Social Media Policies

I presented a webinar last week on Social Media and Donor Engagement and found myself talking alot about social media policies.

I think it's very important to have a social media policy in place, whether it's one page or twenty. A social media policy really helps you define how you are going to engage people on the web. Many nonprofits are afraid of getting on social media because it means that you are no longer in control of the message.

Maybe you aren't, but at least a good set of guidelines will ensure that you can direct the message to where you want it to be.

For example, rather than having to react in surprise to negative comments or views of your organization, guidelines help you handle any negative situation that arises. Since a situation on social media can change by the minute, it's important to have a plan so you can react in an appropriate way.

Some things to add to your policy:
  • Who's speaking on behalf of you? Are they able to respond to crises in a professional and speedy manner?
  • What is your position on certain issues?
  • How do you deal with comment moderation?
  • How much control do you have over someone's personal pages?

A good social media policy in place will ensure that any problems you have in the future can be addressed swiftly and correctly.

The Merging of Design and Content

I've been working on website proposals for several days now and have come to a conclusion. Many people think that design and content are two seperate things and that comes to light on their webpages.

Let me explain.

I believe for a website to properly function, content and design have to work together, not fight against each other. They are the ying and yang, two sizes of a whole and yet I see so many websites where the content appears secondary. It always baffles me during a redesign process when people forget about the content.

How does this appear on a website?

One of the ways it does is through lack of white space. When the design starts to crowd into the content, then there is a problem. There should be enough room for the design AND the content.

Another way is by overdesign. Overdesign is when you have a really great design of a site that overshadows the content. Examples of this include excessive use of flash and more.

Not that content is blame-free either. When you have so much content that it's pushing the design to the edges, then you have a problem. You need to ensure that content and design work together to make the website perfect.

It's definitely easier said then done but it's possible!

Should You Be On Social Media?

At the My Charity Connects conference last week, a lot of the chatter surrounded social media and nonprofits. And the question I got asked the most, especially by small nonprofits, was do I need to be on Twitter/Facebook etc?

Well others suggest jumping into the deep end, I completely disagree.

Yes, Twitter and Facebook et al are great tools, especially for small nonprofits. They allow you to converse with your donors and get your message out to a wider audience.


You need to truly assess whether social media is right for you. Do you have time to be utilizing social media tools everyday? Because if you don't, then it's not worth it.

I'd rather see someone not use Twitter at all rather than be on there for two weeks and then things die off. This gives off a negative impression of your organization, just like old content on a website.

You need to determine whether your audience will respond with these types of tools, and most importantly develop your goals.

If you don't have the time or the audience, look into other communications tools. Just because everyone is on Facebook, doesn't mean you have to be. Pick and choose what social media tools work for you, put together a plan and go for it!

And remember, just because social media is (mostly) free doesn't mean it won't cost your time.

Learn more here: Ten Things a Nonprofit Should Do Before Setting Up Social Media

Budgeting for Social Media

Writing for the Web Presentation

I presented at the My Charity Connects conference yesterday on the topic of Writing for the Web. Here is the powerpoint of my presentation. Audio hopefully will be following:

Maintaining Online Volunteers

I posting a while back about finding and engaging volunteers through social media. But while you may gain volunteers online, is it possible to maintain them online?

I think so. But this has to be done in conjunction with offline connection as well. How do we keep volunteers interested online? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Send a thank you email. A thank you email is nice and personal. You can be specific about what that person achieved. But keep it short so there's a greater chance they will read the whole thing.

2. Give them a shout out. People love recognition and it doesn't take much. Use Twitter or Facebook to say thanks or share what your volunteers have done. This gives them great exposure as well as your organization as well.

3. Create a volunteers group. Use Ning, Facebook, or Yahoo groups to allow volunteers to interact with each other, no matter where they are.

4. Give them a reference on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a great business tool and having a good reference from someone can make all the different. Give them a good quote that they can share with future employers.

5. Post volunteer opportunities online. Use your website and social media tools to spread the word about what opportunities you have available. This way, your volunteers will know what's coming up.

Maintaining volunteers online just takes a few simple things.

Keep them updated,
Share their sucesses
and Say thank you!

Technical Difficulties

Sorry for the lack of blog posts, I've had technical difficulties this week. New blog posts will start on Monday!

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Most Popular Posts

Ten Things a Nonprofit Should Do Before Setting Up Social Media

The Conversation Prism

Getting Your Board on Board with Social Media Part One & Part Two

Budgeting for Social Media Part One & Part Two