So who is looking out for the donor? In 1993, the Association of Fundraising Professionals published the Donor Bill of Rights.
In January, on NPTechProjects we published a blog post about our views on donor privacy. We state very clearly our view that a nonprofit organization has an obligation to be the stewards of the data from their donors.
As a follow-up, Birgit and I discussed the topic in a podcast episode. We again expressed why we feel that it is the responsibility of a nonprofit to protect donor privacy and to be more transparent about it. We use the word Steward as an indicator of how donor information is held and shared.
So who is looking out for the donor? The Association of Fundraising Professionals published more recently the eDonor Bill of Rights*. Let’s look at both:
The Donor Bill of Rights (AFP 1993)
I. To be informed of the organization’s mission, of the way the organization intends to use donated resources, and of its capacity to use donations effectively for their intended purposes.
II. To be informed of the identity of those serving on the organization’s governing board, and to expect the board to exercise prudent judgment in its stewardship responsibilities.
III. To have access to the organization’s most recent financial statements.
IV. To be assured their gifts will be used for the purposes for which they were given.
V. To receive appropriate acknowledgement and recognition.
VI. To be assured that information about their donation is handled with respect and with confidentiality to the extent provided by law.
VII. To expect that all relationships with individuals representing organizations of interest to the donor will be professional in nature.
VIII. To be informed whether those seeking donations are volunteers, employees of the organization or hired solicitors.
IX. To have the opportunity for their names to be deleted from mailing lists that an organization may intend to share.
X. To feel free to ask questions when making a donation and to receive prompt, truthful and forthright answers.
Philanthropy is based on voluntary action for the common good. It is a tradition of giving and sharing that is primary to the quality of life. To assure that philanthropy merits the respect and trust of the general public, and that donors and prospective donors can have full confidence in the nonprofit organizations and causes they are asked to support, we declare that all donors have these rights:
Principles of the eDonor Bill of Rights
The eDonor Bill of Rights is intended to complement the original document and provide further and more detailed guidance for the new world of online giving. In addition to the rights outlined in the Donor Bill of Rights, online donors should demand the following of their online solicitors:
- To be clearly and immediately informed of the organization’s name, identity, nonprofit or for-profit status, its mission, and purpose when first accessing the organization’s website.
- To have easy and clear access to alternative contact information other than through the website or email.
- To be assured that all third-party logos, trademarks, trust marks and other identifying, sponsoring, and/or endorsing symbols displayed on the web site are accurate, justified, up-to-date, and clearly explained.
- To be informed of whether or not a contribution entitles the donor to a tax deduction, and of all limits on such deduction based on applicable laws.
- To be assured that all online transactions and contributions occur through a safe, private, and secure system that protects the donor’s personal information.
- To be clearly informed if a contribution goes directly to the intended charity, or is held by or transferred to a third party.
- To be clearly informed of opportunities to opt out of data lists that are sold, shared, rented, or transferred to other organizations.
- To not receive unsolicited communications or solicitations unless the donor has “opted in” to receive such materials.
What is a nonprofit to do?
First, think about the Donor Bill of Rights and decide whether you agree. Second, if you are using a fundraising professional, ask them to review all of your materials, compare against the Donor Bill of Rights, and make recommendations.
OR write to us and let’s begin a conversation about this issue. You can reach me at Jim.OReilley@NPTechProjects.org . If you provide permission I will post your comments. Of course, you can always link this blog onto your site to get reactions from your guests.
When we looked at ourselves, we realized that when someone signed up for our newsletter we were not telling them that we needed to share their contact info with our email provider, so we inserted this on that page.
We use Mailchimp as our email marketing provider. Apart from that, we will not share your email with anyone outside the team of NPTechprojects.
Episode #20 Donor Data Privacy
If you’d like to explore this topic with us some more, Birgit and I discussed also in an episode of our podcast.
* © 2016, Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), all rights reserved. Reprinted with permission from the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Graphic by Rita Morais, found on Unsplash.com