Perhaps you wrote a social media policy several years ago when your not-for-profit set up a Facebook page. Since then, not only has your not-for-profit likely changed, but new social media platforms have emerged. At the very least, the sites you use have probably revised their terms of service. That’s why it’s time to revisit your policy.

The Basics
A social media policy helps ensure that staffers, board members and volunteers use online accounts to promote and enhance — not damage — your not-for-profit’s reputation and fundraising efforts. Without a policy, you risk confusing and offending stakeholders, inviting lawsuits and even incurring financial costs.

To prevent negative outcomes, your policy should address:

  • Which sites you’ll use,
  • Who in your organization has access to them,
  • What subjects they’re allowed to discuss, and
  • Whom they can “friend.”

Also specify whether staffers and board members can discuss their work on their personal social media accounts. If so, require them to post a disclaimer saying that their opinions about your organization are their own.

Evaluate Site Use
As you revisit your social media policy, consider the sites your not-for-profit currently uses and whether they still enable you to reach your target audience. Do your staffers post frequently enough to be effective? Is your follower base growing? If not, you may want to shift resources elsewhere.

Another consideration is whether the social media outlets you use have changed their terms of service. In the past couple of years, many sites have expanded their rights to share user account information with third parties. Such changes may raise privacy concerns within your organization.

Other Updates
Also review who has account access. In general, the fewer people with access, the less likely someone will post something damaging. But, if your not-for-profit is struggling to maintain a regular posting schedule, it might make sense to add new, enthusiastic staffers to the account.

Be sure that, whenever you remove a user from an account, you change the password. Social media sites increasingly are being hacked, so your policy should require longer, more difficult passwords.

Another issue that you can’t afford to ignore these days is intellectual property (IP) rights. Contrary to what some believe, not-for-profits aren’t immune from IP infringement lawsuits. Make sure you have permission from IP holders and properly credit them when you post third-party images, videos, music and text.

Fast-moving Target
These are only some of the many issues that may require you to revisit your social media policy. Social media changes quickly. To use it effectively, pay attention to evolving developments.

PR tips for nonprofits

For most nonprofit organizations, there’s no such thing as too much good publicity. If you’re struggling to get enough attention from media outlets, follow these tips:

1. Seize the day. Raise your nonprofit’s profile by putting out news releases regularly rather than just occasionally. A variety of events, such as the addition of a key staff member, an operational milestone, a new grant you’ve received or the kick-off of a fundraising campaign, can warrant a press release.

2. Target the right media. Go beyond simply sending out news releases and become familiar with potential media targets. Focus on outlets that are most likely to use your press releases — for example, local newspapers that have a section devoted to community news. Get to know assignment editors, their key sections and special features, target audiences, and publication and broadcast schedules. By taking the time, you can pinpoint the most suitable outlets for your news.

3. Time your news. When it comes to good publicity, timing can be everything. You might increase your odds of coverage by submitting requests at the start of a new publication cycle. Another tactic is to host an event or release an important announcement on a typically slow news day. For example, daily newspapers and local television stations may be particularly receptive to requests for coverage on Sundays.

4. Make it local. Providing a local angle on an issue of national importance will increase your appeal to the media. Whenever possible, offer an expert source from your organization who can talk knowledgeably about the local impact of a national story. By positioning yourself and your organization as an authority and noting trends and other interesting items, you can grab the attention of reporters and editors.

Getting your nonprofit in the news in a positive way broadens its exposure, enhances its credibility and enables you to spread the word about your mission to potential donors — all free of charge. It just takes a little strategic planning on your part.

Our Director of Practice Growth, Karen Love and the Founder and CEO of ContentActive, Leisa Holland-Nelson, will be speaking at the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce Woodlands and North Houston Leadership Luncheon on Wednesday, July 20. In their presentation entitled The Friendship Factor: Building Your Network, they will be discussing best practices, sharing valuable networking advice and explaining how they both used networking to find success. See all of the details below and register for this event here.

Woodlands North Houston July Woodlands Leadership Luncheon Social Media Art_V2

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Spring Issue Highlights:

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Texas Business to Benefit From Panama Canal Expansion

The Panama Canal is undergoing a $5.25 billion expansion, and as the leading goods export state and metropolitan region in the US, Texas and Houston are well positioned to take advantage of the expansion. More…

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What You Need to Know About Compilations, Reviews and Audits to Obtain a Loan or Line of Credit

Many new or existing business owners seeking a loan or line of credit face may be required by the issuing financial institution to have a compilation, a financial review or an audit. We look at the differences between the three. More…
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Empowering Middle Management to Achieve Success

PKF Texas’ newest team member Andy Ray shares how he works with middle managers in order to allow C-level executives to focus is on the next big thing, instead of day-to-day operations and continuous improvement. More…

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Cubester® Chat: The Challenges Companies Face When They Recruit Young Professionals

“Mentor” is a popular buzzword in any business environment, and as an action and a title, it conveys a sense of trust and knowledge. Our Cubesters® take a look at the role of a mentor early in a career. More…

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Team First: The ingredients for building and maintaining winning teams in business   

No matter what industry you’re in or how your organization is set up, effective team-building is among the most important skills that any manager or executive can possess. More…

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Tips for Doing Business in Portugal

Portugal is a stable, developed country, but with recent economic upheaval. If you’re thinking about conducting business or running a company in Portugal, here are some things to remember. More…

We are pleased to announce Directors Rafael Carsalade, CPA, Alison Muecke, CPA and Jim Streets, CPA have been named shareholders in the firm, practicing in the tax services group.

“Rafael, Alison, and Jim have contributed greatly to the growth of our firm. My fellow shareholders and I at PKF Texas are extremely pleased to welcome them into our ownership group,” said Del Walker, CPA, Tax Director and Practice Leader. “This is an important milestone in their respective careers and for the firm.”

