Everywhere you turn, another database has been hacked and private user information has been stolen. These breaches have hit every size company and even nonprofits. Additionaly, Facebook has come under scrutiny recently for potentially using personal user data without consent, causing many Facebook users to rethink how they interact through Facebook.

As a nonprofit, how can you ensure that your supporters’ information is handled in an ethical manner and keep their data private and secure from hackers?

As you formulate an approach to technological privacy, here are some ideas to keep in mind.

Educate yourself

Whether taking a class or simply staying informed about the platforms your organization uses, make sure that you are familiar with how your donors’ information is being collected. Don’t wait until problems arise to become informed.

Be transparent

Let supporters know how their information will be used. Don’t overwhelm them with information, but don’t start sending mail to the address that was on their check at your banquet either. Ensure that there is an opt-in process (and appropriate opt-out opportunities) on everything you do online or through the mail. And be specific about how information will be stored and used.  Make sure your organization is compliant with all domestic and international laws regarding the collection, storage, and use of data.

Don’t blame your donors

If your donors raise concerns about their data, don’t simply direct them to your privacy policy (which is usually written in some form of legalese that most of us don’t fully understand) and shrug it off. We all know most people don’t conduct a detailed analysis of how each organization will use their information. Instead, make your policy as simple as possible and address their concerns thoughtfully.

If you handle your donors’ privacy concerns with care and consideration, they will be more likely to support you and recommend you to their friends.