Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Using Facebook for Volunteer Work

I have a problem, and maybe you can help me--because you know more about facebook than I do.

I work with a group to foster conservation and preservation in an urban old-growth forest in Rochester--Washington Grove. You may have seen me write about the work in the Grove before, e.g. here and here.

The group has been operating since about 2008, and although we coordinate with the City of Rochester, we are not incorporated as a non-profit. Our grants and fundraising is funneled through other organizations. For instance, the City of Rochester has a fund set aside for reforestation, and donations to the fund are tax-free. We've raised over $3000 for that fund, and it is informally earmarked for work in the Grove.

We also have a facebook page.

But before you "Like" it, hear my problem. The person who started the page (and is the admin) has left our group, and though he shares our goals to appreciate and preserve this forest, he is not committed to updating the page and is not willing to relinquish control of it. He may have more malign intentions towards the group than mere neglect--I'm not sure. (Politics is not my forte.) Facebook seems like as good a means as any to announce our once-a-month volunteer workdays, to post photos of the trees we've planted, and to build support for this project.

What to do? Report the page to facebook? Under what description? As hijacked? What can of worms does that open? Would it be worth starting a new page instead? Or first?


Dan Hicks said...

I have a little relevant experience — I've been doing the social media outreach work with my food co-op for the past several months. I agree that using a Facebook page to share photos is worthwhile (and the ones that I can see on your page look great).

Facebook's help docs don't seem to be all that helpful for your situation. Perhaps for better, they just say that "The best thing you can do is reach out to the other admins and ask them to add you back." (here) If your organization has the name trademarked or the photos copyrighted, and the admin of the old page is really that intransigent, then the best thing might be to create a new page and have Facebook remove your intellectual property from the old page. Clearly that's going to be a PITA, but I don't see a better option.

Evelyn Brister said...

Thanks for the link. Yes. Well, a new page then. But first--it's high time to do the incorporation paperwork and get all legal.