February 5, 2013

Create a social media policy for your nonprofit


Draft a comprehensive set of guidelines to cover all of your social media bases

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, businesses, educators. Note: Socialbrite has created social media policies for a number of nonprofit clients.

Guest post by Andrea Berry and Ben Stuart

As nonprofits have increasingly turned to social media, policies to govern their use have become the new frontier. It can be difficult for organizations to find examples that fit their needs. A good social media policy will provide clear guidelines as to what staff should and shouldn’t do when posting and interacting with the community on a day-to-day basis, freeing them up to think more strategically. But what’s involved in creating one?

A good social media campaign or engagement strategy can help your organization fulfill its mission, and there are many examples of nonprofits using these tools successfully for everything from fundraising and volunteer recruitment to building awareness. But there are also examples of organizations that have encountered pitfalls along the way to an effective social media presence. Continue reading

September 15, 2010

Does your nonprofit have a Dilbert social media policy?


Beth KanterAs part of my work as Visiting Scholar for Social Media and Nonprofits  at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation,  I’ve had the pleasure to do a number of workshops in the area. Monday evening I had the pleasure of presenting a Networked Nonprofit mini-workshop for a group of about 50 local nonprofits and government agencies in Palo Alto hosted by the Palo Alto Community Fund.

The participants represented a wide range of nonprofits from all-volunteer groups to larger institutions. The individuals included both staff and volunteers as well as different generations. I keep hearing from the “older generation” how aware they were of the importance of social media, but how difficult it was to change mindsets. After the session, I hear many say how they planned to go back and begin the transformation toward being a networked nonprofit! Continue reading

November 17, 2009

Finally! An enlightened social media policy

Bread for the World

Bread for the World spells out the opportunities for working together

JD LasicaFor the past few days I’ve been hip deep in social media policies, social media guidelines — the increasingly common rules of the road that companies and nonprofits are laying down for how

In a perfect world, organizations could issue a policy like this: Oh, behave!

Or, as Microsoft’s policy famously puts it: Don’t be stupid.

But these days, as more employees are Twittering and posting Facebook updates both at work and at home, it makes sense for businesses and nonprofits to offer them guidance about what’s acceptable behavior and what crosses the line. Some companies, like Best Buy, have said the landscape is changing so quickly that they don’t want to commit the guidelines to paper. But many others are adopting written policies.

In the long run, that may be good news for employees: Mashable reported recently that 8% of U.S. companies have sacked “social media miscreants.” (What Mashable calls miscreants I would call employees with a naive streak.)

Still, the temptation remains for nonprofits and businesses to crack down on social media use by letting the lawyers and out-of-touch managers write the policies, as all too many news organizations have been doing.

Bread for the World’s new policy

In looking over the scores of social media policies littering the landscape, one has risen to the top for its enlightened view that social media use is an opportunity rather than a threat. Perhaps surprisingly, it comes courtesy of Bread for the World, a Christian charity seeking to end hunger at home and abroad.

I’ve republished Bread for the World’s social media guidelines on Socialmedia.biz (with permission), and posted it as a downloadable PDF (4 pages).

A few of the highlights:

• Bread for the World’s policy properly breaks down the participants into two stakeholder groups: those who represent the organizations and individuals who use social media outside of an official capacity. Continue reading