Every time someone makes a donation to your nonprofit, you collect data about them. This leads to a buildup of data that many nonprofits struggle to handle well. Learning more about the collected data and what responsibilities you have is crucial.
When you collect data from someone who makes a donation, signs up for your newsletter, or signs up at an event, you have the opportunity to customize that donor’s experience. A lifelong cat lover who tells you she wants to support shelter pets will respond best when you send her details about your work with cats. This could range from happy adoption tales to calls for specific projects and needs. If you know these details, tailor her experience to match her specific interests. Of course, do the same for the other donors on your list.
When you capture donor data, you have a resource to draw on that tells you how to personalize the donating experience. In addition to basic contact details, your donor’s giving history, occupation, and preferences can all help you create segments of donors. In the example above, include the donor on segmented lists of “cat people”, and “annual giving campaign donors.” Each of these lists receive different details at different times of year.
As important as donor data is for your marketing and profiling efforts, it is even more essential that you protect information you collect. Protect your database with the same best practices used for any other business. From requiring good password use to restricting private data to only essential employees, you must prevent data loss and theft.
When your donors give, you may not retain their payment details, but safeguard their personal information with care. If you do not have a robust security plan in place, now is the time to do so. Cybercriminals with phishing and ransomware schemes increasingly target donor data. Unfortunately, these hackers know that you prioritize spending time and money serving others, not necessarily on protecting your network.
At the very least, know who has permission to access your donor data, what permissions any volunteers have, and where your data is stored. Regular backups and attention to security help keep cybercriminals away from your data and protect those donors who have gone out of their way to support you.
Using comprehensive, integrated giving software and up-to-date programs ensures your system stays in peak operating condition and that you do not risk a breach.
Understanding that the data you collect on donors is valuable to both your brand and to those who seek to access your network illegally ensures you take all needed steps to secure your donor details. When you take great care of your donor data, it will serve you for years to come.
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