This browser is not actively supported anymore. For the best passle experience, we strongly recommend you upgrade your browser.


| 1 minute read

Do the ends justify the memes? – Charity Commission publishes draft guidance on the use of social media

Social media can be a great tool for charities to publicise themselves, raise awareness of their charitable objects, and generate income. However, a word of warning to the wise, one wrong post can have devastating consequences for a charity.

The Commission has already exercised its powers in relation to charities that fall foul of social media. This includes former charity Humanity Torbay. In March 2022, the Commission published a report reprimanding the charity for posting inappropriate political content on its Facebook page. The charity was removed from the register and its founder is unable to act as a charity trustee or hold senior employment at a charity for four years.

It’s clear, therefore, that even just one ill-advised tweet, post, or TikTok video can have disastrous and viral consequences for both the charity and its trustees.

In response, in order to assist organisations, the Charity Commission has published draft guidance for the industry and opened a consultation on the subject. Their casework suggests that some trustees have limited oversight of their charities' use of social media, and the guidance, therefore, encourages them to have a greater awareness and involvement in social media strategy.

The draft guidance encourages organisations to manage the potential risks in posting social media content and set a social media policy to include oversight and controls on who is using social media and required conduct to minimise the risk to the charity.

Controversially, the guidance specifically covers the personal social media accounts that can reasonably be associated with the charity, including volunteers, employees and trustees. This raises concerns about the way that the guidance interacts with the freedom of expression and the right to a private and family life. It will be interesting to see how the industry will respond to the guidance and the suggestions that are put forward to balance people’s right to express themselves on social media without their views being associated with the charity that they volunteer or work for.

The consultation is open until 5pm on 14 March 2023. The finalised guidance is expected in the summer.


charities, charity, social media, twitter