YWCA Metro St. Louis Social Media Policy

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1 YWCA Metro St. Louis Social Media Policy I. Purpose Social media encompasses a growing collection of online technologies and tools that allow and encourage users to interact and build relationships by content creation, sharing, commenting, and collaborating. Many types of social media currently exist, including blogs, wikis, social networks (such as Facebook and MySpace), message boards and forums, video and photo sharing, social bookmarking and podcasts. These types of sites are collectively referred to as social media, social computing or Web 2.0. YWCA is developing social media programs to reach new audiences, build and strengthen relationships with constituents and engage donors and volunteers in new ways. As the organization enters the social media arena, it is important to outline a social media policy to guide the use of social media within the organization. There are two primary purposes for the policy. First is to govern YWCA s online reputation conveyed in its official participation in social media. Social media should align with and support YWCA s mission and core values. All online activities should enhance and protect the organization s reputation in these new public forums. The second purpose is to establish guidelines for associates using social media in an official capacity on behalf of YWCA, as well as in personal ways that reflect on their job or the YWCA. These guidelines are structured to mirror guidelines for conduct in the physical world using common sense and good judgment in alignment with ethical guidelines and policies already in place at YWCA. This policy is meant to protect both YWCA and associates as the organization continues to expand its social media use and engagement. II. Scope This policy directs the use of any and all kinds of social media, including, but not limited to, blogs, wikis, twitter, social networks, content sharing tools, social bookmarking and virtual worlds. These are general guidelines, which govern all social media used by YWCA associates in an official, professional or organizational capacity. Some of the guidelines apply to employees using social media outside of their business capacity, and those guidelines are designated as such. This policy is by no means exhaustive. It will continue to evolve as social media technologies. III. Guidelines

2 1. Maintain all organizational policies and codes of ethics These guidelines are informed by and in alignment with all other organizational policies. All YWCA policies, guidelines in the employee handbook and professional codes of ethics are to be maintained whether offline in the physical world or online in the virtual world. Your conduct online is subject to the same YWCA policies and guidelines that apply in the workplace or elsewhere. This includes but is not limited to, policies prohibiting sexual harassment or other forms of unlawful harassment. 2. Protect confidential information Any YWCA associate using social media, whether for business or personal use, must be aware of the ethical and legal codes governing and guiding YWCA and associate conduct. As a nonprofit organization, YWCA requires a high level of trust from its donors, volunteers and other constituents. This means that associates are prohibited from posting, implying or writing about confidential or internal information of YWCA and its donors, including information about corporate donations, personal donations, volunteers, finances and budget, human resources, and the like. Associates are additionally expected to abide by their professional code of ethics at all times, whether using social media for business purposes or personal purposes in which they could be assumed to be writing or commenting in their official capacity. 3. Using organizational social media implies you are speaking on YWCA s behalf When an associate uses an official YWCA social media tool e.g., YWCA s LinkedIn account or YWCA Facebook, or additional outlets as an administrator they are assumed by others to be speaking on behalf of the organization. For this reason, associates with access to these accounts must ensure that content or comments posted or linked from or on these accounts are professional, relevant to YWCA s mission and reflect the organization s quality reputation. Except where an individual is authorized to speak on behalf of the YWCA, associates should not identify themselves on their Facebook or LinkedIn page (or on other social media) as a spokesperson of YWCA. Postings may be done as an individual who is clearly identified as speaking for themselves, but should abide by YWCA communications guidelines. When in doubt, content should be approved by the communications department and/or a supervisor. 4. Clarify the capacity in which you are speaking Only those officially designated by YWCA have permission to speak on behalf of the organization. Most of the time, official opinions and content will be shared through the organizational accounts, and not through personal associates accounts, even for those designated YWCA Social Media Policy 2.

