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Friday, May 6, 2011

Social Media: Has Your Nonprofit Considered the Risks?

Posted by Josh Nevarez

Social media is a current phenomenon with companies such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter leading the way. Facebook’s current active membership is now in excess of 500,000,000 members worldwide. With this many users and both personal and professional content becoming public information, significant legal risks may be lurking in areas you never had to worry about before.
Social media has become a very professional topic for most companies and organizations around the world as they themselves want to be “followed” on Twitter or “liked” on Facebook. Because social media is infiltrating our professional lives more now than ever, nonprofit organizations need to be aware of the uses of social media in their organizations and how their employees are using social media in their daily lives. Nonprofit organizations that work with or serve our youth should be the most sensitive to the potential issues that social media may create for their organizations. As such, these and all other nonprofit organizations need a well-developed social media policy that addresses the risks to the organization while being mindful of the rights of the employees.
When creating a social media policy for your organization, some to consider might include:
1) Use of Social Media for Marketing and other Customer/Alumni Relations Purposes
2) “Friending” Students or Youth, Parents, Alumni, Clients/Customers, etc.
3) Work-Related Friends and Non-Work Related Friends
4) Posting Content on Personal Pages
5) Privacy Settings
6) Use of Social Media Sites during Work Hours
7) Use of Employer Identity and Postings to Blogs
8) Protection of Confidential Information
9) Use of Organization Logos, Trademarks and Intellectual Property
10) Monitoring of Electronic Activities
All nonprofit organizations should be protected by D&O or other liability insurance but organizations should look further into these policies and/or the possibility of adding “cyber liability” coverage as a supplement or rider to existing policies. Cyber insurance is designed to provide coverage for losses or claims resulting from activities or issues similar to those noted above. These types of policies or supplements/riders should be evaluated closely as the items they cover may vary quite a bit with cyber liability insurance being very new and definitely not standardized.
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