Protecting your privacy when donating
Here's how to help nonprofits while protecting yourself online.
With donations from individuals accounting for the majority of all charitable giving, it’s no wonder that many nonprofit organizations rely on you for donations.
When you support an organization, you trust them to keep your information secure and confidential. With the European Union’s recent implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), you might be wondering if a similar law exists in the U.S. Many states have made strides in an effort to protect consumer’s data privacy, yet there is no federal law currently in place. That means many organizations may be collecting your personal information. But what exactly is being collected?
Websites collect data through cookies
These cookies are not of the chocolate chip variety. Website cookies are small pieces of data from a specific website that are stored within your browser while you search the internet. They do many things, such as keeping track of your browsing activity in order to show you targeted ads for goods and services. Ever Googled something only to see it later that day on a completely different website? That’s an example of cookies in action.
While cookies collect information about where you’ve been online, they also collect data on who you are (name and email), who you’ve been talking to (social media), and what you’re interested in (stores, events, causes, etc.). All of these data points are combined to create a detailed picture of you as a consumer.
While all this may sound a little scary, cookies aren’t all bad – they often add functionality to sites you visit, making the experience faster and easier. Cookies are responsible for remembering your login details for specific websites, like Facebook, Gmail, and even your bank.
This stored data can be especially useful to the nonprofits you’re supporting. It might feel like they’re gathering too much, but this information allows them to give you a tailored experience that aligns with the things you care about. Data also allows organizations to ensure that their programs and services are matching up with what their constituents need or appreciate.
However, we increasingly hear media reports of people’s information being misused. Let’s talk about a few easy ways to protect your information throughout your giving experience.
Protecting your data
Lastly, donating anonymously could help protect your personal information. Although this sometimes means forgoing a tax receipt. Charity Navigator’s Giving Basket is a tool that helps you manage your donations and provides you with the option to donate anonymously. An added benefit of the Giving Basket is that you can donate to one or multiple charities in just one transaction. This means that all of your charitable giving is documented on one tax receipt, even if you give anonymously!
Nonprofits and security
Again, charities depend on your contributions. Arm yourself with knowledge about internet security and you’ll still be able to support missions that you feel deeply about without the extra worry.