Wise Giving Wednesday: Charities and Data Privacy Day

By H. Art Taylor
President & CEO BBB Wise Giving Alliance
Jul 17, 2020

January 28, 2016 is Data Privacy Day which commemorates the signing of Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection. Although this day has been recognized in the U.S. and Canada since 2008 and in Mexico since 2015, most donors probably don’t associate this data issue with charities. Contributors might be thinking of online retail credit card security, medical office records, or banking information. The reality is that data privacy is relevant to all websites, including those of charitable organizations. Charity websites can collect data not only through online donation collections but also through online message exchanges with visitors, electronic newsletter distributions, and online sales of books or other items.

In fact, respecting online privacy and safeguarding data are key elements in helping to verify charity trustworthiness. That’s why they are addressed in Standard 18(b) which calls for all charity websites to have a privacy policy that addresses the four fundamental privacy concepts of notice, access, choice and security. To learn more about this standard and how it is applied view the text and explanations of the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability and see one of our previous Wise Giving Wednesday previous blogs that talks about this standard.

I also want to call your attention to a recording of a panel discussion, “ Cybersecurity Planning for Nonprofit Leaders” presented by the BBB Foundation of Metropolitan New York. There is no cost to access the video, which includes, among others, experts from IBM Corporation, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and New Jersey.

Finally, BBB has a special website that, although focused on business cybersecurity, includes helpful suggestions that charities can adopt as well – a 5-step approach to cybersecurity that calls for such things as taking inventory of key technologies being used, assessing what protective measures you need and can afford and placing measures in place to alert you to current and imminent threats.


On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video that features Johannah Barry, President of the Galapagos Conservancy (a BBB Accredited Charity). The Conservancy is a United States based organization that works to conserve marine and terrestrial ecosystems and their flora and fauna in the Galapagos Islands.




We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit Give.org or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:

Finally, remember to let us know by going to https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/ if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.

H. Art Taylor, President & CEO
BBB Wise Giving Alliance


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