Welcome to The Explorer

The Premier Online Knowledge Base for Information and
Statistics About Social Good

Browse The Explorer

Social Media Privacy

Because social media platforms allow users to customize their own experience, it can be easy to assume that constituents’ privacy is protected and there isn’t much for an organization to worry about. While social media is one of the easiest ways to reach new donors at scale, organizations must consider the practices they use when publicizing their work and tapping into supporter insight.

Interacting with Followers

Platforms like Facebook and Instagram put followers in the driver’s seat of their social media experience. Unlike a newsletter, users s don’t have to enter personal data to follow an organization. Instead, they can simply like a page at any given time and even customize the frequency and priority with which they hear from certain groups. If a user has a personal account on a platform they have accepted its terms and conditions, thereby consenting to data use within it.

This doesn’t necessarily give organizations free reign to collect data from social media platforms. If an organization was to export data from a social media site onto other platforms, like a constituent records management (CRM) system, it may be required to first gain consent from others – particularly ifs the organization must comply with privacy laws like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. Depending on the privacy laws that apply to your organization, and the terms of a social networking site, a “like” or “follow” may not necessarily grant an organization permission to take data like usernames or any other publicly shared information for its privacy use.


Staff Social Media Use

If your organization uses social media platforms, you should consider incorporating a social media policy. Covering topics from brand standards to employee use, this policy is a set of guidelines outlining how employees should communicate your mission and engage with clients, prospects, followers, and donors., as well as the types of media staff are permitted to share online.

In many instances, organizations require clients, volunteers, and others to sign a photo release form, enabling them to use pictures of these individuals in newsletters, impact reports, social posts, and more. These forms help respect the wishes and privacy of your supporters and ensure that what you share publicly has been consented to. Additionally, many social sector organizations may feel conflicted sharing photos that deal with sensitive subject matter or vulnerable populations; a social media policy can help set the tone for your online presence and determine how to best showcase your organization’s work.