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How to create a nonprofit social media policy

By: Kaz Weida

Increasingly, social media platforms have become online communities that are central to the way users connect, spend, and socialize. Pew Research’s 2021 report on social media use indicates 72% of American adults use social media, with a majority of Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram users logging in daily to check their feeds.

While it might be tempting to turn a blind eye to your employees’ social media use, the reality is most of your staff has an online presence. And without a social media policy for nonprofits in place, a small misstep online could do damage to your organization’s reputation and brand. That’s why it’s imperative to establish and implement a nonprofit social media policy.

What is a nonprofit social media policy?

A nonprofit social media policy is a set of guidelines about how a nonprofit organization and its staff and volunteers should interact online, specifically on social media accounts. Social media policy for nonprofits can cover both the organization’s brand channels as well as how employees use their own social media accounts either professionally or personally.

You can think of a social media policy for nonprofits as a code of conduct for online spaces instead of office spaces. It can span a wide range of issues, from responding to customer service complaints to security and password protocol. A nonprofit social media policy template also details the kinds of content that would be considered problematic and how employees can participate in brand advocacy.

Why do you need a social media policy for nonprofits?

The days of saying employees can’t be held responsible for what they post online have definitely passed. Today you ignore the need for a social media policy for nonprofits at your peril. Here are a few reasons drafting and implementing a social media policy is crucial to your nonprofit marketing strategy and can help mitigate risk for your organization’s brand.

Clarify expectations for employees and volunteers

Setting expectations for social media use can be tricky for nonprofits because they can be staffed by a large number of volunteers. But when people join your organization, your social media policy for nonprofits should detail how to engage in advocacy online and empower your mission with appropriate messaging. Otherwise, you risk an errant post on Instagram or Facebook compromising the reputation of your nonprofit and alienating potential donors.

Squash PR problems before they happen

Increasingly, online platforms have become clearinghouses for customer service complaints, and the nonprofit space is no different. Establishing a social media policy for nonprofits ensures that when staff stumble across someone with a negative experience, they know how to respond and who to contact. The Humane Society was an early adopter of social media, and its network of nonprofit organizations is a great example of how staying active and engaging in online communities can avert a PR crisis and build your brand.

Keep your brand consistent across channels

Because a social media policy for nonprofits also defines content and tone on brand channels, it can be a great tool to keep the voice of your organization consistent. Clarifying who is in charge of posting on social media is also essential because it helps employees and volunteers understand their online responsibilities and avoid potential security breaches. The fallout when a social media account has been compromised will garner your nonprofit attention, but for all the wrong reasons.

What your nonprofit social media policy should cover

While you might run out and start googling “nonprofit social media policy template” after skimming the section above, it’s worthwhile to consider exactly what a social media policy for nonprofits should include. Look for a nonprofit social media policy template that details the following:

  • Designate which staff or volunteers are approved to post on social media accounts and brand channels.

  • Specific guidelines for responding to social media comments.

  • Definitions of what is considered plagiarism and how to avoid copyright issues.

  • Protocols for secure passwords, installing software updates, and other basic online security concerns.

  • Guidelines for social media managers and brand channel users about how to respond to conflict, manage crises, and address customer service issues.

  • Guidelines for employee and volunteers’ personal media accounts that empower advocacy for your nonprofit but discourage problematic behavior.

And last but not least, provide plenty of easy-to-use social media templates that reflect your nonprofit branding. Lucidpress has customizable templates that are perfect for keeping your nonprofit social media posts consistent and professional.

Download our free ebook to learn more about social media policy for nonprofits and how to keep your nonprofit messaging mission-focused.

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How to amplify your mission

Messaging matters (a lot)! How you market your brand in the crowded nonprofit space makes all the difference in accomplishing your goals. Consistent messaging and strategic partnerships will help you stand out from the rest. Our guide can help you craft the right messaging to amplify your mission and make an impact in your community.

Learn more

Kaz Weida

Kaz Weida is a freelance journalist and photographer who is passionate about crafting content that helps entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes tackle challenges. When not at her keyboard, Kaz can be found in the kitchen indulging in a little craft cocktail inspiration.

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