Social Media and the Standards for Excellence®

With the advent of social media in nonprofits, the Standards for Excellence Institute® has received several requests for resources and assistance in handling the benefits and challenges of social media.

At this time, we are in the midst of convening a taskforce of industry experts to explore issues related to technology.  As part of that effort, we are exploring the idea that we should consider a new technology performance indicator for the Standards for Excellence® code and a potentially a new educational resource packet as well.  If you have ideas on how the Standards can be improved in this focus area, please forward suggestions to me at

As organizations consider their own guidelines and policies around social media, they will want to be sure to keep the best practices outlined in the Standards for Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector® in mind. 

  •  In providing its programs or services, a nonprofit should act with the utmost professionalism and treat persons served with respect. Where appropriate, a nonprofit should have policies in place that protect the confidentiality of personal information and should provide a grievance procedure to address complaints.   Nonprofits should regularly monitor the satisfaction of program participants.  (From Section I of the Standards for Excellence® code, Mission and Program).
  • A nonprofit should have written personnel policies and procedures, approved by the board of directors, governing the work and actions of all employees and volunteers of the organization.   In addition to covering basic elements of the employment relationship (e.g. working conditions, employee benefits, vacation and sick leave), the policies should address employee evaluation, supervision, hiring and firing, grievance procedures, employee growth and development, confidentiality of employee, and client and organization records and information. (From Section IV of the Standards for Excellence® code, Human Resources)
  • An organization should provide employees a confidential means to report suspected financial impropriety or misuse of organization resources and should have in place a policy prohibiting retaliation against persons reporting improprieties. (From Section V of the Standards for Excellence® code, Finance and Legal)
  • Nonprofits should provide members of the public who express an interest in the affairs of the organization with a meaningful opportunity to communicate with an appropriate representative of the organization. (From Section VI of the Standards for Excellence® code, Openness)
  • Nonprofits should have at least one staff member who is responsible to assure that the organization is complying with both the letter and the spirit of Federal and state laws that require disclosure of information to members of the public. (From Section VI of the Standards for Excellence® code, Openness) 
  • Nonprofits should respect the privacy of donors and safeguard the confidentiality of information that a donor reasonably would expect to be private. (From Section VII of the Standards for Excellence® code, Fundraising)

For copies of the Standards for Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector®, please click here.  Discounts available for bulk orders.


About Amy Coates Madsen

Amy Coates Madsen serves as the Program Director of the Standards for Excellence Institute.
This entry was posted in Fundraising, Human Resources, Mission and Program, Openness. Bookmark the permalink.

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