Social Media Guidance for Charities

An update on the new guidance on social media produced by the Charity Commission

The Charity Commission has released new guidance on the use of social media for charities which provides a very useful tool for trustees.

The Charity Commission recognises that social media has become a powerful way for many charities to promote their work, engage their supporters and campaign for change. The public is also using social media to engage with or debate the work of charities.

However, the Charity Commission’s casework suggests that some trustees have limited oversight of their charities’ use of social media compared to other aspects of their communication and engagement strategy. This might be due to a lack of confidence or understanding, or because uptake of social media has developed through staff or volunteers.

The Charity Commission understands that whilst it is reasonable for trustees to delegate the day-to-day operations of social media, it is important that there is an appropriate shared understanding of the charity’s use of social media and the risks it can bring.

The aim of the guidance is to help trustees improve this understanding, and to encourage charities to adopt a policy on social media as a means of setting their charity’s approach.

The main takeaway from the guidance is that whilst social media can be very useful, it also presents risks as its fast pace can increase the risk of posting content that is inappropriate or, in extreme circumstances, breaches the law and removing or deleting content can be difficult.

As a result, if your charity uses social media, you should ensure that you:

  • adopt a social media policy so that you have internal controls in place that are appropriate, proportionate and are clear to everyone using social media;
  • ensure you use social media only to help you achieve your charity’s purpose(what your charity was set up to do) and in a way that is in your charity’s best interests;
  • comply with relevant laws and regulations;
  • ensure any campaigning or political activity that you do on social media complies with the rules on political activity and campaigning; and
  • ensure your processes help you keep people safe online.

View the Charity Commission Guidance here.

Any further queries? VODA can offer support, advice and training to your VCSE group. Please contact VODA’s Core Services Team by telephone on 0191 643 2636 or by email on [email protected].

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