission and activities to their diverse stakeholder groups. However, the way these CSFs utilize social media for communicating such practices remains unclear. Through a mixed-method approach of content analysis of tweets from 22 CSFs established by English professional football clubs and interviews with key individuals within these CSFs (n = 7), this study examines the extent to which CSFs’ core activities are being communicated through Twitter and identifies the strategies employed for doing so. Reflecting the target audiences CSFs are seeking to reach through Twitter and the challenges associated with communication about projects involving marginalized groups, tweets largely concern programs related to sports participation and education. The most frequently employed communication strategy is to inform, rather than interact or engage with stakeholders. However, CSFs with higher organizational capacity attempt to go beyond mere informing towards engaging with stakeholder groups that relate to their social agenda, highlighting the importance of trained and dedicated social media personnel in optimizing CSFs’ use of Twitter for communication.

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