Many of us are active on social media for both work and fun. We connect with family, friends, old classmates and sometimes even co-workers. But should we connect personally with donors on social media through our personal social media account?

The rules of social media are still being written and the technology is changing faster than the policies can be developed.

As a nonprofit professional, it’s important to know your comfort level and what the potential pitfalls are of social media.donors on social media

Here are some questions to help you think through your boundaries with donors on social as it relates to your work.

1. Who should you connect with on a personal level?

We constantly talk about building donor relationships and their importance to fundraising efforts.

But should you connect with co-workers, Board members, volunteers, and donors through your personal social media accounts? Should you have separate social media page for work? If you connect with one, do you have to accept all requests to connect?

Some organizations encourage their employees to connect with work contact through social media. They want employees to share posts about events and happenings at the organization with their family and friends.

While it may be great for the organization, are there potential problems for the employees? And can it become a conflict of interest if you’re using your personal accounts for fundraising on social media?

Some organizations issue strict social media policies about what is appropriate and inappropriate to post because, as an employee, you represent them in the office and in the community. Does such a policy infringe upon an employee’s right to free speech when it is their personal social media page?

2. What are the pros and cons of people you work with knowing about private life outside of the office?

What happens if you do develop a real friendship with someone from work outside the office based on similar interests? Could it be perceived that you have influence in their decisions related to the organization? Could it be a conflict of interest?

What if they disagree or have an opposing view to something you post? Could it damage the relationship? What happens if they cutoff their relationship with the organization because of something you posted on social media?

Most nonprofit professionals work more than a 40-hour week and it’s important to have downtime to connect with your family and friends and participate in activities you enjoy.

3. What do you do if someone from work tries to contact you after hours about work through social media? Do you respond? Is it ok for you to be available 24/7 for work issues and chat? Why or why not?

For most of us, there are no easy answers to the above questions.

Hopefully these questions have caused you to stop for a moment and think about how you connect with donors on social media.

You may have additional questions based on your specific situation. Does your organization currently have a social media policy? If not, does it need one? If it does, when was the last time it was reviewed and updated?

Share your social media questions and thoughts in the comments below.