Data Security

Leaders Release Security Framework for Interactive Messaging Ecosystem Best Practices to Protect Data Assets, Curb Identity Theft and Improve Online Trust
April 21, 2011

The Online Trust Alliance announced the release of its Security by Design Framework and a set of security practices for the interactive messaging ecosystem. To help combat security threats, the OTA has joined with other leading industry organizations, service and technology providers and major brands, to accelerate adoption of effective security measures. 

The ‘Security by Design Framework’ and its recommended practices are intended to provide a basis for immediate action.

Massive Nonprofit Identity Theft
April 15, 2011

Someone has hijacked the tax identity of more than 2,300 tiny or defunct nonprofits, apparently taking advantage of a hole in a new electronic Internal Revenue Service filing system to list the same person as a charitable official at the same mail box drop in Las Vegas.

The charities, most of which seem to be religious in nature, all identify a “principal officer” as one William Alexander of Non Profit Accounting Services, with a stated location at a mail-box office address on N. Rainbow Blvd. in Las Vegas.

Watchdogs Say: Lax Internal Revenue Service rules help groups shield campaign donor identities
March 10, 2011

American Crossroads GPS, an advocacy group that reported spending about $17 million on advertising before the midterm elections, generated controversy by using its nonprofit status to shield donors' identities.

As it turns out, the Internal Revenue Service hasn't even approved the group's nonprofit status. Crossroads filed an application in September but the agency has not acted on it.

Watchdog groups say that Crossroads and other groups active in campaigns are taking advantage of lax IRS enforcement to offer political donors anonymity.

Conn. university claims donor lists are trade secrets as it fights to block their release
February 15, 2011

The University of Connecticut is fighting in court to prevent the release of lists naming its supporters, arguing they amount to trade secrets that other institutions could use to lure away Huskies fans' dollars and loyalties.

Open-records experts say it's the first time Connecticut's courts will have to decide whether public entities, not just businesses, can invoke a trade-secret exemption to keep information private — even if it was created at public expense.

Offering Donors Secrecy, and Going on Attack
October 12, 2010

The American Future Fund, organized under a tax code provision that lets donors remain anonymous, is one of dozens of groups awash in money from hidden sources and spending it at an unprecedented rate, largely on behalf of Republicans. The breadth and impact of these privately financed groups have made them, and the mystery of their backers, a campaign issue in their own right.

“I think most people are very comfortable giving anonymously,” Mr. Sembler said. “They want to be able to be helpful but not be seen by the public as taking sides.”

Building Trust With Donors: Are You Secure?
July 6, 2010

One thing you learn in management school is that trust, like respect, is given — not taken. It has to be earned over a long period of time and can be easily eroded by a single mishap. That is equally true of the relationship between fundraiser and donor. The fundraiser communicates the need, and the donor trusts the fundraiser as a representative of the cause to be a responsible steward of the donated money. One slip and the donor’s confidence in the cause’s ability to use the gift wisely may be damaged.

FEC: Citizens United Conservative Group Doesn't Have to Disclose Donors
June 14, 2010

The conservative political group Citizens United has won a ruling from federal election authorities that it does not need to disclose the donors that finance its political documentaries. Citizens United successfully argued to the Federal Elections Commission that because it primarily produces films, it should be considered a media organization and be exempted from disclosure requirements for political activist groups.

Planned Giving: Too Much Information?
June 1, 2007

No area of fundraising intertwines development staff and donors in more personal relationships than planned giving.

In many cases, all a prospective donor asks is that a development executive supply generic information about how a particular gift plan might function, what the payment rates or tax deduction might be, or whether an organization can serve as a trustee.

One Nonprofit’s Navigation Through Privacy Issues
March 12, 2007

Having a donor privacy policy on your site is a must for nonprofit organizations collecting donor information online. But having a privacy policy doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve got the whole privacy issue taken care of. The Cleveland Museum of Natural History has a donor privacy policy and bill of rights posted on its Web site. But Bill Lynerd, chief development officer of the museum, says one thing that’s recently come up for the institution is the question of whether or not it’s a privacy issue to post its annual report — along with the names of donors who contribute $15,00 or more a year