Knowing personal information about constituents in the online sphere allows organizations to provide visitors with more personalized and meaningful communications and services. But with this benefit comes the danger that the personal data you collect could be misused or its security breached.
Donors know the dangers inherent in providing an organization personal information and will be reluctant to do it unless the organization can ensure them of its safety and intended use.
In the whitepaper “The Growing Concern for Privacy Online” for the National Association of Colleges and Employers Technology Committee, authors Judy Applebaum, Shirley Marciniak and Paula Quenoy recommend that all “Web sites that gather identifiable information clearly spell out how personal information will be used and what steps Web site owners have taken to protect it.”
* Why and how you collect certain information;
* How constituents can view and edit personal information; and
* Who you disclose personal information to and by what method.
The overall purpose of the policy, they write, is to be informative and clear about how you intend to use personal information, develop trust with constituents and create a policy that will be read. Some other tips of note in the whitepaper include:
* Draft the policy keeping in mind long-term goals of the organization.
* Have legal counsel review it.
* Post it on your Web site’s main menu or navigation bar “so it is available to users prior to the collection of personally identifiable information.”
* Inform all staff when the policy is in place.
* Review it with them.
* Educate employees that have access to personal information on how and when this information can be used.
* Set up a means to track and respond to inquiries and complaints regarding privacy issues.
The complete white paper can be viewed by visiting www.naceweb.org/committee/whitepapers/privacy_online.htm