Protect the Nest: Secure Your Data!

data security

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Here at MortarStone we’re all about data. We know how important donor data is to your nonprofit. It gets factored into every decision your organization makes from the tone of your messages to the overall communication strategy. Being able to see exactly who your donors are and everything that they’re interested in ensures that your nonprofit is connecting with your donors effectively.


However, storing all of that big data comes with big responsibility. You’re able to gather everything about your donors from where they live to how big their bank account is, but how are you keeping that information for your nonprofit’s eyes and your nonprofit’s eyes only?

Your nonprofit staff has worked hard to make sure your donors and supporters trust you — don’t throw it all away by using their data carelessly or neglecting security. Ensure constituent data is protected with the following tips. .

Publicize Your Privacy Policy

Ensuring that everyone in your organization understands the privacy policy surrounding constituent data is extremely important. A well-explained and easily accessible privacy policy will allow all of your employees, volunteers, and trustees to fully understand what parts of your donors’ data are allowed to be shared and whom they are allowed to be shared with.

Share The Minimum

Along with having a well-defined privacy policy, all employees, volunteers, and trustees should only have access to the minimum amount of data that their position requires. If an employee is doing a study on percentage of male versus female donors in a certain geographic area, they should only be able to access your donor’s sex and zip code. There’s no need for that employee to have access to information about your donor’s employer or finances.

Keep Access Limited

Keeping with sharing the minimum, only the fewest possible number of employees, volunteers, and trustees should have access to donor data. The fewer people who have access to your constituent’s data, the less likely a data breach becomes. Even if you trust every single one of your employees, volunteers, and trustees, things may happen to shared data that is out of their control. Their computer may become compromised and they may not have the proper firewalls or security programs installed to prevent outside sources from accessing your donor data. Even if you follow all of the appropriate procedures encrypting your data and blocking outside access, it’s much easier to control when very few people have access to it.

Use IT To Your Advantage

There are tons of free online IT solutions that will help you protect your important nonprofit data. But what happens when it’s not just a security breach that can harm your precious information? Properly using cloud solutions to keep your data safe and secure can save you a huge amount of trouble explaining to your donors why you need to collect all of their information a second or third time. The NonProfit Times outlined 5 great ways to keep your data safe online:

1)    Backup, backup, backup: Backup your data every single day. Whether you prefer a physical hard drive over cloud storage, you should back your data up as often as possible. You should also test your backup system by restoring from your backup. This ensures that when you’re in a bind, your backups will be there in working order.

2)    User ID & password security: Keep your passwords fresh, unique, and up-to-date with the latest password and security technology.

3)    Audit trails: Find a data storage system that you like, and keep track of user logins.

4)    Physical security: Whether this applies to a large amount of files or multiple computers within your nonprofit, keeping your building, offices, or rooms secure is just as important as keeping the files on those computers secure.

5)    User security awareness training: Keep your employees, volunteers, and trustees up-to-date on all new security threats, and what they should be looking for. Having your nonprofit workers aware of any threats will allow them to act quickly if anything starts to look phishy.

Overall, securing the data that you gather from your nonprofit’s constituents should be one of your organization’s top priorities. And, once you have that data secure, use MortarStone to dissect and interpret it so you can use it to your organization’s advantage.

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