Date of Dissertation


Document Type

Banded Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)


Social Work

First Advisor

Robin R. Whitebird


Social Work


This banded dissertation examines how human service nonprofit organizations use social media to connect to stakeholders and clients and makes suggestions for how nonprofits can best utilize this powerful medium in their practice.

The first scholarly product was a qualitative systematic review that examined the existing literature regarding how human service nonprofit organizations use social media to enhance their provision of services for clients. Themes discovered included types of social media being used, levels of human service nonprofit organizations (HSO) social media engagement and reasons for use, and barriers to social media use.

The second scholarly product was a case study of an exemplar nonprofit organization’s Facebook posts. A content analysis was conducted of the organization’s posts for four months to understand how they engaged with their community and to discuss some best practices for human service nonprofit organizations to consider. Themes that emerged were the HSO acknowledging stakeholders and collaborations, a call to action, empowering clients, and informative posts.

The third scholarly product of this banded dissertation was a poster presentation entitled “Social Media for Social Good: Practical Lessons from the Current State of Literature for Nonprofit Human Service Organizations’ Use of Social Media” and was presented on July 6, 2018 at the Social Work, Education, and Social Development Conference in Dublin, Ireland. The poster highlighted findings from systematic review including prevalent themes found as well as implications for practice and a direction for future development.

The first and second scholarly products found a need for practical policies to guide practitioners which consider confidentiality as well as the needs of the human service nonprofit organization. Future research is needed to help HSOs establish ethical social media policies and procedures.

Included in

Social Work Commons