Volunteers and Social Media

By: Kristen Paquet, Sr. Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

If you are part of an organization that works with volunteers on a regular basis, you probably have procedures in place for reviewing applications, doing background checks, scheduling, appreciation, reporting, etc. All of these are important tools to be able to retain and maintain a successful volunteer program.

It’s also important to consider social media use. Many organizations forget to think about the impact volunteers can have because they don’t have control over what a volunteer posts or says online. While this is true – it’s only true to an extent. It’s your responsibility as an organization to share your expectations of social media use with volunteers. This can be done with a social media policy that is reviewed and signed by volunteers.
When developing a policy, consider including the following:

  • Knowing who your audience is (its more than just their “friends”)
  • Understanding the difference between posting as a volunteer and posting as an individual (is there a difference?
  • Stating the protocol when it comes to sharing news of the organization
  • What should happen if a conversation gets out of control
  • What types of information is safe and encouraged to post
  • Using common sense: Can what I post do harm to the organization in any way? 

If you aren’t sure where to begin, I would suggest looking online and see what similar groups are doing. Or, if you belong to an industry or professional organization, ask them for assistance. Don’t think you have to reinvent the wheel. There are lots of resources to help.

Do you have a social media policy for volunteers? Any good tips to share or information to include? Please share!