Social Media

Non Profit social media Policy

One of the fears that many organizations harbor when it comes to social media as a communication channel is that an employee will share sensitive information, disparage the organization - or worse, a donor - or spend a great deal of time on Facebook or Twitter under the guise of "working."

Another issue nonprofits must address, according to nonprofit consultant Jay Frost, is whether a nonprofit’s employees can personally "friend" or connect with a constituent.

"Once that connection is made outside of the organization, it then brings up the question, 'Who owns the donor?'" he said in a webinar earlier this year. There is also the concern of those who may not be directly involved in the communication strategy for the nonprofit, such as C-level executives, but who represent the organization in the public eye.

To address these issues, companies and organizations - from Ford, to IBM, to the American Red Cross - have created social media policies for their entire staff. These policies give clear guidelines on what can and cannot be shared publicly (on social media and other communication channels), whether employees can post as "themselves" or as official company spokespeople, and even how much time an employee can spend on social media during work hours.

14 Questions to Ask When Implementing a Nonprofit Social Media Policy

Whether or not you create a policy is up to your organization’s management team, the nature of your work, and the size of your organization. To determine if your nonprofit needs a set policy or a more loosely structured set of guidelines, we recommend asking yourself the following questions:

1) Is your organization's work sensitive in nature?

If you're a political, religious, or environmental organization, specific opinions can be sensitive to talk about. If some employees don't 100% agree with your stance, them being vocal about it on social media may go against your organization's mission and reflect poorly on you.

2) Do you need to contend with local laws or culture?

Much like an organization with sensitive work, if your organization is lobbying for policy change or law enactment, employees either need to own their opinions on social media or they need to comply and support the organization's stance publicly. Local culture can also be something that your organization goes up against and is important to consider in your public communication strategy.

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Local police departments review social media policies  — WKYC-TV
Oliver says the tensions in Ferguson right now are a prime reason why trust is needed between the officers and the community they serve. He says that's why they have a social media policy.

Social media policies in the workplace  — Lexology
This is an ever-increasing area of litigation. In a series of recent decisions, the National Labor Relations Board (“Board”) has found social media policies unlawful because those interfere with employees' rights to act collectively.

Popular Q&A

Who are the best social media experts focusing on the non-profit sector? - Quora

While they often talk about social media, but but within the larger context of marketing or advocacy, I would also add these excellent nonprofit marketing bloggers:

  • Alison Fine -

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