Social Media, Risk, and Policies for Associations

I co-authored this whitepaper with Maddie Grant and Lindy Dreyer back in 2009 just when social media was starting to get the attention of associations, nonprofits and other business entities. Maddie and Lindy started SocialFish and were in the forefront of social media so they constantly got questions about how “risky” social media was for an association. The social media risk question is still floating around along with workshops on the topic.

My view is it’s no riskier than any other media or publishing exposure — copyright or trademark infringement, plagiarism, invasion of privacy and defamation to name a few. My main point was and still is it is more risky to the organization to not participate or to participate badly.

Although this was written several years ago, history has proven us right.

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Risk: The Missing Link Connecting Strategy to Implementation

This whitepaper’s origin is a workshop I did with Elizabeth Weaver Engel, M.A., CAE of Spark Consulting LLC for the ASAE Finance, Human Resources & Business Operations Conference. Elizabeth noticed that the participants had very different views and definitions of “risk” which interfered with their discussion and analysis of risks.

The lack of a common understanding impedes the inclusion of risks and opportunities as a part of strategy thinking. Decisions are harder to make or made hastily without considering the potential costs and benefits of accepting risk. Since decision making can often lead to conflict we expanded our circle to include Jamie Notter who has vast experience with conflict resolution and corporate culture.

So we wrote this paper to help associations improve their decision making speed and ability. Since I’m a risk management consultant I believe any decision making process must include a recognition and discussion of risks and opportunities. Elizabeth writes about the value of strategic thinking versus strategic planning. And Jamie offers some insights into effective decision making techniques and how to handle conflict.

We hope you find this paper useful as you review your strategies and incorporate our suggestions in your planning and implementation.

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