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most recent session of Nonprofits Live was devoted to helping organizations that struggle with balancing respecting free speech
and open dialogue while protecting privacy.
The proliferation of social media has left many
organizations playing catch up with their communications and privacy policies.
Guided by TechSoup online community manager Michael
DeLong, Nonprofits Live welcomed guest experts Alexandra Ross, senior counsel at Paragon Legal, and Jacob
Chang, legal counsel for TechSoup
Ross began the discussion by covering the personal side of
social media use.
She noted a study by comScore that found social
media has become, for many, a regular part of their personal and professional lives. For people like these, Ross shared the following tips:
An organization’s social media policy will overlap with existing
policies that cover confidentiality, Internet and email use, trademarks, and
employee/constituent privacy. The policy should also cover:
A good social media policy should be not too restrictive or
too broad and should comply with the National Labor Relations Act.
implementation, a lawyer should review your nonprofit’s policy.
Refer to other organizations’ social media
policies to develop a better understanding of what makes a good policy.
Organizations that use social media for external
communications should develop additional guidelines.
aspect of the policy will apply to anyone who maintains a social media presence
on behalf of the organization.
The policy should stipulate what accounts belong
to the organization and processes to manage social media use.
that incorporate the sort of language you would like to be used in social media
postings. Educating staff and volunteers to use social media to talk about your
organization positively helps them "spread the word" the way you want
and need them to.
Proper guidelines will help staff and volunteers monitor and
create safe spaces for supporters on sites where your organization maintains a
Empowering staff and volunteers to properly use social media encourages
online dialogue and collaboration while also maintaining privacy.
Susan ChavezOnline Community & Social Media Team, TechSoup Global@Susan_Chavez
This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License.
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