Publication Date




Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Communication Studies (Communication)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Don W. Stacks

Second Committee Member

Alyse R. Lancaster

Third Committee Member

Cong Li

Fourth Committee Member

Michael Beatty


This dissertation examined the association between social media-based stakeholder engagement and organization financial performance in the nonprofit sector. Two studies were designed. Study 1 was employed with “Big Data” approaches. Using Ordinary Least Square estimation method with lagged variables, it modeled nine-year longitudinal social media and financial panel data from the largest 100 nonprofit organizations (NPOs) in the United States. Results offered a nine-year overview of NPOs presence and stakeholder engagement with them on Facebook. Findings from hypotheses tested suggested that not all stakeholder engagements were significant predicators for NPO donations. Only liking and commenting engagement behaviors were positively associated with public donation, but sharing behavior did not improve fundraising success. More interestingly, over posting could associate with a decrease in public donation. To further test the causal link between stakeholder engagement and public donation, study 2 was designed as an online experiment. Counterintuitive effects were detected. A large number of likes displayed under a NPO’s Facebook post featuring a fundraising cause led to less public donation compared to a small number of likes when the gap between the amount of likes and shares was narrow. Decreased self-­‐perceived contribution in the given funding event was discovered as the mediator, explaining the effect. The findings bring new empirical insights to the existing literature in multiple areas, including nonprofit public relations, stakeholder engagement, machine heuristic, and social loafing. Practical implications generated from the current dissertation were also discussed.


social-mediated stakeholder engagement; non-profit public relations; public donation; data mining