It Takes a Village: A Social Network Approach to NGOs’ International Public Engagement

Adam J. Saffer, Aimei Yang, Jordan Morehouse, Yan Qu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), like most strategic communicators, are challenged with breaking through the saturated international media environment as they attempt to influence public opinion. Yet, before strategic communicators can build an agenda, they must get attention from the public. The current study examined how NGOs’ network positions in the public Twitter discussion of the global refugee crisis influenced the public engagement NGOs received during two news events. Drawing from network theory and research, we posed two parallel sets of hypotheses. First, we predicted that NGOs with characteristics of “star” network structures will be well-situated in the network to garner attention. Second, we hypothesized that the “village” around an NGO also contributes to capturing attention. The results from our regressions offer evidence to support both hypotheses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1708-1727
Number of pages20
JournalAmerican Behavioral Scientist
Issue number12
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 SAGE Publications.


  • engagement
  • international public relations
  • network analysis
  • nonprofit communications
  • social media


Dive into the research topics of 'It Takes a Village: A Social Network Approach to NGOs’ International Public Engagement'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this