Author ORCID Identifier


Date of Award

Fall 8-4-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Public Management and Policy

First Advisor

Dr. Janelle Kerlin

Second Advisor

Dr. Gregory Saxton

Third Advisor

Dr. Juan Rogers

Fourth Advisor

Dr. John C. Thomas


The internet has revolutionized the way organizations engage with their stakeholders, allowing for greater interaction and accountability. However, the nonprofit sector, particularly arts organizations, faces unique challenges in using traditional internet platforms effectively. The emergence of social media platforms offers a potential solution for nonprofits to engage with stakeholders despite limited resources. This study consists of three essays that delve into the adoption and use of social media by arts and culture nonprofits in the United States. Each essay addresses specific questions related to social media's role in soliciting donations, engaging stakeholders, and achieving organizational outcomes. The research draws on theories of nonprofit social media, including adoption factors, communication strategies, and the acquisition and utilization of social media capital. The first essay examines the relationship between social media capital and individual donations, using the social network theory of giving and the social media capital framework. The second essay analyzes the communication strategies of arts nonprofits on social media, comparing messaging themes before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The third essay explores the acquisition and use of social media capital by arts nonprofits. By combining these theoretical perspectives and employing multiple methodological approaches and data sources, this research provides a comprehensive understanding of how arts organizations leverage social media platforms for their communication strategies and organizational outcomes. The findings contribute to the growing body of knowledge on social media use in the nonprofit sector, emphasizing its potential to create social capital and drive tangible results.