Yesterday, Holly Ross at NTEN, mentioned that a common question she gets after talking about Social Media with nonprofits is from organizations that work with students or young people and are concerned about liability issues surrounding what students who “like” their page may post on their page, or on their own walls. I’ve also gotten similar questions, particularly about whether or not it is “safe” for the organization (and the young people) to post photos on Facebook.
Earlier this week, I met Beatric Ramos who does social media for Alum Rock Counseling, an organization that works with youth on a range of counseling and mentoring programs. She maintains the organization’s Facebook Page. I asked her this question on the video above.
Beatrice says that a social media policy spelling this out is essential. She recognizes that photos of the kids are important to share because it makes the story of their programs come alive, but they want to do it safely. As part of their policy, parents sign a release at the beginning of the year that gives her organization to share all photos.
When she takes photos and posts on social media channels, she uses these common sense guidelines:
- Doesn’t take photos of kids if clothing identifies their school (e.g. wearing a school t-shirt)
- Doesn’t take photos that identify their school name or recognizable landmark
- Takes mostly group photos but often will take the photo so it doesn’t show their face, but the back of their head or back lit so the face is not easily recognizable
- Never includes the names of the kids on the photos or tags them on Facebook
- On a field trip, will take a group photo, but from far away
They have never had an inappropriate comment on their Facebook Wall from students, but have clear posting guidelines and a social media policy in place that provides education.
What are your best tips for social media policy and guidelines for nonprofits that serve young people?