Nonprofits and Social Media: Taking a Look at Privacy Issues

Written by: Melissa Noyes, MSW

Kristin and I have facilitated a few trainings lately for nonprofits on various aspects of social media.  One of the major issues that comes up is the issue of privacy and confidentiality.  This is an especially big issue for organizations that provide services to children and families.  As nonprofit professionals, keeping a consumer’s information confidential is something that is inherent in our work.  However, social media throws us a curve ball–and a gray area–when it comes to confidentiality and privacy.  We have to balance organizational transparency and authenticity with respecting the rights of our consumers; we have to balance telling our story with ensuring that we have permission to use names and pictures.  Nonprofits also seem to struggle with the prospect of negative comments on social media platforms and how to best address these types of issues.

I want to try to shed some light on privacy issues and give you some resources to ensure that your organization is addressing these issues appropriately in your social media plan.

Click here for a blog that addresses a variety of privacy policy issues for nonprofits.

Click here for a blog from Beth Kanter regarding Facebook privacy and youth.

Click here for a blog from HubSpot on addressing negative comments.

If your organization deals with HIPAA laws, click here and here for two good articles on creating a HIPAA-compliant social media policy.

The key to the privacy issue is to make sure your organization is informed and has a plan for social media use.  Adjust your plan as needed to ensure compliance.  Be transparent and authentic without breaching confidentiality. Don’t be afraid of negative comments or feedback (and be prepared to effectively address negativity).  Social media gives your nonprofit a voice–and having the knowledge and tools to effectively use that voice is crucial to your success in the ever-changing world of social media.

Does your organization have privacy/confidentiality built into its social media plan? Have these issues affected the way your organization uses social media?


About catalystxchange

Catalyst X-Change, Inc. is a 501c3 serving the greater Indianapolis area. Catalyst was founded by two Millennials (Kristin Clements-Effner and Melissa Noyes) with a passion and a vision for world change. We believe that significant and positive change can happen when individuals come together and match their passions with tangible actions. Our mission is to advance community through meaningful action.
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2 Responses to Nonprofits and Social Media: Taking a Look at Privacy Issues

  1. Pingback: Nonprofits and Social Media: Taking a Look at Privacy Issues … | Lake Minnetonka Liberty

  2. If you’d like to conversate more on social media, and mobile device privacy and security, stop by, a new blog focusing on how to protect yourself and your privacy while using the modern web.

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