nonprofit gdpr

The Nonprofit Marketer’s Guide to GDPR

As of May 25, 2018, the EU’s GDPR is changing the landscape for how organizations and marketing professionals around the world will communicate with all EEA citizens. The GDPR is the largest overhaul to data privacy in 20 years, with consequences equating to 20 million or 4% of a company’s annual revenue.

If your nonprofit collects information in the European Economic Area, keep reading to find out what GDPR means for you – and how to turn this into an opportunity to improve your marketing.

What is GDPR? Who does it affect? Are nonprofits included?

The GDPR is a European Union data privacy regulation created to consolidate privacy regulations across the European Economic Area (EEA) and empower all EEA citizens with new rights to guard their privacy. Although the GDPR only applied to EEA citizens, it impacts anyone collecting personal data on EEA citizens, so everyone should be paying attention.

Designed to strengthen and unify data protection for individuals, the new regulations ensure a higher level of transparency between organizations that collect data and control data (‘Data Collector’) and the individuals whose personal data is being collected (‘Data Subjects’).

These new regulations will require a new way of data collection and storage, that have been evaded by many big companies too long. Since the GDPR is a regulation, it is legally binding – and it requires all organizations to re-evaluate how we currently collect and use personal data of supporters.

If you’re wondering whether or not GDPR will impact your organization, read our “GDPR for Nonprofts” Guide here.

Wait, what are all of the implications?

Data Collection & Permission: The GDPR will have major implications on how nonprofits will collect data and acquire email addresses. Users must give explicit consent to receive email communication through language that is “freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous in clear and plain language”.

Data Storage & Access: All EEA users must be able to request their data to be changed, erased or provided at any given time.

Data Focus: Organizations can only obtain relevant information. You must justify why the data is being collected, and include all the collected data in our policies.

Okay… So, now what do we do?

Don’t fret! Yes, the GDPR regulations seem stringent, but we see them as an opportunity! In a recent HubSpot survey, they found 81% of people in the EU think of GDPR is a good thing. This means users, YOUR supporters, are looking forward to their elevated data protection rights. Marketers will have to work harder for their leads, which might lead to increased costs per leads (CPLs).

However, given the transparency between people and companies, the leads captured will be more qualified, and interested in your cause. As an organization you might experience; increased Cost per Lead (CPL), lower overall volume of leads, and a drop off of existing EEA-based email addresses. However, there are a number of things nonprofits will in term benefit from, including:

  • More qualified leads who have confirmed their interest in marketing messages
  • Fewer spam/bot email addresses that reduce your email open and click rates
  • Reduced email platform license fees due to smaller (but more focused) list size
  • The ability to think more deeply about the true value of a supporter in relation to impact

This is a great opportunity to grow our supporter base in a smarter more deliberate way! Forget the volume of leads generated, focus on the types of leads generated and what they bring to the table long-term.

This aligns with Media Cause’s core model of engaging supporters and creating a strong online impact through a Community-Centric Marketing approach. Take a step back from positioning your organization at the center of everything you do, take this opportunity to shift the focus to your supporters, who are what truly matter.

Yes, supporters will have to go through more steps to engage with us long-term, however by treating each connection as an opportunity to build a relationship instead of building a list, asking permission is only natural. Start with understanding your audience deeply and then personalize each of your communications.

We’ve found that the more authentically you can connect with your audience, actions such as donations, fundraising, volunteering, interest form submissions, and others closely follow.

We know this shift in marketing can be overwhelming, but we are here to help! Still need more information? Take a look at our guide.

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