Philanthropy and Giving Insights





5 Steps to Be More Secure with Your Donor Information


Donor relationships are built on trust. There are few things that can break that trust quite like having your donors’ information stolen from your database. Fortunately, there are five easy steps you can take to make sure your donor information is more secure.

 

  1. You should have an SSL certificate for your website.

If you already have an SSL certificate for your website, this may seem like a no-brainer. But unsecured sites are a major security risk—and with 21% of the top 100,000 websites yet to adopt SSL technology, a widespread one.


Purchasing an SSL for your website can be done through countless online stores for a very low fee. Many of these sites also provide support to help manage and set up the certificate, in case you could use a hand.

 

  1. Basic data security software is a must.

Firewalls and antivirus software are absolute essentials. With countless solutions out there from Norton AntiVirus to McAfee and more, firewall and antivirus programs help protect your network from unsavory characters.


In addition to these tools, make sure that your staff understand why the organization uses them and how they can join the effort to keep data secure. Training on using strong passwords and download security can go a long way to avoiding new vulnerabilities caused by your own staff. If your team understands why the rules are in place, they are much more likely to follow them and avoid taking unnecessary risks.

 

  1. Limit staff access to essential personnel.

One of the best ways to keep donor information secure is to limit the various points of access to the information. One approach is to ask simple questions, like “Who needs access to this data to do their daily work?” If someone doesn’t need to have access to donor information, restricting the data further can remove another potential vulnerability.


An easy way to ensure staff who do have access aren’t leaving your organization vulnerable is by using tools like VPN access for staff who are logging in remotely or on mobile devices. Virtual Private Networks (VPN) are one of the most popular and effective security tools today and can help keep your information secure. When coupled with strong passwords for your users, this can make all the difference in making sure your organization is secure.

 

  1. Encrypt your donor database.

Whatever software you are using for your donor information and records, it is vital to keep it updated and make sure it is encrypted. While the most popular data to protect is financial information like credit card numbers, breaches that acquire home addresses and phone numbers can result in spam mail and calls to your donors that will frustrate them and cause them to complain to your team. And, if your online privacy policy asserts that you don’t share their information, a breach like this could leave you liable to legal action!

 

  1. Use an up-to-date donation solution that protects and encrypts your donor information.

It is always important that your donation solution is PCI compliant, but the tool you use can go beyond these requirements. Newer solutions like OneClick Donations® have your donors connect their online giving to their mobile phones, allowing for a two-factor authentication that keeps their information safe and gives them confidence in your organization.


While donor information security can be a daunting topic, there are easy steps to take right away to ensure that you protect their information. Caring for your donors’ private details is part of caring for your donor—it’s a thankless job until an incident happens. Take action now, and save yourself significant stress down the road.