Nonprofits and Social Media Policies: Some Considerations

In working with non profits, I have found that these organizations have a unique set of concerns when engaging with donors and stakeholders through social media. Questions around sharing sensitive information, wasting time on social media and who “owns” a donor when an employee befriends one through their personal social network, are all on the minds of non profit agencies but there is a solution!

Global companies spanning all types of industries (automotive, retail, healthcare, telecommunications…) have put together social media policies that clearly lay out what can be shared online, by who and when. A well written policy will let staff know how much time should be spent on social media per day and whether or not staff can post as themselves or in the organization’s voice.

If you are thinking about whether a social media policy is right for your organization, here are a few things to consider:

Internal Culture – Are there a lot of approvals and hierarchy that your organization needs to go through when implementing an internal process or are employees expected to take the lead?

Brand Personality – It’s important when implementing policies that you don’t lose your voice or vibe.  Overly restricting your online communications team could end up messing with your personality and turning off the very people you are trying to connect with.

Global Footprint – If you have more than one office (and especially if your other offices are in other countries), consider how an over arching policy can affect the cultural nuances that are specific to each area.   It may be a good idea to have different policies for each country or a policy that is flexible enough to address the different needs.

Owning Opinions – Will you ask your staff to indicate on their personal networks that anything they post does not reflect the views of your organization they work for?

Who Will Post? Are you posting under your brand name or are your team members posting as themselves?  And if themselves, how might this affect relationships if your employees leave your organization for another?

Training – An important part that is often missed, would you consider training for your social media team? Yes, they probably do know how to use the channels better than you do, but I’m talking about showing them how to engage within the context of your brand.  Putting some effort into training will be well worth it and will keep your brand voice consistent.

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