Rafael Carsalade, CPARafael specializes in international, corporate and partnership taxation. He also provides tax and business consultation for domestic medium to large privately owned and publicly-held companies in the manufacturing, distribution, oil field services, energy and software/technology sectors. He is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish and French. Rafael joined PKF Texas in 2003.





Alison Muceke, CPAAlison’s experience includes tax consulting and compliance, working with closely held entities, including partnerships, corporations and trusts, with her primary focus on high net worth individuals and family owned businesses. She also does significant representation of clients before the IRS related to tax controversy matters. She joined us in 1998.





Jim Streets, CPAJim has extensive experience with tax and business consultation for middle market, privately owned companies including manufacturing, professional services, retail and wholesale and distribution. He also has significant experience with federal and state tax compliance and client representation before the IRS and state taxing authorities. Jim has been with PKF Texas since 2008.


At our Holiday Cheer celebration yesterday, our Director of Entrepreneurial Advisory Services, Byron Hebert recited a poem he wrote for the season. We’d like to share this with you. Happy Holidays from PKF Texas!

‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through PKF
Not one single prospect was allowed to rest

I, in my suit and my associate, old sport
Had just printed our list and we started to sort

The A prospects, B prospects, the Cs and the Ds
Which company do you think we can earn the best fees?

We worked the list hard, it was more than a hunch
We called them, we wrote them, we took them to lunch!

Then what to my wandering ears do I hear?
But the phone, it was ringing and they want to come here!

So we met with the prospect, engagement letter in hand
We have a new client, strike up the band!

Then I heard as my new client disappeared out of sight
Happy Holidays to PKF, where the fit is just right!

Best of the Best, Top 200, When Work Works logo

PKF Texas is proud to announce we have been recognized by INSIDE Public Accounting(IPA) as one of the 50 Best of the Best Firms in the U.S.

The Best of the Best firms are ranked on more than 70 criteria; IPA’s formula removes imbalances, such as firm size or location, which can skew comparisons among participants in the annual IPA survey and analysis of firms. These 50 firms are regarded as the most successful in the profession.

We have also been named to IPA’s annual top 200 firms list. PKF Texas has been a Top 200 firm since the list was first published in 2010.

Finally, PKF Texas has been honored with the 2014 When Work Works Award (formerly the Alfred P. Sloan Awards for Excellence in Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility) for its use of effective workplace strategies to increase business and employee success.

This prestigious award, part of the national When Work Works project administered by the Families and Work Institute and the Society for Human Resource Management, recognizes employers of all sizes and types in Texas and across the country.

Instead of getting a paycheck, imagine being paid in tokens to use at the arcade, or in “points” to use online. And still be fully taxed. Bitcoin is a bit like that.

As a virtual currency, Bitcoins do not exist physically. It is an entirely electronic exchange.

Virtual currency, according to the IRS, is a digital representation of value used as a medium of exchange. “Convertible” currency has a real currency equivalent and can be exchanged into existing monetary systems (US dollar, Euros, etc).

For tax purposes, the IRS says virtual currency is property. State laws generally require employers to pay employees in cash or the equivalent. In the US, if an employee agrees to be paid in Bitcoins, they must be paid in cash first and then buy Bitcoins from their employer, post tax.

As for independent contractors and Bitcoins, the fair market value for when services were performed, measured in US currency, is considered miscellaneous income; thus contractors paid over $600 cash equivalent are subject to Form 1099 reporting. This means an accounts payable department may be more likely to be dealing in Bitcoins than a payroll department.

The number of businesses accepting Bitcoins for payment is reportedly increasing. In the past couple years, companies such as BitPay, Wagepoint, and BitWage, have offered services as Bitcoin payroll service providers.

Is virtual currency the wave of the future? Probably not as such. But some may argue that with direct deposit and online banking, currency is already virtual.

Click here for more information. One of our Tax Associates, Matt Powalski also wrote a great article, “Bitcoin: A True Phenomenon in Digital Currency” about the tax implications of using Bitcoin, which was published by CPA Trendlines.

Jen: This is the PKF Texas: Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Jen Lemanski, this week’s guest host, and I’m here with Kelsey Ruger, the Chief Experience Officer at CogMine. He’s also the President of the Houston Interactive Marketing Association. Kelsey, welcome to the Playbook.

Kelsey: Thanks, Jen. Thanks for having me.

Jen: Now, Chief Experience Officer. That just sounds like a really cool title. I really don’t know what that means. Can you tell me about –

Kelsey: Sure. And it sounds cool. It’s actually a really cool job to have. I think typically when people think of customer experience or design, they tend to think of things like websites or software interfaces. But really when you think about from the customer’s perspective, that experience includes every touch point they have with you. It could be your logo, your branding. It could be the marketing, your copy, your content. It’s all of those things that when you weave them together create this holistic experience that people have with you.

Jen: That’s cool. So it’s not just for technology companies, right?

Kelsey: Definitely not. I think you’re gonna see technology companies use it a lot more. I mean we have a great example in Apple and how they’ve been able to do this with their products and their services. But I think even if you are a service company, this can play a really important part in taking your services to market because the people are touch points too, right? So if you have a consultant who’s out in the field, what they say and how they say it could have a huge impact on how people experience your brand.

Jen: Well, it sounds like you guys are really kind of on the forefront of this trend at CogMine.

Kelsey: Thanks. And I’m definitely looking forward to see how well it works out here in Houston.

Jen: Perfect. Well, thanks for being here. We really appreciate it.

Kelsey: No problem.

Jen: This has been another Thought Leader Production brought to you by the PKF Texas: Entrepreneur’s Playbook. Tune in next week for another chapter.