Online fundraising efforts have become more popular over the last few years and nonprofit organizations are smart to take advantage of the ease of gathering support, sharing their cause and promoting donations. However, as more and more people become comfortable with online donations, security breaches are also becoming more common. This leaves room for concern for both nonprofit organization and donors about the security of online fundraising websites.

There is a huge responsibility on nonprofits to ensure their website and data is secure. If you’re unsure of how to keep your data and fundraising efforts safe and secure, follow these tips to create a solid foundation of security in your non-profit organization.

 

1. Update your software.

Many people ignore their update notifications, especially when they appear in the middle of the day and require you to restart your computer. But software updates fix vulnerabilities that hackers have already discovered so they are essential for keeping your business secure. If you don’t update your software, there’s a chance your staff doesn’t either. Look into automatic updates or a software that will automate your updates, even in times when your office is closed and the staff is not using their computers. IT consultants and third parties, like GXA, can also configure these updates to occur in regular intervals without disturbing your workflow.

 

2. Use https for your website

An https URL ensures that a website is secure. You need to see this URL on your website and especially on your donation page. If your website has a non-httpsURL, then you need to link your donation buttons to free standing secure page that has an https domain.

 

3. Back up your data offsite

Backing up your data securely is extremely important to organizations who deal with donors and sensitive information. While you probably hear the warning to back up your data fairly often, you might not think about how it needs to be done. It’s important to back up your data somewhere other than your server in case your server crashes. Many organizations are turning to the cloud to store their backs ups. Also, automate your backups to make it easier to secure your data.

 

4. Secure your internet connection and install firewalls

A firewall adds a layer of protection between the internet and the internal network. It provides the first line of defense for screening out viruses and hacking attempts. Most computer operating systems have firewalls set up by default but you or an IT consultant should check the settings on all of your computer systems to ensure they are enabled.

 

5. Make sure your passwords are complex and changed often

Your organization should set rules regarding passwords, specifically the length and amount of symbols used within the password. Additionally, you should have your staff change their passwords are a regular basis to help prevent hacking attempts.  You can also create a lockout feature to limit the number of failed login attempts.

 

6. Install antivirus and antispyware software

This may seem basic but because of the many options out there, you want to research and ensure you are choosing the best antivirus software for your organization. You will want to take note of how often your spyware checks for malicious code.

 

7. Secure sensitive data

As a nonprofit who fundraises, you more than likely have sensitive data and it’s essential you protect that data. Limit access to who can access this information. You can put in security feature that locks certain documents in your server so that only people with access or passwords can access the data. This helps ensure that only the people who need to access this data can do so.

 

 

In this modern day and age, security needs to be a priority for your organization and following these steps will help ensure that security. There are many other secure measures you can take to protect your nonprofit, your fundraising and your donors that an IT consultant like GXA can help with. To learn more about how we help nonprofits stay secure and technologically ahead of the curve, click here.

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