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August 11, 2010; Source: eMarketer | How many times have you heard people say, "Think of all charities can learn from the corporate world?" Now, it appears that nonprofits might have something to teach their for-profit marketing counterparts. According to a survey from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research, charities are outpacing large and small businesses in adopting social marketing.

Findings reported in eMarketer show that as of 2009, 97 percent of large charitable organizations surveyed were using some form of social media. That compares with only 80 percent of companies in the Inc. 500, a list of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S., who say they are social media users.

Other findings show that charities are heavy users of Twitter and that they "flooded social networking sites even more quickly than corporate marketers." Not surprisingly, some corporate marketers are applying lessons from nonprofits. According to eMarketer, corporations are "touting their community-friendly initiatives, like Dawn dish soap’s Everyday Wildlife Champions, which shows off Dawn’s longtime commitment to helping wildlife, or the Pepsi Refresh Project, which donates money to charity." Looks like this definitely a story to tweet about.—Bruce Trachtenberg