How Do I Protect Our Donors’ Privacy When Board Members Want Their Data?
Q: Please help! Our small community foundation has great board members willing to help us reach out to donors, past and prospective, but six board members serve on a local college board that is primarily a fundraising board that’s in active campaign mode.
Here’s the glitch: A few of these folks keep asking me for a donor list with all contact data, the stated purpose for which is to help us thank our donors. They’re all solid and honest people, but no way am I providing them with a list of donors who assume privacy when they make a gift to our organization.
Here’s the thing: These board members might forget where they met or learned about a donor and unintentionally drift them over in relationship to the college’s very well-staffed development team. Ugh! I forget stuff, and they probably will too.
—Executive Director (ED), Community Foundation
ED, as long as you’re in the position of denying board members what they’re asking for, you’re in trouble. Instead, simultaneously depersonalize this situation and formalize policies to best respect donors and other friends by putting two privacy policies in place right now.
- We will not sell, trade, or share your personal information collected on the website or through any other business activities with anyone else.
- We will not send you mailings on behalf of other organizations.
- We will only share your personal information if you give us specific permission to do so.
- We will collect payment information, billing address, and other information necessary to process a donation or event registration.
- We will use personal information to protect against potential fraud.
- You have the right to review information that we have collected about you.
The more data you have on your community members and prospects, the better you’ll succeed in engaging them. This general policy should also cover your donors, but it makes sense to have a version just for donors, even it’s just a mirror of the general policy with the phrase “donor” inserted.
This precious data—contact information and insights on how they interact with your organization and communications—enables you to shape your outreach to be most relevant. And relevance rules!
By the way, ED, I know you might need the board’s approval (if they’re hands-on folks) to put these policies into place. If that’s the case, it’s usually a “can’t say no” proposition. Who wants to stand in the way of proper donor stewardship?