Online: NSFW And The Risk For Nonprofits

April 25, 2016       Andy Segedin      

With social media serving as the new frontier for attracting donors and volunteers, nonprofit leaders might be tempted to jump into the action without checking the depth of the water.

 

During her workshop, “Ring of Fire: Managing Social Media Risks,” at the Risk Summit, Nonprofit Risk Management Center Staff Attorney Emily Stumhofer described potential risks associated with engaging in social media and key elements of a social media policy for the office. Among the key issues are:

 

* Over-posting. Managers should use discretion when deciding what to post and when to hold back. Avoid unreasonable intrusions, according to Stumhofer.

 

* Fundraising without registering. Arizona, Idaho and Montana are the only states that do not require registration to fundraise. Failing to register may lead to criminal and civil penalties. More information can be obtained through the National Association of State Charity Officials and by researching the laws in the state where you fundraise.

 

* Improper third-party postings. Such postings should be accompanied by the same considerations associated with postings staffers make and social media pages should be continually monitored to be sure that all postings are appropriate.

 

* Being overly controlling. The National Labor Relations Act prevents employers from disallowing protected activities including the sharing of group concerns with the employer, initiating group action and speaking for or representing other employees.

 

* Lack of policies. Policies to consider include terms of use, privacy and social media use.

 

Senior managers are not strangers to drafting policies, from soliciting donations to bringing volunteers aboard. With the rise of social media, some nonprofit leaders might wish to set organizational standards, but are too unfamiliar with the technology to know where to start.

 

Stumhofer provided seven discussion points to think about prior to drafting a social media policy for your organization.

 

* Consider your strategy. What are your goals for using social media in your organization?

 

* Examine the culture of your organization. Each organization’s policy should be unique and suited to that particular organization. Think about how your employees and volunteers will respond to a policy.

 

* Look back at how your organization has used social media in the past. Review prior successes and failures.

 

* Decide whether a social media committee, that would regularly review the organization’s social media operations and modify them when necessary, is appropriate. If so, look to include individuals with different perspectives within the organization.

 

* Assess which social media platforms will be utilized and related special considerations. Determine what process will be used to determine the addition of new platforms or the discontinuance of existing ones.

 

* Determine who will have access of social media passwords and login information.

 

* Plan out how content will be checked for accuracy and usability prior to posting and who will be responsible. How will content that has raised concerns be handled?