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Social Media Policy?

  • 1.  Social Media Policy?

    Posted Mar 28, 2016 14:27

    Hello all - 

    We have a growing number of staff who are using social media in their job roles. For example, staff may use a twitter account for work purposes to promote events, connect with volunteers and partner organizations, etc. Some staff have social media accounts just for work purposes, others use their social media accounts for both personal and work purposes. 

    I'm in the midst of creating a media policy document to provide guidance to our staff for any interactions with reporters or other media. As I'm writing it, the two issues (media policy and social media policy) are starting to blur. For instance, reporters follow our staff on social media. 

    I'm curious if any of you have a social media policy, media policy, or combined policy or any best practices that you would be willing to share to help me think through what to include (or not include). I'm happy to share whatever I come up with back to the group if it is helpful!

    If it helps for background, we are a growing organization with about 25 current permanent staff, with a handful of seasonal intern positions. Our staff are spread out around the Great Lakes region. 

    Thanks in advance for any help!


    Jennifer Caddick
    Engagement Director
    Alliance for the Great Lakes
    Chicago IL
    2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference Logo  w/ Baltimore Skyline

  • 2.  RE: Social Media Policy?

    Posted Mar 28, 2016 19:44

    Hi Jennifer,

    Here's an extensive database of social media governance policies compiled by Chris Boudreaux.

    Here's a policy workbook from Idealware.

    Here's a template for a social media policy (in MS Word) from Kivi Leroux Miller.

    Here's a social media policy generator from PolicyTool.

    And here are some social media policy tips from a lawyer.

    Robert L. Weiner Consulting
    San Francisco, CA
    Twitter: @robert_weiner

    Strategic Technology Advisors to Nonprofit and Educational Institutions

    2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference Logo  w/ Baltimore Skyline

  • 3.  RE: Social Media Policy?

    Posted Mar 28, 2016 23:09
    Hi Jennifer--

    To add to Robert's great resource list, here's a Pinterest board of social media policies curated by Debra Askanase.



    Megan Keane
    Membership Director
    NTEN: The Nonprofit Technology Network
    megan@nten.org | @ntenorg
    Direct: 415-462-2867

    2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference Logo  w/ Baltimore Skyline

  • 4.  RE: Social Media Policy?

    Posted Mar 29, 2016 13:57

    WOW - thank you so much Robert and Megan! These are incredibly helpful resources. I can't say thank you enough.



    Jennifer Caddick
    Engagement Director
    Alliance for the Great Lakes
    Chicago IL

    2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference Logo  w/ Baltimore Skyline

  • 5.  RE: Social Media Policy?

    Posted Feb 12, 2018 18:39
    Hi All,

    In case someone is still interested in this, I'll offer some things I've learned while creating policies for clients.

    @Robert Weiner's suggestion of Chris Boudreaux's list is awesome; I've oft used it as a reference, too!

    A key part of my process for preparing a policy is gathering good (and bad) practices of peer orgs. I have learned that social media policies are useful barometers of the degree of trust an org has of its employees (and contractors). Many orgs are scared, and their policies reflect mistrust, which compromises the whole purpose, which is often to encourage employees to interact on social media. Social media can be huge for employee engagement.

    Here are some things I do. I'll post a link to an article that explains them in detail. Of course, there are two things a policy must do: the legal protection part and empowering social media users.

    • I start by surveying employees, asking what are the biggest social media risks they fear. This is magic because it reframes the policy. Most are written as something that the org does TO employees; ours are collaborative. Share the results of the survey with all employees.
    • Involve the legal dept/counsel from the beginning. They will be impressed by the degree of intelligence and care employees have for the org. This builds trust between legal and employees.
    • Draft the policy and get employee input on it. Make this voluntary. Each org's risk profile and culture varies, but in general, say in the policy that you trust employees to do the right thing. Ground the attitude of the policy in trust. Say the minimum about punitive consequences.
    • Make most of the "policy" about guidelines that help employees be successful online. Most of the policies I do include a lot of how-to suggestions.
    • Another thing that clients love is that we structure the policy and guidelines according to various roles; for example, an employee commenting on a Facebook page that criticizes one of the org's programs is different from one of the org's social media coordinators.
    • More at Social Media Policy: Boosting Legal Safety and Employee Engagement.​

    Christopher Rollyson
    Primary Contact
    CSRA Inc.
    N/A, IL United States

    2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference Logo  w/ Baltimore Skyline