Social Media Guidelines for Volunteers
Social media is a way for our communities to keep current with Foundation news and to enjoy discussing and commenting on all things doggy and otherwise. You can find the Guide Dog Foundation and America’s VetDogs on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
As a not-for-profit organization, we appreciate that social media can increase our outreach capabilities to prospective applicants, employees, volunteers, and donors. Social media enhances our ability to get the word out about all the good work performed by the Guide Dog Foundation and America’s VetDogs. At the same time, however, if inaccurate or confidential information is released and distributed, our good name could be tarnished forever.
Such misinformation is not just unfair to all of our dedicated staff, volunteers, and other constituents, who work so hard to accomplish the goals and objectives of the Guide Dog Foundation and America’s VetDogs, but also to the people with disabilities whom we serve.
As volunteers, we ask that you abide by some simple social media guidelines.
- Be transparent and state that you volunteer for the Guide Dog Foundation or America’s VetDogs. Never represent yourself or the Guide Dog Foundation/America’s VetDogs in a false or misleading way.
- Post meaningful, respectful comments—in other words, please, no spam and no remarks that are off-topic or offensive. Stick to your area of expertise and feel free to provide unique, individual perspectives on non-confidential activities.
- Use common sense and common courtesy. For example, it’s best to ask permission to publish or report on conversations that are meant to be private or internal to the organizations. Make sure your efforts to be transparent don't violate the Guide Dog Foundation or America’s VetDogs privacy, confidentiality, and legal guidelines for external commercial speech.
- If you are in disagreement with another person’s statement or opinion, please keep your comments appropriate and polite. If you find yourself in a situation online that looks as if it’s becoming antagonistic, feel free to ask the Marketing/Communications team for advice and/or disengage from the dialogue in a polite manner that reflects well on the organizations (i.e., don’t engage in “flame wars”—“flaming” is a hostile and insulting interaction between Internet users; there are no winners in a flame war).
- Please never comment on anything related to legal matters, litigation, or any parties with whom the organizations may be in litigation.
- Be smart about protecting yourself, your privacy, and the organization’s confidential information. Please remember that any social media platform is a public forum. If you wouldn’t say it in public in person, don’t say it online. What you publish is widely accessible and will be around for a long time, so consider the content carefully. The Internet never forgets.
- We welcome your posts and photos about the puppies you’re raising or the many ways in which you volunteer to help us fulfill our mission. Please keep the following in mind:
- If you are posting photos of a pup you are raising, please ensure the puppy is in its puppy vest, especially if it is during a puppy outing or group obedience class. However, please do not post photos of your pup doing anything that is contrary to the puppy raiser manual. Please make sure to tag the Guide Dog Foundation or America’s VetDogs in any photos containing our dogs.
- Do not post photos of the kennels or other areas of the Foundation that are off limits to the general public.
- If your posts contain photos of other people, please ensure that you have their permission before you post the photos.
We hope you enjoy visiting our various social media pages. We want them to be the place you can count on for good information, truthful dialogue, and sense of community and helpfulness. To that end, we do monitor these pages and will remove and/or block anyone who uses profanity, discrediting remarks, personal attacks, or the promotion of a cause or products contrary to our mission.