3 as official spokespersons. Except in cases where a person has been designated to speak on behalf of the YWCA, an individual should not attempt to speak on behalf of the YWCA, or express any opinion or view under circumstances which in any way would suggest or imply that the individual is speaking on behalf of YWCA. If an associate comments publicly about any issue in which he or she is engaged as a YWCA employee, or comments on a subject in which an average audience member might assume he or she is commenting in this capacity, the associate should make it clear that the opinions shared are their own and not the opinions of or authorized by YWCA. In the interest of transparency, the associate should be clear about who they are and what their role is with YWCA if a misunderstanding occurs. This guideline applies to any social media use, whether personal or business. If an associate identifies himself or herself as a YWCA associate on a Web site or blog, the associate must adhere to the following guidelines: The associate must make it clear to the readers that the views expressed are the associate s alone and that they do not necessarily reflect the view of the YWCA. Only those officially designated by YWCA have the authorization to speak on behalf of the organization. Statements about YWCA associates, clients, vendors, affiliates and others, including other similar nonprofits is prohibited. Do not distribute for forward any unlawful, deceptive, fraudulent, defamatory, or disparaging content. Associates are prohibited from the display or transmission of sexually-explicit images or messages, ethnic slurs, racial epithets or anything which could be construed as harassment or disparaging to others. Associates participating in these media should be aware that what you write or post online will be public for maybe an eternity. So, be mindful of your privacy and reputation before posting anything. Managers and executives should pay special attention to these guidelines, as their position will be more easily misunderstood as expressing official YWCA positions. They should refrain from expressing any opinion or view in social media about the YWCA or any of its stated positions or policies. 5. Other kinds of personal use YWCA respects the privilege of each employee to engage social media on a personal level as that associate desires. In general, this kind of use is strictly personal, excepting the instance where the associate has been authorized to speak on behalf of the organization. However, personal social media use that negatively affects or reflects on an associate s job performance, others job performance or YWCA s ethical standards is unacceptable. As an organization, YWCA trusts and expects employees to exercise personal responsibility and good judgment when they participate in social media for personal use. Do not discuss YWCA information that is not already publicly disclosed, and do not discuss the YWCA s financial performance. Keep all YWCA undisclosed YWCA Social Media Policy 3.

4 information confidential. Even when engaged in social media, all associates remain responsible for safeguarding organizational information unless it has been previously publicly disclosed in an authorized manner. If you have any doubt or questions as to whether the information has been publicly disclosed, consult with Communications or the CEO s office. As a policy, YWCA does not comment on speculation or rumors; therefore, associates should not affirm or deny them. Associates should not use YWCA systems and domain names to publish social media for personal use, and should not make any type of post that can be traced to originating from the YWCA computer system. If an associate uses social media for personal use, the individual should not in any way identify himself or herself as an employee of the YWCA in any social media. In addition, associates should refrain from making any posting that would tend to negatively affect the individual s professional reputation or character. Personal attacks and hostile online communications should be avoided. Whatever an individual publishes or posts on social media for personal purposes should never be attributed to the YWCA, nor appear to be endorsed by or originated from the YWCA. The privacy of other YWCA associates and volunteers should be respected at all times. Discussions in social media concerning the personal and/or professional lives of YWCA employees or volunteers, or the internal workings of the YWCA (including for example discussions within the organization concerning certain policies or positions), should not be conducted without the prior consent of the individual involved, or (in the case of internal workings of the YWCA), the prior consent of a YWCA senior officer. Associates should not defame or disparage the organization when posting to external electronic communications. Associates should not utilize external Web sites and blogs as a forum for expression of disloyalty or reports of harassment or discrimination. The appropriate process for making a complaint of harassment or discrimination is to contact the Human Resources department. 6. Be the first to respond to your own mistakes If you make an error or inadvertently post inaccurate information, be up front about your mistake, correct it quickly, and move on. If you choose to modify or edit an earlier post or comment, make it clear that you ve done so. If someone points out an inaccuracy to you, investigate it, and if they re right, correct the mistake and thank them for bringing it to your attention. This will result in accurate information being conveyed and serve to enhance your credibility with others. 7. Be aware of the legal liabilities involved Some courts have ruled that outside parties can pursue legal action against individual bloggers for postings deemed defamatory, obscene, proprietary or libelous. You should exercise caution, judgment and integrity with regard to exaggeration, colorful language, use of copyrighted materials, unsupported assertions, and derogatory remarks or characterizations. If you are unsure YWCA Social Media Policy 4.

5 about whether a posting may carry risks of personal legal liability for yourself, you may reconsider the posting or consult with your own legal advisor IV. Violations of Policy Any associate found to be in violation of any portion of this Social Media Policy will be subject to immediate disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment. Nov. 09 Pamela Bolden Senior Communications Executive YWCA Metro St. Louis YWCA Social Media Policy 5.

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