Chapter Rescue: Safeguard Chapter Data Privacy Procedures

Member data is invaluable to making informed decisions that benefit your chapters. Like Spider-Man, with the great power that data brings, comes great responsibility. 81% of adults feel that the potential risks they face because of data collection outweigh the benefits. The public is turning their attention to data privacy. It’s time for your chapters to do the same.

Earlier in our Chapter Rescue series, we proposed measures you can implement to prevent a cybersecurity attack. Similar actions can be put in place to keep member data on lockdown from predators. Taking the time to secure data privacy now, will only make it easier on chapters to comply with any new data privacy regulation when it comes time to do so.



Chapters prepare in excitement all semester to host events and fundraisers. They work hard to sell tickets and gather event sponsors. It can be common practice for sponsors to ask for an attendee email list so they can notify them to drop by their booth. With growing concerns over data privacy, it’s not unlikely that an attendee could file a complaint about a chapter sharing personal data without permission.

How do you respond to a situation like this? Start thinking through if there is anything the chapter can do to resolve the problem. What could make the attendee feel more comfortable? If the complaint is serious enough, involve your legal counsel to find the best solution forward and provide recommendations on how you can avoid this mess in the future. For example, the chapter could include a disclaimer or opt-in on registration forms.



In our post on cybersecurity attacks, we highlighted the importance of preparedness. Having a data breach plan for when a breach occurs can lessen the onslaught of complaints. With a plan in place, you can show those impacted that you are prepared and working in their best interest to remedy the situation.

Consult with cybersecurity experts to outline a data breach plan. Include a plan for notifying anyone whose personal data has been compromised. Every state has a data breach notification law with specific requirements and deadlines to notify.



The public sentiment around data security is that their data is less secure now than it was in the past. With the right attention to data policy and procedure, chapters can become good data stewards. They should be able to understand what information is considered confidential and how to handle it.



Data needs to be managed and secure throughout its entire life cycle. Data governance focuses on mapping out how data flows through an organization. Chapter leaders will map out how data enters the chapter, for what purpose, where it’s stored, with whom it’s shared, and when it’s deleted. Data can then be classified as to whether it contains personal information and what privacy policy to apply to that set.



Create data privacy compliance resources like tip sheets or checklists. Share best practices for collecting, maintaining and sharing data. Host this information on your chapter leader website or provide it in workshops. Data policies can be dense and hard to grasp. Avoid jargon and employ the use of case studies to make data policies easier to understand.



Your organization may already have privacy policies, but are chapter websites included? Organizations are developing website privacy notices to let people know what data is being collected when they visit their site and why. This creates a more transparent environment for users.


Data management aims to eliminate any confusion on how to handle data. Your chapter should also be paying attention to the data they are displaying on their chapter website. In the next post in our Chapter Rescue series, we look to another digital disaster, unmanaged chapter websites.

About the author

Katie Carson is the former Marketing Specialist for Billhighway and greekbill. She oversaw the marketing strategies for all things fraternal.