Data Security

Social Media and Security: Protecting Your Nonprofit
January 15, 2014

Social media has revolutionized the way people communicate and has become a central player in the nonprofit field. With the help of social media, nonprofits can easily organize events, raise money and find new supporters, all with just a few clicks.

Unfortunately, like anything else that carries power, social media also carries inherent risk. Just as you can easily improve your nonprofit’s reputation with a few clicks, you can just as easily damage it.

Here are a few ways you can operate safely on social media, while still using it to help your nonprofit thrive.

Do Not Let This Happen to Your Organization
February 15, 2013

While volunteer and professional fundraisers must have useful information to effectively perform, organizations must protect sensitive items and keep them confidential. I’m going to provide you with eight tips that will help you keep your organization safe and your prospects and donors happy. Before a crisis happens at your organization, take the time to review your organization’s own prospect research and information sharing protocols.

U.S. Court Says Tax-Exempt Groups Can Keep Donors Secret
September 19, 2012

A U.S. appeals court ruled on Tuesday that tax-exempt groups spending millions on election-time ads this campaign season can keep their donors secret, turning aside an attempt by a Democratic congressman to force disclosure.

The unanimous decision reversed a ruling by a lower court in March that had sent scores of tax-exempt groups scrambling for ways to protect their donors' names and continue to run ads ahead of the Nov. 6 presidential and congressional elections.

New California Disclosure Rules for 501(c) Organizations
June 15, 2012

When does a 501(c)(6) trade association have to disclose its members to the public? Not often, as the schedule of contributors provided to the IRS is not a public document. California has other ideas about that. If a 501(c) organization makes independent expenditures in California state races, or is involved in a ballot measure, new rules from the California Fair Political Practices Commission will require disclosure of certain members or contributors.

Judge Tosses Rule Shielding Campaign Donors
April 2, 2012

The Federal Election Commission overstepped its bounds in allowing groups that fund certain election ads to keep their financiers anonymous, a federal judge ruled Friday. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson's ruling could pave the way to requiring groups that spend money on electioneering communications — ads that don't expressly advocate for or against a candidate running for federal office — to disclose their donors.

The FEC ruled in 2007 that corporations and nonprofits did not have to reveal the identities of those who financed such ads.

Watchdogs Call on Presidential Campaigns to Name Big Fundraisers
March 14, 2012

Nine government watchdog groups called on the 2012 presidential candidates to lift the veil of secrecy that shrouds their biggest fundraisers, the so-called "bundlers" who use their connections to steer millions of dollars from well-heeled donors to the campaigns of their choice.

In letters sent to President Obama and Republican candidates Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, the organizations asked that the campaigns disclose specific information about their major bundlers, identifying them by name and stating the precise amounts they raise.

Charities That May Have Benefited From Hacking Seek to Make Refunds
December 28, 2011

Two big charities, the American Red Cross and CARE, said they are investigating reports that computer hackers gave them gifts using credit-card information stolen from a global intelligence company—and they promised to help any victims of fraud get their money back.

The hackers said they had used the credit-card data to make some charitable contributions and posted screen shots of receipts for donations to groups including the Red Cross and CARE.

Hackers hit security firm and donate stolen funds
December 27, 2011

A hacking movement calling itself Anonymous said yesterday that it stole thousands of credit card numbers and other client information from a U.S. security think tank with customers including the Air Force, defense contractors, police agencies, technology companies and banks. One hacker said the goal of the attack on Stratfor Global Intelligence was to pilfer funds from individuals’ accounts to give away as Christmas donations, and some victims confirmed that unauthorized transactions were made using their credit cards.

An Overview of Secure Credit Card Donation Processing & PCI Compliance
September 7, 2011

Fundraisers typically don’t give much thought to this part of online donation processing systems until something goes wrong, as it has recently in several high-profile cases involving major for-profit companies. The reality is that online credit card processing is very safe and secure, thanks in large part to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) created by the PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC).