Creating a Social Media Policy for Your Nonprofit

We live in an age where information can be shared in less than a blink of an eye. Social media has made it possible to share photos, videos, and updates from anywhere. While this can be an exciting time and social networking can be fun, it is social-media-policy-examplesimportant to make sure there are guidelines in place for your nonprofit when it comes to participation in social media. Today we are going to take a look at questions to ask yourself when forming your social media policy for your organization.

There are two parts to forming a social media policy:

  1. Managing your organization’s social media presence
  2. Guidelines for employees’ personal use of social media and its reflection on your agency

When it comes to writing the first part of your social media policy, keep in mind the following questions:

  • Who on your staff is allowed to update social networks on behalf of your organization? Is it just one person? Is it a team of people? What skills should the person/people responsible for social media updates have?
  • In which social networks should your organization participate? Every network might not be right for your organization. Take some time to do some research and find out which networks are the most important in which to be involved. If your agency is already established on certain social media sites already reflect on if the community is active on this site and if it is worth maintaining. If in your agency doesn’t participate in a site is important to claim a log in on the network to so that no one else claims your organization’s voice on that network.
  • What type of updates are allowed? Nonprofit information can be highly sensitive. Deciding what information can and cannot be shared is critical. This includes deciding who can be included in photos and videos.
  • When can information be shared? Beyond what information can be shared, when it can be shared is also important to think about as well. For example, when can you announce an upcoming special event? Or announce a staff change?
  • What email should be used to set up accounts? You may want to consider creating a type email address to use by staff when creating new social media profiles for your organizations. This will maintain consistency even if the staff responsible for updating the network changes.
  • Do updates need to be approved before posting? If so, creating a content calendar might be helpful to help plan out updates to get approved.

When creating a social media personal use policy for your organizations staff, keep these questions in mind:

  • If an employee is listed as working for your organization anywhere online are there certain things about your organization that this employee can or cannot say? It is important for the employee to understand that they are a reflection on the organization and if they are caught saying certain things will there be consequences?
  • Are your employees allowed to use their own personal social media profiles on behalf of the organization and interact with supporters? If so, are there guidelines?
  • Can employees share photos from events or from within the office on their personal social media sites? If so, are there any restrictions?

These are just a few questions to keep in mind when forming a social media policy. As you can imagine it can be quite a project to undertake, but once you have one in place, your nonprofit’s social media presence can thrive under the guidelines you put in place. It is important to note that policies like this might have to be approved by a Board of Directors or overseen by an attorney. Also as a disclaimer, I am not an attorney, so please just take my questions as suggestions and a starting point when forming a social media policy. If you are looking for examples of social media policies, you can check out this site.

Have you put together a social media policy for your organization? What were some best practices you can share with DonorDreams readers? We’d love to hear from you in the comment section below!

Marissa sig

Top Ten Mondays with Marissa Posts – Part Two

Happy Monday, DonorDreams Readers! Today we going to take a look at the second half of the Top Ten Mondays with Marissa posts as 2012 draws to a close. As we look back I will try to update you on the popular topics of the year.

#5 Choosing the Right Donor Database is like Buying a Car
The donor database is the heart of any development team. In this post I go through the process it takes to figure out the right database for the job. Since I wrote this post, the writers at wrote an interesting article on the Ten Common Mistakes in Selecting a Donor Datebase which might also help your make your decision.

SOPA Resistance Day!

#4 How Can SOPA/PIPA Affect Nonprofits?
At the start of the year, two pieces of legislation threatened to change the internet as we know it. Both SOPA and PIPA would have limited an organizations visibility in search results as well as limit your ability to collect donations online if you were accused of infringing on copyrights.

Well, thankfully, these two bills did not pass and were never made into law. However censorship on the internet is still hot topic of conversation. Nonprofits need to be aware of what is going on when it comes to changes to the internet because it is such a helpful tool for getting much of your work done. Places you can stay up to date on the latest include: Ars Technica, This Week in Tech, and All Things Digital. Checking in on these sites from time to time can only help you know what’s next around the corner. And of course, we will update you here on DonorDreams if there are any big changes in the tech world.


#3 Can Your Nonprofit Raise $1,000,000 in 24 Hours Using a Crowdfunding Site?
In mid-February, a site named Kickstarter made waves when a video game developer raised over a million dollars in 24 short hours. This got me thinking about how nonprofits could do the same. I highlighted two microdonation sites, FirstGiving and Helpers Unite that provide a way for nonprofits to collect funds for specific projects.

Just this past month, Giving Tuesday started as a movement on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving to turn the nations attention to charitable giving instead of Christmas Shopping. With movements like this, along with the growth of Kickstarter, I can only see microdonations taking off in a big way. This is something to keep in mind when deciding your strategies for 2013.

#2 Some Insights on Facebook Pages Insights
Facebook has had a lot of changes throughout 2012. The timeline was introduced and Facebook Pages took off. Along with Pages, Facebook also allowed page owners to look behind the scenes to see what posts were the most popular with their followers by using a tool they call Facebook Insights. In my post I go through and explain how to read them and what to do with the information you gain from them.

Not much has changed with Facebook Insights itself, but the numbers reflected in Insights might look a bit different than they did at the start of the year. Recently, Facebook made changes to how posts show up in a viewer’s News Feed. This directly affects the success of a status update or photo posted by your organization. (I wrote about those changes here.) Facebook is going to continue to change so staying on top of those changes in 2013 is important to ensure your nonprofit is as visible as possible.

Obama taking donations via Square mobile payme...

