2 min Read
August 5, 2009

What’s in a Social Media Policy and Why You Might Need One

In this month’s Duck Pond, we shared some ideas about what a nonprofit organization might include in its social media policy, including:

  • Highlights from your social media strategy — focusing on your goals and audiences
  • Guidelines for listening and responding to comments and mentions
  • Ideas for how to use each tool
  • Conversation around how staff represent the organization

If you are still trying to figure out what Twitter is or the difference between a Facebook page, group, or Cause, you may want to dig into NTEN’s We Are Media: Social Media Starter Kit for Nonprofits.

But for those of you who are looking to put a social media policy together, here’s a few ideas and sample policies you may want to check out:

Big picture thinking on policies and guidelines.
Beth Kanter, the mother of all things nonprofit and social media, has some great posts about setting up a social media policy. Two of my favorites are “Does Your Organization Need a Social Media Policy” and her funny take on setting “Social Media Usage Guidelines”.
If you are at all social media-obsessed, you probably read Mashable with some regularity. Their post, “10 Must-Haves For Your Social Media Policy”, is geared toward companies, but there are definitely some great ideas for nonprofits.
The good folks at Wild Apricot, a software provider for nonprofits, publish a great blog with lots of goodies on nonprofit technology. This post on “Creating a Social Media Policy for Your Nonprofit” is a must-read with lots of great food for thought and examples of policies and guidelines.

Sample policies

One of the most talked about social media policy in the nonprofit world is from The Red Cross. They Red Cross is kind enough to share both their “Social Media Strategy Handbook” with draft versions of their national policy as well as the guidelines for the local chapters. Many other orgs have policies focused on just on blogging or using specific channels like Facebook or Twitter. Beth Kanter also shared the Easter Seals Internet Public Discourse Policy on her blog.
Here are a few other policies we’ve found — many from the corporate sector. Perhaps they’ll provide some inspiration for your nonprofit.

Does your nonprofit have a social media policy? Share it with our readers in the comments to this post.