The Charity Commission has recently released new guidance to assist charities in effectively utilizing social media platforms. The guidance emphasizes the benefits of social media as a tool for engaging audiences and communicating about the charity’s activities. However, it also highlights the risks involved and the need for trustees to be informed and prepared.
The regulator acknowledges that social media policies are common in many charities and other sectors, as they provide a framework for addressing issues and avoiding potential problems. The guidance recommends that charities using social media should have a policy in place and ensure its implementation. This policy should outline how social media aligns with the charity’s purpose and include guidelines for the conduct of trustees, employees, and volunteers acting on behalf of the charity.
The Charity Commission identified a knowledge gap among trustees regarding the risks associated with social media. Some trustees may lack oversight of their charity’s online activity, leaving their organizations vulnerable. The guidance aims to bridge this gap helping trustees understand their legal duties and providing guidance on risk management and addressing issues that may arise.
The guidance emphasizes that while trustees do not need to be social media experts, they should be aware of the risks and fulfill their responsibilities in line with the law. Trustees may delegate day-to-day social media tasks while maintaining an understanding of their legal obligations. The guidance also addresses the potential negative impact that personal social media activity individuals connected to the charity, such as high-profile CEOs, may have on the charity’s reputation.
To ensure clarity, the Charity Commission consulted stakeholders during the development of the guidance and made revisions based on their feedback. The final guidance provides further support for charities to confidently utilize social media while upholding regulatory expectations. It also includes a list of recommended resources to improve social media skills and knowledge.
The Charity Commission’s Director of Communications and Policy, Paul Latham, emphasized the benefits and risks of social media for charities. He stated that the guidance aims to help trustees think strategically about their social media objectives and protect their charities. Latham also highlighted that the oversight of trustees should be proportionate to their responsibilities but stressed the duty of trustees to act responsibly and in the best interests of their charity.
The full guidance is available on the Charity Commission’s gov.uk page, along with the consultation response.
Source: Charity Commission’s guidance on charities’ use of social media
- Social Media: Online platforms and websites that allow individuals and organizations to create and share content and participate in social networking.
- Trustees: Individuals responsible for the governance and strategic direction of a charity.
Sources: Charity Commission’s guidance on charities’ use of social media