The Mikuska Group  

Non-profits: Are you protecting your donors’ privacy?

Added to the many responsibilities of a non-profit organization is the safeguarding of donors’ privacy. It’s not only the right thing to do, it’s the law. The provinces and federal governments have privacy and access to information legislation that applies to organizations – small and large, for-profit and not-for-profit. Staff and volunteers responsible for donor records and donor information need to make themselves aware of what they need to do to keep information private.

For example:

  • When working in a database or donor list, do you logout when you leave the workstation, even for a short break?
  • Is the information on the screen visible to people coming into a reception area?
  • Do you restrict access to donor records to only those who need to know the information?
  • Do you ensure paper files are kept secure and are locked up after hours?
  • Do you shred confidential information when you no longer need to keep it?
  • Does your organization have a written privacy policy and a designated privacy officer? Is the policy available on your website? Are staff and volunteers aware of the policy and the procedures for compliance?

Privacy is also only collecting keeping information that you need to. Think about what would make sense to a donor if they request to see the information that you have collected about them.

Winnipeg privacy expert, Brian Bowman, of Pitblado LLP, recently posted two videos in the firm’s Whiteboard Sessions that talk about privacy and are relevant to non-profit organizations:

Privacy Forum
Privacy Complaints

Ignorance of privacy law and practice only puts your organization at risk. By paying close attention to the rights and expectations of your donors, you will show them that you act with integrity, and they will truly appreciate it.

Julie Mikuska.


Blog Archives

Articles By Category