4 min read

Why Building Digital Trust Matters for Nonprofits in 2023

Why Building Digital Trust Matters for Nonprofits in 2023

The digital world can be a scary place. We are constantly bombarded with news stories about cyber breaches and data leaks. It's easy to feel like our personal information is unsafe and unprotected. 

But there are ways that businesses can build digital trust and keep our data safe. In this blog post, we'll explore the importance of data privacy for nonprofit organizations. We'll discuss how nonprofits can create a culture of trust and why it's essential to protecting your constituents' information. So let's get started!

What are digital trust and data privacy?

Digital trust and data privacy are essential to digital life as we know it. 

Data privacy refers to individuals’ rights to their personal information, from social media accounts to bank records, that are kept safe from unauthorized access. Digital trust, on the other hand, is a relationship exchange – an idea that the consumer knows the nonprofit they’re engaging with will protect their information.

There are many ways to build digital trust. That includes understanding the range of possible digital perils and taking action to prevent them, such as encrypting digital communication and strengthening service providers’ security protocols. It also includes taking care to stay up on new data privacy legislation; to know with certainty that you’re familiar with and endorse the ways that your third-party partners handle your audience’s data; and that you only share information they’ve explicitly given you permission to access.

In an increasingly digital-first world, digital trust and data privacy aren’t just abstract concepts; they’re patterns of behavior that must be understood and respected if digital activity is to be sustained without unwarranted intrusion or harm. 

Why digital trust and data privacy are important for nonprofits

Recent data from McKinsey suggests that consumers care about privacy to quite a large extent:

  • 85 percent of respondents say that knowing a company's data privacy policies before purchase is important before purchase

  • 72 percent of respondents say that knowing a company's AI policies before purchase is important before purchase

  • 46 percent often or always consider another brand if the one they are considering is unclear about how they will use consumer data (this figure increases by 50 percent among Millennials and Gen Z consumers)

  • 87 percent said that the amount of personal data required during a transaction was almost as high a consideration (compared to 92 percent) as quality and convenience of the product or service

  • 53 percent of customers look for companies that have a reputation for protecting data

What this indicates is that building transparent infrastructure and being prepared to make good on the promises you make greatly impacts your brand’s external perception – and your bottom line.

McKinsey’s research also suggests that "organizations that are best positioned to build digital trust are also more likely than others to see annual growth rates of at least 10 percent on their top and bottom lines" -- but only a small few are set to actually deliver on that growth.

How emerging data privacy laws necessitate data governance practices

Increasing data privacy laws and data protection regulations, from GDPR to emerging state regulations in the US, have made data governance a priority. Organizations now need to develop data governance plans in order to meet data privacy requirements and protect their customers’ data. 

Data governance provides the capacity to plan and monitor data compliance processes, such as data processing operations, data sharing agreements and data retention policies. As organizations grow in scale, more focus and resources must be put into the management of data assets. Building data governance capacity can enhance constituent trust, particularly as privacy becomes a top-of-mind concern.

Changing Big Tech policies demand more intention for marketers

As tech giants like Google, Apple, and Firefox make changes to respond to audience demand for privacy, one of the biggest shifts will be their elimination of third-party cookies.

As background, cookies are what allow us to customize digital experiences. There are two types: first-party and third-party. 

First-party cookies allow us to collect information about our audiences based on what they tell us, usually by inputting form data or frequenting your site while in a logged-in state. Assuming your privacy terms are clear when audiences volunteer this information, it’s considered consented. 

By comparison, third-party cookies track users across multiple domains, allowing marketers to understand the nuance of audience interests and target audiences on subsequent sites they visit. Third-party cookies are considered not consented and are therefore being eliminated by Big Tech companies.

The loss of cookies will mean less efficiency in your marketing efforts, given that algorithmic learning will be slower due to fewer audience behavior insights being available to advertising tools. It will also mean that some of the information you were previously able to view in your analytics tools will no longer be available – such as insights regarding all of the touchpoints that lead up to a person’s decision to convert.

With increasing numbers of mobile consumers opting out of digital tracking, and third party cookies becoming scarce, nonprofits will have to get creative with their data reach models, making sure that marketing campaigns are directed with more intention and lead by fundamental principles of data privacy.

Building digital trust and protecting constituent privacy  

As a nonprofit organization, digital trust and data privacy are crucial to achieving your mission. Implementing cybersecurity protocols such as password protection, strict access control, secure email practices, and secure digital networks can help build digital trust with stakeholders. Additionally, collecting only the necessary data for successful communication and operations, respecting individual rights to privacy in communications, and allowing users to opt-out of sharing personal information can help protect data privacy. And the great news, as we see from McKinsey’s research, is that letting your audience know about all of the ways you’re protecting them pays off.

To establish a culture that values digital trust, organizations must ensure that staff members are trained and educated on data privacy protocols, and the organization's leadership should emphasize the importance of trustworthiness when handling sensitive information. By limiting data collection and keeping up with changing regulations, organizations can ensure they are not violating any laws or regulations.

Finally, having an open dialogue with stakeholders regarding data protection initiatives helps build trust and confidence in an organization's ability to handle sensitive information securely. Regularly informing stakeholders about the measures taken towards protecting their privacy provides assurance that their personal data is safe and protected at all times. By taking a proactive approach in communicating these measures with stakeholders, nonprofits can build digital trust while providing greater insight into how they are protecting donor information.

If you’re ready to make digital trust a priority, we invite you to attend our upcoming webinar – “Why Building Digital Trust Should Be Your Priority this Year”. During this session, our experts will provide insight into why building digital trust is key within all organization sizes, how to develop strategies around it, and ultimately why it should be your highest priority. Join us in learning how to protect your constituents now and put strategies in place so you can prepare for the future!

Save your seat →


Article Co-written by Elyse Wallnutt of AiglityLab.io and Kim Snyder of RoundTable Technology.

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