NFPs Need A Social Media Policy
21 November 2013 at 9:18 am
Online eGovernment and Gov 2.0 expert Craig Thomler has compiled a list of social media policies released by government agencies and councils across Australia urging Not for Profits to initiate their own policies.
Thomler says the list is the start of a central resource bank for organisations who are either still in the process of creating their policies, or are interested in reviewing and improving them.
“Thus far I've identified just over 70 policies – a small number considering Australia has over 550 councils, 100 state departments and 18 federal departments, plus all of the independent agencies and statutory bodies across the nation,” Thomler says in his latest web blog, EGovAU
“This is even smaller when considering that I took a broad view and included policies written for the public as well as those written for agency staff or as models for other agencies to adopt.
“Based on previous research I conducted in 2012, which will be repeated next year, many Australian Government agencies claimed to have or be developing a social media policy, but hadn't considered whether to publish it as yet.
“I consider staff social media policies as one of the standard documents that agencies should disclose proactively.
“Approximately 75 per cent of Australia's adult population now use Facebook – with millions of Australians also involved in online discussions on other social networks, in blogs, forums and even news websites.
“This means that it is likely that the majority of a Not for Profit's staff and volunteers are social media users – and being passionate about a cause it is even more likely they will engage online enthusiastically and, sometimes, with their hearts on their sleeve.
“Having a sound social media policy is therefore necessary for every Not for Profit to help guide their staff and volunteers on appropriate ways to engage online, both on behalf of the Not for Profit and on matters that may impact on its activities or reputation.
“Given the legal and media risks for organisations from of inappropriate social media engagement by individuals, there is even greater need for organisations, with their potentially large contingents of volunteers, to have a policy that the organisation can use to avoid or manage potentially damaging situations."
There are plenty of good examples of social media policies available as models for developing a Not for Profit policy.
Thomler says there's also now tools available to help larger Not for Profits to practice social media engagement in crisis situations, such as Social Simulator, a tool distributed in Australia by his company Delib Australia to test organisational capabilities and train staff in appropriate social media engagement.
Craig Thomler has worked in the online sector since 1995 in roles including founder, webmaster, marketer, channel manager, CIO and visionary.