Guiding questions for social media policies and procedures

Ruen Govinder | Hashtag Nonprofit

Everyone involved in your social media work should have a solid understanding of the NPOs social media policies and procedures. Clarifying these issues can help you avoid potential problems later.


  1. Who has overall oversight over social media?
  2. Who is responsible for creating and updating the social media calendar?
  3. Who will post to which channels?
  4. Who ensures consistency between language and messaging on social media channels, mailers, and your websites?
  5. Which staff member will be responsible for regularly reviewing all social media channels? This should be a programme staff member who is not responsible for posting on any channel.
  6. How often will you change all social media passwords? Where will these passwords be stored?
  7. Which email address/es will be used to register social media accounts? How will you ensure that the email address is updated when the associated staff member leaves the organisation?
  8. Who manages the regular analysis and reporting on your social media (this can also include reporting on your website and mailers)?
  9. Who is responsible for running advertising on your social media? Do they have a budget and access to a credit card?


  1. What topics will you cover on each social media channel?
  2. What is the tone of your social media channels (professional, light-hearted etc.)?
  3. Are there topics that should not be covered?
  4. If other NPOs are running campaigns outside of your area of work, should you promote them on your networks?
  5. Should you cover current news and events in South Africa, even if it is not specifically related to your work?
  6. If posting outside of the specific topics covered by your policy, should social media staff seek approval before posting? If so, who will be responsible for approving?
  7. Does your NPO have an established style guide for terminology, abbreviations, and illustrations that can be adapted for social media use?


According to South Africa’s Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) which came into effect in July 2021, you cannot post photographs or personal information about individuals without their consent (e.g. pictures used to illustrate an issue). Who will ensure that the necessary written consent is received from relevant beneficiaries? Where will it be stored for safe-keeping should there be a dispute?

A note on staff personal use of social media

In recent years there have been many instances where staff have been suspended or fired for inappropriate comments posted on their personal social media pages. Does your organisation have a policy about staff social media use? Your staff members are likely using social media in their personal capacity. When does what an employee says in their own “personal” space cross that line to becoming an organisational concern? What would happen one of your staffers posted something completely contrary to your organisation’s core values? Will you take action or would you stand on principle to protect your staff’s right to free speech? Even if you choose not to create a policy, it is worth discussing this with staff.


Ruen Govinder | Hashtag Nonprofit

Ruen Govinder is the founder and director of Hashtag Nonprofit. She has over 20 years of experience in consulting and managing online communications and technology for the development sector. She produced a series of e-books on communications strategies for nonprofits, and has worked with clients across Africa and in the United States.


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