The Heritage Foundation received major honors in the University of Pennsylvania’s internationally renowned “Global Go-To Think Tank Index Report,” the 2020 edition of which was released Thursday.
Heritage is ranked No. 1 among think tanks worldwide for “Best Use of Social Media and Networks” and, for the third year in a row, received the top ranking for being the “Think Tank with the Best Use of the Internet.”
Coming into 2020, Heritage had also received the honor for “Most Significant Impact on Public Policy” three years in a row, and as such, was named a center of excellence in that category for its substantial achievement.
Heritage saw its greatest improvement in the “Best Managed Think Tanks” category. The organization improved from 13th in 2018 and 10th in 2019 to sixth in the latest edition. Over the course of those three years, Heritage has made notable management improvements to strengthen the organization now and for the future.
Heritage President Kay C. James released the following statement about Heritage’s rankings in this year’s report:
“The University of Pennsylvania’s report is the gold standard for evaluating think tanks worldwide and their influence on public policy. No one at The Heritage Foundation works in pursuit of such recognition, but as the leader of this incredible organization, let me tell you—for the outstanding work they do to better this nation and our world each and every day, they all deserve it. We are thankful to the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program for this honor.
“Our goal at The Heritage Foundation is to help build an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity, and civil society flourish, and we strive to do so not just through influencing policy in Washington, but also by engaging with Americans across this great country. Every day, we use all the tools available to us to learn more about average Americans’ concerns, their cares, and their desires for the country, and we make sure their voices are heard in the halls of power. That has been our mission for nearly 50 years, and that will always be our mission.”
Dr. James McGann, director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program, had the following to say about Heritage’s impact:
“The dawn of the digital revolution has created an information ecosystem where the creation of and access to policy recommendations has never been easier. Wider access to the internet, and specifically social media, has allowed think tank research to become more accessible to the general public. The challenge of the moment and the future is to be on the cutting edge—which Heritage continues to be. That is the genius and the success of Heritage.”
The Heritage Foundation’s digital efforts and use of the internet in 2020 were certainly worthy of international recognition and acclaim. Among the highlights:
Social Media and Networks
- Heritage ended the year with 1.95 million Facebook followers, 678,000 Twitter followers, 199,000 YouTube subscribers, and 112,000 Instagram followers.
- The Daily Signal, Heritage’s multimedia news outlet, ended the year with 990,000 Facebook followers, 74,700 Twitter followers, 75,700 YouTube subscribers, and 35,400 Instagram followers.
- Heritage gained 78,900 new subscribers for its YouTube channel in 2020, growing the subscribers total to more than 199,000.
- YouTube video views between The Heritage Foundation and The Daily Signal totaled more than 21 million. Nearly 7 million of the views on Heritage’s channel were views of media interviews.
- 10 different Heritage podcasts together received more than 3.5 million listens in 2020.
Use of the Internet:
- Heritage.org ended the year with 20.3 million sessions, up by 62% from 2019.
- In 2020, Heritage used creative, interactive web and data graphics to connect the American people with real-time data on vital public policy issues, such as COVID-19 rates in U.S. counties, and the hypocritical behavior of public officials violating their own COVID restrictions.
- The organization took its media presence to new heights, devoting more time and resources to promoting national radio and TV hits on Heritage digital channels, driving up engagement and increasing vital messaging opportunities.
- Heritage launched the National Coronavirus Recovery Commission to help develop solutions for policymakers to alleviate the effects of the pandemic and get America back on its feet.
- The Index of Economic Freedom remained Heritage’s top online product, with nearly 7 million pageviews. Another major online offering—America’s Biggest Issues—saw a 160% increase in pageviews.
- Heritage’s popular Election Fraud Database was among the most visited pages on Heritage.org, receiving more than 4.2 million pageviews.
- The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, which provides a brief and accurate explanation of each clause of the Constitution, received over 1 million pageviews, bringing its lifetime pageviews to more than 24.5 million.