The Dirty Secret

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In 1999, the CEO of Sun Microsystems said, “You have zero privacy… Get over it”. In 2010, Mark Zuckerberg said that privacy was dead. I think Zuckerberg must feel a sense of irony with what he’s experienced this year over privacy and the transport of Facebook users’ information to Cambridge Analytica. I think it’s fair to say that this season, privacy has been a hot-button topic.

I’m not certain where things will ultimately end-up, and there’s a good likelihood that, in fact, privacy as we knew it’s finished. In actuality, I think that may already be the case, but there is a distinct tension between sharing and privacy. We continue to share, willingly, our information on social networking platforms and browsers, such as Google, continue to track us all over the net.

And, despite the General Data Protection Regulation, which was set into law in Europe, but affects American companies and nonprofits also, you’ve probably noticed by now that corporate lawyers have already figured out how to get about it. Mostly, you agree to tracking, or whatever else they’ve clarified in their Terms of Service, or else you won’t be able to use the programs that will offer you the news, permit you to shop or entertain yourself.

The dirty little secret in the nonprofit sector is that many nonprofits have donor information, including that of volunteers and fans, but they haven’t taken the necessary actions to ensure that information isn’t stolen. They also don’t take the time to notify people about how their data is used, which is something which everyone with a site on the internet should do. Nonprofits have information such as names, addresses, emails, birthdates, credit cards, social security numbers (especially those organizations which have volunteers who undergo background checks), telephone numbers, etc.. It doesn’t take a genius to see how this information can be utilised in ways that are not appropriate.

In fact, a colleague of mine who worked in the nonprofit sector as a fundraising consultant told me not too long ago when she has raised the dilemma of privacy, many nonprofit leaders have said to her they were unaware that donor privacy is such a priority to donors. They’ve expressed their support for transparent public privacy policies but have had no idea that they should have terms of support or donor privacy policies which are easily accessible on their sites, for example, that explain what they do with data. Candidly, I don’t know how that can even be a credible idea in today’s world.

Most donors ought to know or understand that when they’re giving their information to a nonprofit, there is a likelihood that their name and information is sold. Some nonprofits do so as a matter or revenue because they earn money for the titles and data that they market to brokers. If you work at one of the many organizations which sell donor data to agents, as a point of ethics and ethics, you should clearly state that information for donors in your donor policy information.

Furthermore, in recent years, criminals have picked up on the fact that nonprofits can be a wealth of information and it can be reasonably simple for them to crack the”safe” open. And, to make matters even more concerning for nonprofit donors is that there have been cases when donor information has been criminally compromised, and it has been decided not to make the information public for fear of causing donations to dry up.

Protecting Data

Nonprofits occupy a special position in our society, and it often comes with tax-exempt status, mostly, because of the work they do in improving the lives of individuals in a community. Because of this, nonprofits must provide a few minimum standards of advice to be certain they are working with integrity and ethics when they accept donor and volunteer information.

They can remind people who input their identifying information into their sites to remember to delete the web”cookies,” which are files stored on a person’s computer, which link back to the website visited. Clearing this information will eliminate any remnants of names, addresses, credit card info, etc. from the net.
Nonprofits should create and publish a”Donor Privacy Policy,” which tells donors how donor and supporter information will be used. A simple example is provided by Charity Navigator.
Publish “Terms of Service.” Take a look at samples from leading charitable organizations.
The truth is that each nonprofit–regardless of size–should have a donor privacy policy and terms of service that can be immediately reviewed on their website. If your organization does not have the basics done, there’s no reason you should expect people to support your group. There are likely plenty of charities that do demonstrate transparency and should be rewarded with fundraising dollars.

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