GDPR: It’s good for your charity

(via Scope NI)

By Nick Garbutt

Neil Wilson, Information Officer at NICVA, argues that GDPR will bring benefits for the Third Sector.

We’ve known for years how important data would be in all our futures, so why the panic over GDPR?

I’m about to confess an unpopular opinion. GDPR – if done right – has the potential to be a real positive for charities.

We’ve known for a long time that data is an increasingly important asset. More important, some say, than oil in terms of its value to the economy. A charity sector without data would be a very different place. Take away the data and you would be left with a very large pool of fundraisers and marketers doing very little, and a whole range of services delivered far less effectively. For starters.

Arguably dubious comparisons with oil don’t end with data’s value. There are obligations too. While the production and transport of oil and its derivatives is highly regulated in order to limit those catastrophic oil spills that used to be commonplace, the spillage of data is an increasingly regular occurrence. According to the UK government. 46% of businesses have been the victims of some form of cyber attack, many of which result in personal data being stolen. Charities aren’t immune. Government and the Charity Commission for England and Wales have warned that charities need to do more.

While prosecutable offences already exist under the current Data Protection Act, the GDPR, which goes live (in the Form of the Data Protection Bill 2017) on 25 May, largely reflects how important data has become in the last 20 years and places clear obligations on us with regards to how we use data and what our obligations are.

Now at this point you may be suffering from GDPR fatigue. It seems like everyone is selling compliance. Your social media feeds are probably rife with it. But here’s the thing that nobody seems to be mentioning.  Why is this an opportunity for charities? It’s because of the thing we’re all concerned with – trust.

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