Online Guidance Points for Nonprofit Staff

Nonprofit staff members can be a force for good, even in their off hours. But only if they know how to react to postings that reference the organization. Such postings may be positive and beneficial or they may be abusive and spiteful.

For example, a nonprofit staff member may be surfing her newsfeed when she sees a post that says, “I just donated my car to Kars4Kids. What a terrific, handy, and unique way to help a child.”

Now that’s a positive posting that should not be ignored. This represents a chance for the staff member to be an ambassador for good. But the staffer needs to know the proper way to respond. Rather than leave this sort of thing up to chance, the wise nonprofit manager issues guidelines to assist his nonprofit staff members.

In terms of the best way to present such guidelines, some nonprofit organizations simply disseminate such guidelines by staff email. Other nonprofits may prefer to tack up the guidelines near the water cooler to get the staff talking and pooling ideas on how to handle tricky online situations.

As to the guidelines themselves, here’s a sample draft you can use to craft your own nonprofit guidelines for social media posts that reference the organization.

1)      Did you come across a posting that references your organization? Are the content and tone of a positive nature?

        If Yes: Feel free to acknowledge the posting and to repost it to your own following.

2)      Is the posting some sort of spam with suspicious links?

        If Yes: Report the posting or send a message to the poster.

3)      Is the poster a troll bent on annoying people?

        If Yes: Don’t respond. Ignore. If it continues, report the troll to the administrators.

4)      Is the posting satirical, vengeful, or meant to ridicule?

        If Yes: Ignore the post. Don’t respond. If it goes on at length, report the poster.

5)      Does the posting contain erroneous info? Do you have the correct info?

        If Yes: Find a source to cite and use it to offer a polite, public correction.

6)      Is the poster a disgruntled donor or volunteer?

        If Yes: Apologize and do what you can to rectify the situation/obtain assistance. Find the right person to speak to without the organization who can take care of the problem.

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