Donors are an essential aspect of nonprofit organizations and maintaining strong relationships with those donors is vital to a nonprofit’s success. One of the best ways to maintain donor relationships is by keeping their information secure, such as contact information, and financial details. This data is not only valuable to your organization, as it’s necessary for requesting donations and fundraising, but even more so to the people who provide it. Your donors should trust that you understand the legal responsibilities of maintaining their personal information in order to protect them, and your nonprofit. Here are some best practices to ensure your donor’s data stays private and secure.
Evaluate Your Network Security
All organizations, whether nonprofit, for-profit, large or small, are susceptible to data breaches. Any information that could be of value to a hacker can put an organization at risk. While this may sound like a scare tactic, it’s just the reality of our advancing technology, which is why it’s important to take the necessary steps and precautions to avoid cyberattacks.
In order to protect your donor’s data (and your nonprofit in general), it’s important your network is encrypted and secure. You never want to use public networks to access business materials. If you’re unsure about encrypting your network, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is one of the most secure ways access your network. A VPN is a cloud-based network that allows you and your employees to securely access company resources from any location. It also protects any data or information that is sent to or from the company server, so your donor’s data is secure as well.
Use Strong Passwords
We’re all guilty of using extremely insecure passwords at some point in our digital endeavors. When you have multiple accounts, it can be tempting to reuse the same simple, easy to remember passwords. While you can’t decide what your donors use for passwords elsewhere online, you can still contribute to their safety by requiring strong passwords on your site to protect them from identity theft or attacks. The ideal strong passwords include a combination of letters and numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters, and minimum 8 characters in length.
Create a Culture of Safety and Privacy
Unfortunately, many data breaches happen at the hands of an employee, to no fault of their own. One of the best things you can do as a nonprofit is educate your community on the importance of cyber security. Here are some ways to boost a culture of safety at your nonprofit:
Implement Training in Phishing Prevention
Phishing scams can come in the form of emails with links, and when someone clicks the link, it could install viruses or ransomware that will wreak havoc on your infrastructure. Training your team to recognize phishing emails can help keep your organization’s data secure.
Protect Personal Devices
Make sure all employees password-protect their personal devices when at work. It’s also important they connect their devices to your secure network and avoid using public networks when at the office.
Keep Your Software Updated
Keeping your software up to date is vital to having a good security system at your nonprofit. Unfortunately, they’re also one of the easiest things to overlook. Hackers can take advantage of an out-of-date installation, leaving you vulnerable to a cyberattack. Updating your systems, or setting them to update automatically, will help you avoid any security holes.
Work with a Managed Service Provider
Here at Lighthouse Technology Partners, we understand security precautions aren’t always top of mind. As a managed service provider, we can help make sure your network is secure, your passwords are strong, implement updates, and help implement security training for your employees. We can create a culture of safety and keep your donor’s information secure, so you can focus on running a successful nonprofit.