Surrounded by an ever increasing sea of Social Media options, many nonprofits are turning to these outlets to better and more consistently engage their community, supporters and donors. While adding visibility and increasing awareness through blogging and participating in the online community can be great for nonprofits, they should take care to go about it the right way.
While generally beneficial, Social Media outlets can pose some unique challenges to charitable organizations. These can include: a lack of control of online posts; an increased risk of miscommunication, misuse and abuse; each of which can lead to public relations entanglements. And if your organization isn’t using social media, chances are that your staff is.
Furthermore in addition to using Social Media to find donors, many nonprofits also use it to recruit volunteers, employees and even board members. This could present major liability risks in regards to the available information of people’s protected class status. It would be impossible to prove what characteristics were actually considered in the hiring process.
Each of these concerns point to a common solution: A social media policy outlining clear usage guidelines. A great way to create a new policy is to include a diverse group of people including a legal advisor, marketing and HR staff, a technology specialist, and senior management. With these varying perspectives you are likely to build a strong and well thought out policy to encourage the proper use of social networking.
For information on how to write a Social Media Policy, click here.