Keeping your Nonprofit Safe and Happy Online: Dealing with Harassment | Beth's Blog

Keeping your Nonprofit Safe and Happy Online: Dealing with Harassment

Digital Strategy


Note from Beth:   Many nonprofit social media managers are also serve as online community managers, supporting communities of their nonprofit’s fans and supporters on social media channels.  Sometimes, they do encounter people online that are less than polite and cross the line over to online harassment.  Here’s some simple ways to handle these uncomfortable situations.

Keeping your Nonprofit Safe and Happy Online: Dealing with Harassment
guest post by Hannah Donald

It’s pretty well recognised that social media has become an essential tool for non-profits to reach those important to their organisation; whether that’s fundraisers, donors, volunteers or beneficiaries. In fact, 71% of non-profits agree that social media is effective for online fundraising. So the chances are your organisation already has a social media presence, and are using it in a variety of different ways to compliment your offline campaigns.

Sadly, online harassment is more prevalent that ever, with harassers using recent political events as a catalyst to target organisations helping vulnerable people. Because of this, online harassment if affecting the great work charities and nonprofits are doing, which shouldn’t be allowed to happen. Part of looking after the health and wellbeing of your organisation, including your staff, is making sure that they’re safe and happy online, and an important aspect of this is ensuring you’re dealing with online harassment in the most effective way. Although there’s no magic solution to stop online harassment, there is an easy and efficient way to deal with it that can minimise any negative effects.

In order to help charities, non-profits and social enterprises deal with unwanted abuse online Social Misfits Media have teamed up with their friends at Hollaback! to create a free, downloadable infographic. Social Misfits Media came up with the idea of putting together this guide in response to organisations that had voiced concerns over being unsure of how to handle any negativity online. Ignoring comments, or responding in an inconsistent way, could lead to further issues; this infographic is to be used in the moment, to make sure your organisation has a consistent way of dealing with online abuse, to keep your cause, and your staff, safe and happy. By sharing the infographic with your team you can be sure that you have a succinct policy in place and don’t get caught off guard by any unwanted comments.

The infographic has a simple-to-follow flowchart, which will first of all help you to understand whether a comment is online harassment, or whether it’s just a form of feedback. The flowchart will then proceed to advise you how best to deal with the comment depending on it’s nature, with outcomes ranging from acknowledging it with a reply, to taking a screenshot of it incase of escalation and then contacting the social media platform on which it was sent. The infographic advises that when you do respond to a comment you should always consider citing a source in your reply, being timely and responding as soon as possible, and keeping your tone of voice calm. Whilst these three pointers may seem simple, it can be difficult doing this when you feel angry or frustrated by someone else’s negative comments, so it’s important to keep these words of advice in mind.

For non-profits who struggle with time and resources, or who just need some help and advice around dealing with online harassment, this infographic is a handy tool to disseminate amongst your staff. Once you put the flowchart into use, you can hopefully feel in control of, and not deterred by, any negative comments you receive online, allowing you to focus on the good by reaching those who need your organisations help and support the most.

Hannah Donald is the Community Manager at Social Misfits Media, specialising in helping charities, foundations and non-profits better use social media to reach their goals. Follow Hannah and Social Misfits Media at @HannahDonald20 and @MisfitsMedia.

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