- Copyright and trademark infringement. Tip: understand the fair use doctrine. Trap: expecting attribution to offer protection against charges of infringement.
- Fundraising and foreign state registration requirements. Tip: check out The Unified Registration Statement. Trap: disregarding registration laws and their application to funds raised through social media (see the Charleston Principles).
- Events and foreign state qualifications to do business. Tip: think about whether you are responsible for an event organized through your social media channels and whether it triggers the need to qualify to do business in a foreign state (see Make it Your Business to Know if Your Corporation is "Doing Business"). Trap: organizing an event then claiming it's not your responsibility.
- Volunteers (and agents of the nonprofit) or independent supporters. Tip: recognize that the more you control individuals, the more likely they are your agents and the more likely you're responsible for them. Trap: instructing people to act in the nonprofit's name and not providing any rules or limits to their authority.
- Supervision of agents of the nonprofit (authorized communications, confidentiality issues, harassment/discrimination, defamation, bullying, privacy). Tip: provide written rules and guidelines to make clear what is and is not acceptable in an agent's use of social media (whether the agent is an employee or a volunteer). Trap: relying on an agent's common sense to avoid violating any laws.
- Advocacy and rules regarding lobbying and political activities (for agents of the nonprofit and users of the nonprofit's social media and communication platforms). Tip: check out the Alliance for Justice/Bolder Advocacy for resources – you may be able to do much more in this area than you think. Trap: liking political candidates and publishing unsolicited comments with political messages on a moderated site - digital advocacy offers particular challenges.
- Collaborations with other organizations and partnership/joint venture issues. Tip: make sure you recognize whether you want your obligations to one another to be enforceable. Trap: inadvertently creating a partnership in which each partner may be completely liable for harm created by the other partner.
- Employee use of social media and protected activities. Tip: know that certain uses of social media to complain about management and the board may be protected from retaliation – see Emily Chan's article in The Nonprofit Quarterly: “I Thought We Were Friends!” Can Nonprofits Terminate Employees for Their Social Media Posts? Trap: adopting overbroad policies that restrain employees from exercising their rights to engage in concerted activities for mutual aid or protection.
- Violations of policies. Tip: develop internal and external response strategies for violations of policies. Trap: failing to respond in a timely manner (e.g., The Accidental Rebranding of Komen for the Cure – Kivi Leroux Miller)
Social Media For Nonprofits - Slideshare channel (175 presentations and counting)