Privacy, The Dirty Secret

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In 2010, Mark Zuckerberg said that privacy was dead. I believe Zuckerberg must feel a sense of irony with what he has 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, solitude has been a hot-button topic.

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

And, despite the General Data Protection Legislation, 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 ways to get about it. Mostly, you agree to monitoring, or whatever else they’ve clarified in their Conditions of Service, or you won’t have the ability to use the programs that will offer you the news, allow you to store or entertain yourself. That went well.

Donor Privacy

The dirty little secret in the nonprofit sector is that many nonprofits have donor information, including that of volunteers and supporters, but they have not taken the necessary steps to make certain that information isn’t stolen. They also do not take the opportunity to notify people about how their information is used, which is something which everyone with a site online should do. Nonprofits have information such as names, addresses, emails, birthdates, credit cards, social security numbers (especially those organizations that have volunteers that go through background checks), telephone numbers, etc.. It does not take a genius to see how this information can be used 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’s raised the issue of privacy, many nonprofit leaders have said to her they had been unaware that donor privacy is such a priority to donors. They have expressed their support for transparent public privacy policies but have had no idea that they should have terms of support or donor privacy policies that are easily accessible on their sites, for example, that explain what they do with information. Candidly, I don’t understand how that can even be a plausible thought in the world today.

Data and Nonprofits

Most donors should know or understand that if they’re giving their advice to a nonprofit, there’s a likelihood that their name and information is sold. Some nonprofits do so as a matter or revenue because they make money for the names and data that they sell to brokers. If you work at one of the many organizations that sell donor data to brokers, as a point of ethics and ethics, you must clearly state that information for donors in your donor coverage information.

Additionally, in recent years, criminals have picked up on the fact that nonprofits can be a wealth of information and it can be reasonably easy for them to crack the”secure” open. And, to make matters even more concerning for nonprofit donors is that there have been instances when donor data has been compromised, and it’s been determined not to make the information public for fear of causing donations to dry up.

Nonprofits occupy a unique position in our society, and it often includes tax-exempt status, largely , because of the work they do in improving the lifestyles of individuals in a community. As a result of this, nonprofits must provide a couple of minimum standards of advice to make sure that they are operating with integrity and ethics when they accept donor and volunteer information.

They could remind people who enter their identifying information in their sites to remember to delete the internet”cookies,” which are files stored on a individual’s computer, which link back to the site visited. Clearing this info will eliminate any remnants of names, addresses, credit card info, etc. from the web.
Nonprofits should create and publish a”Donor Privacy Policy,” which tells donors how donor and supporter information will be used. An example is provided by Charity Navigator.
Publish “Terms of Service.” Take a look at samples from major nonprofit organizations. You can also look at an example from National Council of Nonprofits or TopNonprofits.
The truth is that every 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 is no reason you should expect people to support your group. There are probably plenty of charities that do demonstrate transparency and should be rewarded with fundraising dollars.