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Stay safe when using social media

If you’re not using social media in your organization, you’re missing out on an important opportunity to connect with the community you serve. But, there are inherent liability risks in increasing your use of social media. That’s why you need insurance that will cover you in case of lawsuits that result from an increased online presence. At Church Mutual, we have created a list of best practices you can use when training your employees and volunteers and expanding your social media reach.

  • Make sure the images and videos you use are not protected by copyright. Don’t just copy and paste an image from another organization’s website. Use websites that offer free images, such as, or purchase a subscription to use images from a specific website. If you want to use material from another organization’s website, contact that organization to ask for permission first.
  • Assign a staff member or volunteer to check your social media sites every day and respond to inquiries, comments and messages. If you aren’t checking your sites, you won’t know if someone posts a negative or untrue comment that requires addressing. Similarly, when people send you questions or messages, you need to respond in a timely manner. Ignoring a concerned member of your community could cause major problems.
  • To avoid libel, double check to make sure everything you publish is true. The last thing you need is for someone in your organization to post an inflammatory comment that leads to a lawsuit. In defamation cases, truth is always a defense—so stick with the facts.
  • Make sure your system is secure. Find someone within your organization who is familiar with network security and who can put security measures in place to protect you from viruses and malware due to phishing scams, identity thieves and human error.
  • Before publishing any personal information or pictures online, obtain permission first. If you publish someone’s picture without permission, they may sue you for invasion of privacy. Pictures of children, in particular, are very tricky territory: You should have a signed release form for any child who is pictured on your social media site. You don’t necessarily need a signed form for every adult, but adults should be aware their image may be used and have the opportunity to opt out.

Usually, the benefits outweigh the risks with social media. Depending upon how much you use it, you could increase your exposure exponentially, which can help fundraising, recruitment and general public awareness. But, as with any other venture, you need the right insurance to protect you in the worst-case scenario. Learn more how you can protect yourself on Church Mutual’s website.