QUICK SHOT: A Donor’s Privacy Must Be Protected
By Phil Stolberg, Chief Operating Officer
Early last month, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case addressing the mandatory disclosure of donor giving information to state officials.
Currently, three states – California, New Jersey and New York – mandate that donor information (including donor name, address and gift amount) be shared with the State Attorney General’s Office. If the charity doesn’t comply, then the charity will not have the authority to solicit gifts.
Many other states are considering similar legislation.
Most individual donors expect the nonprofit community to maintain their donor confidentiality – they’re not comfortable at the prospect of their personal information being handed over to state officials.
Further, organizations that rate best practices for charities require that a charity apply governance and systems designed to protect the donors’ privacy.
There’s no question that these compliance regulations have consequences, including:
- Infringing on the donor’s privacy
- Increasing the charities’ governance obligations
- Introducing data security issues
Most importantly for nonprofits across the country, these new regulations may cause many donors to reconsider their philanthropy. That has tremendous consequences for charities that rely on donor support to fund important programs and services in healthcare, social services, international relief, environmental, educational, animal care and the fine arts.
The Nonprofit Alliance, of which BDI is a member, is filing a bipartisan amicus brief to the Supreme Court that supports the critical importance of maintaining a donor’s philanthropic privacy and opposing a mandatory disclosure of donor information to state officials.
We’re hopeful the Court will understand, embrace and rule in favor of a donor’s privacy. Within the next few weeks, a copy of the brief will be available for review along with an opportunity to join the nonprofit community encouraging the Supreme Court to rule in favor of donor privacy.
We’ll keep you updated on any new developments.
Phil Stolberg, Chief Operating Officer
With over 40 years of experience in marketing and communications, BDI’s Chief Operating Officer, Phil Stolberg, has dedicated his career to working with not-for-profit organizations. He has held a variety of leadership positions, both with nonprofit organizations and with agencies that consult with the not-for-profit world, allowing him extensive experience with marketing, major donor and capital campaigns, special event and foundation fundraising.
At Brewer Direct, Phil is responsible for internal and external business relationships, contracts and policies. His responsibilities include defining agency strategies, goals, and implementing systems and processes. He provides leadership to the agency’s Creative, Digital, Human Resources, Finance, Project Management, Data and Analytics, Production and Administrative teams. Phil has served, and continues to serve, on a number of boards addressing the business needs of nonprofit organizations.