Netroots: What every nonprofit should know about the law & their social media presence


    Guest Blogger

    Reporting from Netroots Nation

Fascinating session this morning about Online Activism, Social Media and the Law this morning by Adam Bonin and Abby Levin who presented a host of interesting facts and figures for those of us who are using social media as a part of activism and advocacy particularly in 501(c)3 and 501(c)4 organizations.

Tips and things to watch out for from Online Activism, Social Media and the Law:

  • Whether blogging, tweeting, or facebooking, if you are at work you are at work. If you work for a 501(c)3 organization you need to be aware of who/what you follow on Twitter, who you like on Facebook, and what you blog about! You have to remain nonpartisan in all social media, not just on your website.
  • There is a lot of gray area in terms of the exact rules, regulations and laws coming from the IRS! Because so much of social media changes so fast, there are not always hard fast rules put forth by the IRS about how 501(c)3 and 501(4) are expected to use each piece of media out there. It is important to consult with legal consultants and experts on media about these things.

Wellstone Action! (from MN!) did a workshop on Grassroots Lobbying which I found applicable to all forms of organizing and advocacy work where you are trying to gain support for an initiative or policy.

Tips from Grassroots Lobbying about getting your message across:

  • Be prepared and know what you want to convey in concise fashion
  • Know your role! Whether in a meeting, blog or online forum, be strategic about how you convey your message and where you fit in the conversation.
  • If you are working on a policy initiative make your team effort fluid, highlight different perspectives, work from an agenda, have a precise ask and follow up.

So much more to share…I’ll save some for later.


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