Online communications policy

With the increase of social media and online platforms, there has been an increase in the number of Canadian Women’s Foundation employees and volunteers participating in online spaces such as personal websites, blogs, social networking sites, wikis, forums and photo and video sharing sites.  

The following guidelines will help employees and volunteers speak about their involvement with the Canadian Women’s Foundation in an open, transparent and responsible way. The Canadian Women’s Foundation recognizes the wide reach that communication in online communities can have – both positively and negatively.

While communication on behalf of the organization is the primary responsibility of the Marketing & Communications department, the use of social media by staff, board, volunteers, donors and other stakeholders  is encouraged and can further the organization's goals. The following guidelines are designed to provide helpful, practical advice and also to protect the Canadian Women’s Foundation.

Why "personal" and "private” are not the same

While communication through social media networks is primarily a personal matter, this is not the same as it being private. In a lot of cases, written conversations inside these networks can be found through search engines such as Google. Even in cases where only your contacts can see what you write, there is a possibility that one of them will forward what you say and make it visible to a wider audience. As a result, personal conversation within social media networks should be considered public rather than private.

WHAT SHOULD YOU NEVER DO WHEN POSTING ONLINE

 

Reveal confidential information

If you do choose to blog or talk about the Canadian Women’s Foundation in social networks or on your personal website, please respect the privacy and confidentiality of the women, girls, donors and grantees that we work with on a daily basis. The Canadian Women’s Foundation encourages you to talk about the work you do and make meaningful connections with your readers or followers, but please refer to our privacy policy and our confidentiality policy to ensure that you are not sharing any confidential information.

No stories of women or girls, grantees or donors should be cited or referenced without their approval. Never identify a woman, girl, grantee or donor by name without their permission and never discuss confidential details of their situation. It is acceptable to use general details or non-identifying pseudonyms so long as the information does not violate any non-disclosure agreements that may exist or make it easy to identify the person or organization about which you speak.  Be careful to protect the dignity of women, girls, donors and grantees by not posting negative items that reflect on them, even if they are not named.

Employees are restricted from referencing donors, partners or suppliers by name, or the confidential details of their projects or meetings, in their social media disclosures without first obtaining the permission of the individual or organization that the employee wishes to reference.

If you find illegal, unsafe or unethical conduct by a Canadian Women’s Foundation employee or volunteer, please do not discuss it on your blog or social networking account. Instead, please reach out to your supervisor or our CEO to discuss your concerns so that the proper systems can be put in place.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO WHEN POSTING ONLINE

 

Be a good ambassador

While it is everyone's personal decision whether to use social media networks and tools or not, you should always be aware that your behavior and opinions reflect on the organization. Even if you are not writing about the organization or our issues, it is very easy for someone to connect your blog or social media account to your workplace through a simple search. If this is a concern, consider writing under a pseudonym or unnamed handle (i.e. TorontoGirl) instead of using your name.

Be transparent

If you are writing about the Canadian Women’s Foundation, then you have an obligation to disclose your role within the organization.

Be Accurate

Even though your personal website, blog posts, tweets or remarks on social networking sites may be comprised of personal opinion, do your research and check that your facts are accurate. Make sure that you have permission to post copyrighted or confidential information (e.g. images).

Be Considerate

When you post something online, anyone can read it, including your colleagues, grantees, donors and the media. Before posting anything, imagine your supervisor, family or a local reporter reading what you have posted. This is a great way to determine if what you are posting is appropriate and ready to be shared online.

Harassment, threats, intimidation, ethnic slurs, personal insults, obscenity, racial or religious intolerance and any other form of behavior prohibited in the workplace is also prohibited via social media channels.

Employees should always be respectful of every individual’s legal right to express their opinions, whether those opinions are complimentary or critical. By respectfulness, we mean tolerance and consideration for the opinions and positions of others, whether they are in alignment or conflict with your own.

Exercise Good Judgment

Refrain from comments that could be interpreted as slurs, demeaning, inflammatory or otherwise negative. Social media is full of varied opinions and it is great to share your view, but you never want to be viewed as offensive.

If you have questions or concerns about if your opinion is contradictory to the position taken by the Foundation on an issue, don’t hesitate to speak with the Communications team or your supervisor for clarification before posting or signing an online petition.

Respect Work Commitments

Remember that tweeting, facebooking, blogging and other social networking activities are personal and should be done on your own time. Please don’t let your online presence interfere with the commitments you have as an employee.

Let the Communications team know about your social networking

Having employees and volunteers tell their personal stories and showcasing their contributions is a great way to extend our voice and build awareness about the work that the Canadian Women’s Foundation does each and every day. We can be cross sharing and amplifying those diverse voices if we are aware of them.

Use Disclaimers

Make it clear to your readers that the views you are expressing are yours and not necessarily those of the Canadian Women’s Foundation. Feel free to use the sample blog disclaimer as posted below.

The views expressed in the posts and comments of this blog do not necessarily reflect the Canadian Women’s Foundation. They should be understood as the personal opinions of the author. No information on this blog will be understood as official. Official views of the Canadian Women’s Foundation can be found online at www.canadianwomen.org.

DISCIPLINE AND CONSEQUENCES

Misuse of social media can have serious consequences, both for you and also for the Canadian Women’s Foundation. Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that their staff follows the social media policy, including taking the necessary disciplinary action when needed.

If you do not follow the principles set out in the Canadian Women’s Foundation Online Communications Policy, you may face disciplinary action. This could involve a verbal or written warning from your supervisor or in serious cased, termination of your employment.


QUESTIONS

Email info@canadianwomen.org for more information or clarification of any of the above.
This is a living document and will continue to be updated to provide guidance to employees and volunteers.