Note to Health Centers Using Social Media

Please be careful to not use your organization’s social media accounts to interact with political candidate social media accounts. We are very appreciative of all the elected officials posting about National Health Center Week, but as 501c3 non-profits we can only comment on and share status updates and pictures from “official” social media accounts, not accounts being used for political campaigns.

Make sure before you post on or share content from a Facebook page that you look at the “About” section to see if the account is used for the elected official’s office, or if it is being used for campaign purposes.  If it is being used for campaign purposes, the account may say something like “Joe Smith for Congress”, as opposed to an official account titled “U.S. Representative Joe Smith.”

Similarly for Twitter before you re-tweet, verify that the account is only being used for a legislator’s official capacity. Here is an example of a Twitter account being used for official purposes by an elected official:

Health center Facebook pages, and any Facebook pages used by 501c3 non-profits, should never “Like” an elected official’s Facebook page. Even if the Facebook page is being used for official purposes, due to the implication of the word “like” this action could be seen as showing favor for an elected official.

It is ok to recognize and thank elected officials publicly on social media for actions taken to support health centers, such as when a legislator attends a National Health Center Week event. However, public recognitions like this should not happen in the weeks leading up to Election Day if the elected official is up for re-election.

Alliance For Justice has a very helpful legal guide for non-profits on the appropriate ways to use, or not use, social media, titled The Law of Online Lobbying and Election-related Activities: http://www.afj.org/for-nonprofits-foundations/resources-and-publications/digital_age_public_policy.pdf

If you have any questions about using social media for health center advocacy, please contact Lindsey Ruivivar, Associate Director for National Advocacy at NACHC: lruivivar@nachc.org.

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