New social media guidance for charities

Published by Kimberley Foulkes on 25 September 2023

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The Charity Commission has this month published new guidance for charities about the use of social media and says that they should now have a social media policy in place and ensure that it is followed.

For many charities, social media has provided a lifeline in recent years, to help them to communicate, campaign and reach existing and new supporters. There are however a number of risks for them from its use, especially to the reputation of a charity which could affect its ability to continue to work effectively.

Trustees may not always be aware of the risks which may arise from their charity’s use of social media and without sufficient trustee oversight, this could mean that the charity is vulnerable. The guidance is there to help trustees to understand the risks and how their legal duties apply and what to consider if issues arise to help them deal with them effectively.

The guidance covers several areas including:

  • Trustees understanding of their legal responsibilities when delegating tasks such as social media use.
  • An expectation that the charity has a policy in place which explains how social media will help deliver the charity’s purpose, including guidance for the conduct of trustees, employees and volunteers using social media on its behalf.
  • A checklist to help trustees and employees have informed discussions about the right type of policy for them.
  • Have guidelines to manage the risk that content posted by individuals connected to the charity in their personal capacity may have and the negative impact that could have on the charity by association.
  • Helpful sources of information for trustees if they wish to improve their knowledge of and social media skills.

Trustees are not expected to be social media experts, but having some level of oversight of the activities taking place is important. This new guidance should hopefully help charities to use social media with much greater confidence in the future and we advise that this guidance and your own charity’s social media policy should be reviewed regularly to ensure it is up to date and consistent with your charity’s objectives.

Visit the government website to see the full guidance.

To find out more about the work we do with charities, click here.

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