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Better Business Bureau ®
Start With Trust®
Standard 18

Address privacy concerns of donors by

  1. providing in written appeals, at least annually, a means (e.g., such as a check off box) for both new and continuing donors to inform the charity if they do not want their name and address shared outside the organization, and


  2. providing a clear, prominent and easily accessible privacy policy on any of its websites that tells visitors (i) what information, if any, is being collected about them by the charity and how this information will be used, (ii) how to contact the charity to review personal information collected and request corrections, (iii) how to inform the charity (e.g., a check off box) that the visitor does not wish his/her personal information to be shared outside the organization, and (iv) what security measures the charity has in place to protect personal information.

Information Needed from Charity to Determine Compliance:

For section (a): If the charity shares the names and addresses of its donors with outside parties it (1) provides a sample of a written appeal offering donors the opportunity to inform the charity whether they wish their names to be shared; (2) indicates that this opportunity is offered at least annually.

For section (b): If the charity has a website, it provides its website address and identifies where the privacy policy is located on the website.

Application:

The Alliance reviews the information provided by the charity with reference to the following points:

(a) Written Appeals

To meet this standard, written appeals to previous donors should include, at least once a year, a means to inform the charity that the donor does not wish his/her name and address shared outside the organization. This can take the form of a check-off box that informs the charity about the donor's privacy request.

If the donor has contributed to the charity for the first time (i.e., a new donor), the disclosure about sharing name and address should be in the written acknowledgement of the gift unless the charity plans to include the disclosure in a follow-up appeal within the year.

This standard does not apply to written appeals sent to individuals who have not previously contributed (i.e., an acquisition or prospect mailing.) This is because this standard applies to donors and these individuals have not yet contributed to the organization. Also, in many instances these prospect names and addresses are rented from outside sources and the charity does not have authority over their future use.

This standard does not apply to charities that do not share donor names and addresses with others.

(b) Websites

Charity websites, whether or not they solicit contributions, must include clear, prominent and easy access to the charity's privacy policy by providing, for example, a privacy policy link off the home page or a privacy policy link on the page that collects personal information.

Even though a charity website is not soliciting donations, it may ask visitors to provide their names, addresses and other personal information for other purposes. This standard is applicable in such cases.

All four privacy policy elements cited in this standard should be addressed in the charity's website privacy policy. The absence of any of the elements will result in not meeting this standard.

As a further explanation to item (b) (ii) in the website provision of this standard, the charity's privacy policy might provide an address and/or phone number to contact the charity in order to review or correct information that has already been collected about the site visitor.