Ethical Use of Social Media Means Better Fundraising Results

Ethical Use of Social Media

Today, there is more information about people – their interests, their demographic information, their families and connections, and much more, at the tip of our fingers thanks to social media.  From Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIn you can learn an awful lot about a person or organization.  As fundraisers it brings us to a conundrum – how do we use this information ethically in our own fundraising efforts?

Much of this information is what you can get from a prospect researcher.  It is public, although individuals do not always realize what they are posting is going out to the public instead of to a small group on a platform.  A great example of this is Mark Zuckerberg’s sister’s posting of a family photo on Facebook.

Social media policies within your own organization can help you navigate the ethical of using social media.  So can following codes of ethics like the Grant Professionals Association’s Code of Ethics and or the AFP Code of Ethics.  You can use this simple Social Media Policy and Plan Workbook from J. Miller and Associates, Inc. to get started on a social media policy and plan.

Without ethics we don’t have trust.  Without trust a potential donor will not be willing to make a gift to us.

What have been some of the ethical scenarios that you have faced in your own fundraising?  Let us know in the comments.

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Dave Tinker

Vice President of Advancement at ACHIEVA
Dave Tinker, CFRE is Vice President of Advancement at ACHIEVA and is an adjunct professor of informatics at Muskingum University’s Master of Information Strategy, Systems and Technology program. He has worked in fundraising since 1990. Dave is an AFP Master Trainer. He received the Outstanding Fund Raising Executive Award from the AFP Western PA chapter in 2013. Dave is a past president of the AFP Western PA chapter and has served in many volunteer roles for AFP International and his own chapter, where he is currently the Vice President of Resources. He has served in leadership positions on many nonprofit boards including the Brentwood Athletic Association, Pittsburgh Planned Giving Council, APRA Western PA, PA Kiwanis, and Brewhouse Artists. Dave has spoken internationally on technology and fund raising, has had numerous articles published in professional journals and has written curriculum for The Fund Raising School® at Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and the Alliance for Children and Families. Dave received a Master of Public Affairs with a concentration in Nonprofit Management from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry and English from Muskingum College and a Master of Information Strategy, Systems and Technology from Muskingum University. He is also a graduate of Leadership Works - Indianapolis, Class III.

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