Here is a compilation research regarding donor confidentiality, and why we hold to a non-disclosure policy (i.e.: we don’t share donor’s names or any information with parents or schools).
- There is also the so-called Donor’s Bill of Rights, which is an unofficial but industry-accepted guideline for non-profits. This has a huge influence on our policies. http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=30#.VIXhFzHF_hw
- Then there is the IRS Taxpayer Bill of Rights, but that is mostly for taxpayers with the IRS, not with the charitable organization, but it is generally accepted that the privacy and confidentiality sections apply to the charitable organization’s use of the donor’s information as well. http://www.irs.gov/Taxpayer-Bill-of-Rights#privacy
- If you need an actual bill, some refer to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, especially Title V, which refers to the non-disclosure of nonpublic personal information within financial institutions. This is mostly regarding banks and insurance companies, but as a 1) largely financial institution in addition to 2) being a non-profit, we consider ourselves as doubly mandated to keep information secure and private.
- What is more, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued the Safeguards Rule in response to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, further solidifying the position that financial institutions must keep information confidential.
With all these combined, we feel there is no question to the issue. It only makes sense to keep donor’s information confidential. It is good business practice, good non-profit practice, and good legal practice. Besides, in general, most donors expect that their names are completely confidential when they make a donation.
Charity Navigator: A Donor’s Bill of Rights
This Bill of Rights for charitable givers was developed by the following four industry experts: American Association of Fund Raising Counsel, Association for Healthcare Philanthropy, Council for Advancement and Support of Education, National Society of Fund Raising Executives. It is industry-accepted and all quality charities should subscribe to the beliefs espoused here.
“Philanthropy is based on voluntary action for the common good. It is a tradition of giving and sharing that is primary to the quality of life. To assure that philanthropy merits the respect and trust of the general public, and that donors and prospective donors can have full confidence in the not-for-profit organizations and causes that they are asked to support, we declare that all donors have these rights:
- To be informed of the organization’s mission, of the way the organization intends to use donated resources, and of its capacity to use donations effectively for their intended purposes.
- To be informed of the identity of those serving on the organization’s governing board, and to expect the board to exercise prudent judgment in its stewardship responsibilities.
- To have access to the organization’s most recent financial statements.
- To be assured their gifts will be used for the purposes for which they were given.
- To receive appropriate acknowledgment and recognition.
- To be assured that information about their donation is handled with respect and with confidentiality to the extent provided by law.
- To expect that all relationships with individuals representing organizations of interest to the donor will be professional in nature.
- To be informed whether those seeking donations are volunteers, employees of the organization or hired solicitors.
- To have the opportunity for their names to be deleted from mailing lists that an organization may intend to share.
- To feel free to ask questions when making a donation and to receive prompt, truthful and forthright answers.”