As new media technologies have been on the rise, interest on the implications this has for individuals and organizations has increased. This changed online setting and new platforms have impacted the way society functions and communicates. Subsequently, it provides new opportunities and possibilities on an organizational level as well. These new developments provide challenges for businesses in determining how to use social media and what approach should be taken to benefit from its full potential. Exploring such new functions can help reflect on effective ways to utilize social media in business endeavors. Here, NGOs stand out as a special category among organizations communicating online. Their non-profit nature and different organizational goals contrast with for-profit businesses. As they act on behalf of public interest and want to bring about social change, it is important how they communicate and use social media. A theory that comes forward in multiple studies as an effective approach is the idea of strategic communication, which will be the focus of this study. Furthermore, a prevalent topic of debate in contemporary society is environmentalism. As such, a focus on environmental NGOs was chosen to highlight this specific and significant branch of organizations. This work explores and analyses how ENGOs communicate to their stakeholders on Facebook. In doing so, it explores the way of communication in the context of a strategic communication framework. This framework takes into account six different elements: (1) Disclosure, transparency & openness, (2) Information dissemination, (3) Interactivity, (4) Engagement & relationship-building, (5) Strategic alliances, and (6) Advocacy. The study will apply an approach that is both inductive and deductive. 600 posts of four different ENGOs’ Facebook pages were collected and analyzed using a system of open, axial and selective codes. The selected organizations are (1) Greenpeace International (2) The National Wildlife Federation, (3) Friends of the Earth, and (4) Earthwatch. In analyzing these four 2 organizations, this study seeks to increase knowledge on the way in which Facebook is utilized in ENGOs communication. It will answer the question How do ENGOs apply strategic communication on Facebook to inform about, engage on and advocate on issues regarding the environment? The analysis has determined in which ways ENGOs participate in strategic communication and in which elements a different approach is taken. This has mostly resulted in deductive validation as most organizations apply every element of the strategic communication framework to a more or lesser extent. However, some deviations of this were observed and additional significant findings are discovered.

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Derda, I.
Media & Business
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Houwers, Linda. (2019, October 7). Utilizing Social Media in Making the World a Better Place An analysis of ENGOs’ Communication on Facebook. Media & Business. Retrieved from