Fundraising – Do’s and Don’ts of using social media 

Fundraising through social media is ever-increasing as NFP organisations continue to create different ways to find new donors, reach a younger audience, create more engaging fundraising campaigns and save time and money during fundraising.

Social media includes Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube etc. This continues to grow as technology progresses and new platforms are developed.

There are many positive features of using social media as it is easy to use, generally free, easy to connect for many people and it enables content creation and sharing is instant. A unique fundraising campaign run through the reach of social media has the potential to raise large amounts of money.  By way of example, the Ice Bucket Challenge is one of the well known social media fundraising campaigns.  The campaign went viral on social media during July-August 2014 raising millions of dollars for the Muscular Dystropy Association.  This success prompted numerous NFP organisations to re-evaluate how they do fundraising.

However, NFP organisations must be warey of the downside to using social media as a tool for fundraising. Social media is far reaching and consequently the fundraising campaign may be subject to various risks, such as the campaign activity itself, negative or disparaging comments, the connection with the purpose etc . This can potentially damage a NFP organisation’s reputation beyond repair.

To assist your NFP organisation in reducing the risks in using social media set out below is a checklist of dos and don’ts when using social media.

Do’s and Don’ts of using social media
What you should do
1 Develop a social media policy to ensure that any social media posts are in keeping with the image and values of your NFP organisation.
2 Manage posts and tweets as the online environment is active 24 hours a day.
3 Use social media as an extension of your traditional fundraising and not instead of it.
4 Use photos and images with the necessary consent of the individual or photographer.
5 Keep donors informed via social media of how successful the fundraising event has been, thank them for their participation and also let them know your final fundraising total and what the funds raised will be used (in furtherance or aid of your NFP organisation’s purpose) after your event or activity has finished.
6 Social Media activity is instant, and all activities are in “real time” so you need to monitor your social media sites and activity post often during any major fundraising campaign.
7 Tailor all your content to the specific event and make sure that all the information is accurate and up to date.
8 Make sure that all staff or anyone involved in managing the social media sites have been adequately trained.
What you should not do
9 You should not use any ideas or concepts that are subject to copyright unless you obtain the necessary rights and/or permission to do so.
10 Avoid accidentally using someone else’s trademarks this could potentially infringe their rights.
11 Protect any personal information that is collected by your organisation during the fundraising campaign which is on social media or elsewhere.
12 Be careful not to repost or retweet any defamatory material that could have been inadvertently or intentionally posted on your social media sites.
13 Will you engage any volunteers to assist with the activity? If so, you will need an acknowledgement that no fees are payable and that any fees associated with the event are payable by the volunteer.

This Checklist should alert you to the potential risks of using social media for your fundraising activities and provide guidance on what you should and should not do to avoid any negative implications from doing this.

If you require any assistance to consider the options available for third party fundraising arrangements, please contact us.



Rosann De Campo


NFP Lawyers
Level 2, 121 Logan Road, Woolloongabba Qld 4102
PO Box 6116, Woolloongabba Qld 4102
Phone: (07) 3160 0010




Joanne Redburn


NFP Lawyers
Level 2, 121 Logan Road, Woolloongabba Qld 4102
PO Box 6116, Woolloongabba Qld 4102
Phone: (07) 3160 0010