The digital communications consultants Zoe Amar and Matt Collins came up with the idea for the list as a voluntary sector equivalent of LinkedIn’s index of the 30 best chief executives on social media.
The list, which is not ranked, was selected by a judging panel from 117 nominations. The panel was made up of what Amar described as "digital leaders" from the sector including Simon Blake, chief executive of the sexual health charity Brook, and Lucy Caldicott, director of fundraising at Clic Sargent.
Amar said certain characteristics were used as a guide for judging each chief executive’s social media presence and whittling down the nominations. These included whether they were approachable, how much they talked directly to stakeholders, to what extent they were good at listening, whether they were good champions for their cause or organisation and whether they had a social identity distinct from their charity.
Twitter was the predominant social platform used by the top 30 chief executives, with LinkedIn and Facebook next, she said.
Unlike the LinkedIn index of chief executives, the list was not based on quantitative measures such as the number of followers, said Amar, but about the "quality of their conversations".
Other chief executives to be included in the top 30 were Mark Flannagan of Beating Bowel Cancer, Polly Neate of Women’s Aid and Imogen Ward of the Lessons for Life Foundation, which supports vulnerable children in sub-Saharan Africa.
"The quality of the nominations was absolutely fantastic," said Amar. "Many charity leaders are using Twitter now, which is a big change from a couple of years ago when it was LinkedIn. I think leaders are getting more confident using Twitter and seeing its potential."
Amar and Collins have produced a free guide called Social Media for Charity Leaders.