Posted by: Don Linnen | 19 September 2007

Spies, Terrorists, and Donors

What in the world do these groups have in common?

From today’s news: “since February of this year, none of our phones have been tapped without a court order.”  Don’t know if I feel relieved or disappointed about that.

Indignant is probably a better description. I like my privacy. I think I guard it pretty well. But between my frequent buyer cards, my frequent flyer cards, my frequent stayer cards, and just about anything else that calls for either a plastic card or my phone number, there’s not too many marketeers out there that don’t know a lot about me.

So pardon me if I’m more than a little annoyed that big brother isn’t listening to conversations of suspected bad guys. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a fan of big brother. But do you really think the government has more of an agenda than all the marketeers collecting data on us??

Everyone has a right to privacy, but at what cost to the common good? Nonprofits are public organizations that must operate “in the sunshine” and at the same time protect the rights of their donors. Apparently some of our most noble np’s are not very open about their operations. Ask the Smithsonian.

It’s a good thing to give without expecting accolades. For those who really want to maintain their privacy, the BBB of giving acts as a watchdog that will bark loudly to insure there are plans to “take action to ensure that privacy concerns of donors are respected in the collection, dissemination, and securing of personal information, and allow donors opportunities to have their names removed from solicitation lists.”

It’s called a donor privacy policy. It’s important to publish. It’s easy to do.

On the other side of the coin, the public does have a right to know and a right to expect accountability of our funding – both expenses and income. That’s not hard to solve either.

The answer to the question at the top? What do spies, terrorists, and donors have in common?


Some groups need the privacy of working in the dark to “succeed.” But bad things rarely happen in the light of day.

Privacy is not a bad thing when kept it in balance. Take care of your donors. They take care of you.

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