#1 It’s Hip to be Square: Accepting Donations From Your Phone
I’m not surprised that this is the most popular Mondays with Marissa post of 2012. Accepting donations on your phone can come in handy – even the Obama campaign used Square on the campaign trail. This post outlines the pros and cons of using Square to accept donations.

Since writing this post Square has expanded its services to now include gift card management on phones. Also, PayPal came out with a competiative service that links to a users PayPal account. Google Wallet also has started to be seen in some places to take payments using a person’s phone instead of a credit card. I can only imagine that the way we pay for things will continue to change which will only change how nonprofits can collect money. For the time being, I still think that Square is a great option for many nonprofits.

Well everyone, that wraps it up. I still have a few more posts to write in 2012, but let me just say how much I have enjoyed covering stories in social media and technology for nonprofits. If you have any updates or comments on the topics listed above please leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Marissa sig

How Nonprofits Can Maximize LinkedIn to Grow Their Community

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always thought that LinkedIn was the grownup Facebook. When it first started, I didn’t think much of it, but over the years, LinkedIn has become a powerful networking tool, not only for job-searchers, but for everyone in a professional community. Today let’s take a look at a few things that you can do to maximize your and your organization’s presence on LinkedIn.

Complete Your Profile
When starting out on LinkedIn, completing your organization’s profile is important. This is because the heart of LinkedIn is connecting people. The more information it has about you, the better it can serve as a networking resource for you and

Image representing LinkedIn as depicted in Cru...

your organization. Take some time to think about 10 to 15 keywords that you think would best describe your agency and their mission. Using the right keywords will attract the right people to your page.

Not only is an organization profile important, but it is important that everyone connected to your organization has complete profile as well. Make sure employees, volunteers and board members take the time to fill their profiles completely. There is a “Volunteer and Causes” section that can be added to personal profiles where supporters can list your organization.

Companies as Donors
If you are looking to find a company to sponsor an event or make a donation, LinkedIn would be a great place to start. Many companies will list in their profiles if they give to charitable causes or not. If you cannot find info on their profile, see who is connected to that company and reach out to people in your network.

My LinkedIn network, visualized

Follow People
I am not an advocate for stalking, except for in the case of LinkedIn. The more connections you have, the better your network, so follow people you know and people you don’t know. Having a connection can help you along the way, when it comes to

gaining volunteers, finding new donors, hiring a new employee, or finding a new board member.

Group Hug
One of the most dynamic sections to LinkedIn is their groups. There are groups focused on just about everything. Join as many as you can or have your organization start one tailored to discussions about your mission. People expect to start conversations in LinkedIn and groups can be a great way to create new connections.

Keep People Up to Date
LinkedIn is just like every other social media site; as in it works best when you update it frequently. So share news and blog updates with your community there too. Also, LinkedIn does a good job of of aggregating news that is important to you. It is a great place to find new articles to share with your followers as well.

Find Your Next Board Member
LinkedIn just released a new, exciting tool for nonprofits called LinkedIn Board Connect. This allows nonprofit organizations to use LinkedIn to find people who might be a good fit to be the next member of your board. For more information on this new service, take a look at LinkedIn’s announcement. Also, they are having a webinar on Wednesday, October 10, 2012 to explain what Board Connect can do. I suggest joining in to see if this is a tool that would be beneficial to your organization.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: finding the right social network for your organization is key to your social media success. LinkedIn can be a powerful tool to find people and grow your community. How does your organization use LinkedIn? What are some of the things that work best on this social network for you? I’d love to talk about it in comments!

Is Reddit an Online Community for your Nonprofit?

It seems as though a new social network is pops up every day. Finding the right one for your nonprofit can be critical to reaching to the right community for your mission.

Reddit Sticker

We’ve talked about how your social media strategy starts with your website. After you’ve spent some time to establish your site, sharing your content is the next step. Let’s take a look at Reddit and how it might be the place for your organization.

What is Reddit?
Reddit is known as “the front page of the internet”. It lists links in order of popularity for users. Users can then upvote or downvote the link moving it up or down the page for the rest of the viewers. Users can also comment on the link. Reddit is known as a place for discussion and reading the comments can sometimes give a person more information than the link originally posted.

What makes Reddit a little different than just a list of links, is the fact that they allow users to create their own communities known as subreddits. Subreddits are lists of links that are associated with a certain topic. Topics range from TVshows to political parties to geographic locations.

How can my nonprofit use Reddit?
Reddit is a great place to share content from your organization’s website. By posting links to your site in the appropriate subreddits you might be able to expose your work to a different community and gain more support for your mission. The key here is to post in multiple subreddits to see which place ends up being the right place for you. When posting make sure to read the rules posted on side bar on the right side of the page. Different subreddits have different rules.

You can start and moderate your own subreddit. If your organization needs to inform people about your mission, reddit is a great place to do so. Not only could you post content from your site, but you can link to news articles related to your mission to generate discussion.

The Reddit community is also known for being able to raise money for charities in a short amount of time. Remember that story Erik shared about a bus monitor who was bullied? The fundraising efforts behind that story happened on Reddit. Reddit was also a major tool used by Stephen Colbert to raise money for Donors Choose. Reddit users are responsible for a lot of good. There is even where redditors can donate, and subreddit moderators and nonprofit organizations can create campaigns.

The Reddit community also participates in meetups and days of service. If you can get your organization involved in one of those that could me a number of new volunteers for your agency.

The internet is a big place. Finding the right spot for your organization might take some time, but once you find it you’ll be set. Maybe Reddit is the place for you.

Are you an organization that has used Reddit in the past or are currently active reddit users? What works best with this community? I’d love to talk about it more in comments!