07/27/2010 09:05 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Social Media: An Effective Tool For Securing Alumni Donations? Not Yet, Survey Suggests

An overwhelming majority of colleges across America are using Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn in an effort to increase alumni donations, reports Inside Higher Ed.

But consulting groups Slover Linett and mStoner released a study at a meeting of The Council for Advancement and Support of Education that suggests skepticism about this new method.

Inside Higher Ed has more:

The survey notes that while some colleges have clearly articulated goals for social networking, many remain uncertain about its role, its staffing and its value.

The split in thinking here was in evidence on the question of how to define success. Andrew Gossen, senior director for social media strategy at Cornell University, said that "I think five years from now the whole [return on investment] question is going to seem naïve. It would seem like asking for the ROI on your telephone service.

One of the consultants who conducted the study admits that although alumni who are linked to their alma maters through social media are more likely to donate, these same alumni are likely to read other university-related publications. Thus, social media impact is difficult to measure alone.

Still, alumni magazines are struggling to keep up with Facebook. A New York Times article from June 2008 claims that immediate updates, made possible by social media, render quarterly publications obsolete.

What do you think? Do you participate in your alma mater's social media campaigns? Weigh in below.