Donor Database Security

Donor Database security was topic of meeting of Nonprofit Council at Somerset County Business Partnership.

Nonprofit Council meeting of the Somerset County Business Partnership.

Today, I attended an event hosted by the Nonprofit Council of the Somerset County Business Partnership.  The topic:  “Protecting Your Best Kept Secret:  Donor Database Security”.  The tips shared by the panelists are applicable to nonprofits & for-profits alike!  Everyone got tremendous value and I thought I’d share some of my key takeaways:

  1. Cyber security threats have eclipsed nuclear threats here in the U.S. and 1/3 of all breaches are against companies & organizations with fewer than 100 employees!
  2. Your #1 Priority should be back-ups, business continuity and disaster recovery.
  3. Never use a thumb drive you find laying around on the floors/tables of public places. They could provide hackers immediate access to your computer when you plug it in.
  4. Never use free music sites.
  5. Wipe all smartphones before getting rid of them.
  6. Change your passwords regularly with a minimum of 8 characters. Don’t post those passwords in a Word document on your computer!  Hackers are searching for this.
  7. Keep your Anti-Virus, Operating System, Flash & Java up to date.
  8. Consider backing up to BOTH the cloud and a separate hard drive you have stored at your office.
  9. Never open a link attachment from someone you don’t know. Even if you get a link from someone you do know and it seems suspicious, you should call your contact first to verify that they did indeed send it to you.
  10. Always log out of your CRM or donor database when you are done using it. Create individual user logins with defined access.
  11. Never collect or store credit card information on your servers. Understand the legal reporting requirements if your database is hacked.  You may also be required to provide credit monitoring to EVERYONE in your database.
  12. Contact an insurance professional to do an exposure review for your company or nonprofit organization. If you have a breach, the consequential costs could SHUT YOU DOWN!  Consider purchasing cyber liability policies to cover your organization.

I am by no means an expert in these areas.  But, I’m glad I know professionals who are just a phone call or email away who can be relied on to help!  Here are the presenters from today’s event….consider reaching out to them if you need an assessment of your database or cyber security measures.

Business Systems:

Bill Blum, Alpine Systems Inc.



Donor Database:

Cindy Gittleman




Dave Tucker

732-968-0940  ext. 224

E.A. Boniakowski Agency Inc.


Thank you to the Hillsborough Library for hosting our meeting!




About The Author

Maria Semple is the Founder and CEO of The Prospect Finder LLC. Maria consults to small businesses and nonprofit organizations on email marketing, social media and prospecting strategies. Her book, "Magnify Your Business" was published in October 2015. She is also a Certified Solution Provider with Constant Contact.

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