The 501 S(c)ene

The latest view on not-for-profit accounting issues

Is It Time for You to Implement a Social Media Policy?

Social media has become the top marketing tool in businesses today, which of course includes the not-for-profit community. By now, you probably have a team member that is responsible for the organization’s Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. However, there are more ways that social media can affect your organization than its own pages.

Employees, volunteers and directors can now associate or link themselves with your organization by listing that they work or volunteer for your organization on Facebook and LinkedIn. On Twitter, they can tag your not-for-profit by using the unique tag line. Therefore, it’s important for your organization to have a policy in place that educates all people associated with the not-for-profit on what type of social media activity is acceptable and what types of posts will negatively impact the reputation of your organization posted either on behalf of your not-for-profit or on a personal basis.

Finally, it’s most likely not feasible to have an employee monitor all social media activity your employees, volunteers or directors post. You need to determine what level of monitoring is practical to protect your organization.

You can find more information and templates of social media policies at socialmediagovernance.com. Social media can be a tool for great marketing, or it can be a form of exposure that is harmful to your organization’s reputation. By implementing a policy, you can help mitigate the risk of damaging publicity.

By Samantha E. Mahlen, CPA