This holiday season, online charitable giving is expected to soar! Between the generosity of the holiday season and ease of making donations online, it’s a great time for nonprofits to fundraise. But bad actors are ready to pounce on unsuspecting donors and organizations. How can you protect your charitable organization and donor’s valuable data this season?
CN is here with suggestions for improving your security posture and protecting your donors.
2023’s End-Of-Year Charity Landscape
At the end of the year, we witness a rise in festivities, celebrations, and charitable donations. While people contribute with open hearts, scammers also lurk to exploit unsuspecting donors. As a nonprofit organization, increased cyber security can help you combat malware and phishing attacks.
Every December, organizations in the US see an increase in fundraising efforts and charitable contributions. Nonprofits raise approximately 25% of their annual revenue in December alone! Not to mention, 17-31% of their online revenue is also generated during this time of year. #GivingTuesday alone brought in over $3.1 billion in 2022!
No matter the generation, most donations are now made online via websites, social media, fundraising platforms, and more. Emails, social media posts, and digital ads are the typical marketing driver for these campaigns. Online channels are the key messaging platforms that nonprofits use to advertise their causes and collect funds.
While this is a very generous, fruitful time of the year – it can also be your organization’s most vulnerable time. With so many links and digital platforms involved, cybercriminals are lurking right around the corner ready to attack. Don’t leave your charity or nonprofit vulnerable to today’s threats!
Your best bet at donor retention? Read on to learn about this season’s cyber threats and scams to be aware of, and don’t miss Computers Nationwide’s highly recommended preventive measures for success.
Seasonal Vulnerability: Why Nonprofits Need Cyber Security
Unfortunately, nonprofits often work with tight budgets and don’t always prioritize cybersecurity. It can be hard to do so with limited budgets and a lack of technical expertise. Fundraising campaigns are major targets during the holiday season for two reasons:
- Valuable Donor Data: Nonprofits have large amounts of stored donor data. Donor’s personal information and payment details are crucial. They also have sensitive information regarding international donors, corporate organizations, and influential people who serve as their donor base. This data is valuable and can attract hackers and data breaches if not protected properly.
- Major Security Gaps: Nonprofits don’t see themselves as targets – consequently, they lack systems and technology to protect themselves against breaches and protocols to respond to cyber threats. Less than half require MFA for online access – offering hackers easy access to their data and systems. Make sure your security efforts don’t have any holes or weak spots this year!
Common Cyber Threats Against Nonprofits
Below are just a few of the top cyber threats to be on high alert for…
- Phishing Attacks: Scammers can create fake emails and websites of NGOs. Donors end up contributing and sharing sensitive information without any suspicion.
- Data Breach: Hackers can get access to sensitive information of donors, putting them at risk of identity theft.
- Ransomware: During ransomware attacks, hackers hold data hostage in exchange for ransom. Systems and databases become inaccessible until a ransom is paid.
- Insider Threats: Individuals working at nonprofits can also pose threats at times. Employees can be manipulated to gain access to data and systems.
Is Your Organization Equipped to Handle this Season’s Cyber Threats?
Does your philanthropic organization understand (and prioritize) modern cyber security requirements? When was the last time your charitable foundation upgraded protocols? Are your current systems capable of detecting and defending against evolving threats and attacks?
The answers to these questions will help you identify where your system lacks security and what areas you can strengthen. Let’s make sure your donors have peace of mind knowing their personal information, home address, credit card number, and other information will be kept safe!
Expert Cyber Security Tips for Nonprofits in 2023
Cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility. Your nonprofit needs to protect not only your internal data and assets, but also secure your donors’ personal and financial information. These people are relying on you to use their contribution for a positive cause AND to protect their valuable data.
If your foundation falls victim to a breach, you could lose more than your reputation – you put your fundraiser, cause, and future donations at risk as well. There’s too much at stake to leave this up to chance!
Computers Nationwide believes an ounce of prevention will be worth tenfold in the long run. Take action now to secure your organization this holiday season (and beyond) with these expert tips:
- Conduct Security Audits: Frequent audits are important for you to identify your weaknesses. Once you know what the risks are, you can work to eliminate them.
- Train Your Employees: Trained employees complement the cyber security systems you install. They need to be aware of potential threats, what they look like, and what they should do when they recognize one.
- Use Data Protection Measures: A breach of donor data can be very harmful to your organization. Ensure it is safe by limiting access to it and only authorizing certain individuals with access.
- Prepare DRaaS: Implement a Data Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) plan to deal with worst-case scenarios. This helps you recover information even if something goes wrong.
- Update Software and Backup Systems Regularly: Cyber crimes evolve and so do criminals. Update your software, apps, and antivirus protection regularly to keep threats at bay. Schedule regular cloud backups to avoid losing important information!
- Set Up MFA: Multi-factor authentication works by adding an extra layer of security to online systems. It makes it harder for unauthorized individuals to gain access to sensitive information.
- Have an Incident Response Plan: Have an updated Incident Response Plan at all times. This outlines what employees should do to reduce damage in case an attack occurs. Ensure all employees are aware of updates made to the plan.
- Consider Cyber Liability Insurance: Make sure your bottom line is protected in the worst case scenario with cyber insurance, minimizing the impact financially of data breaches and other cyber events.
BONUS tips: Making Donations Safely
For SMB’s looking to give back, it’s important to look out for scammers and fake charities. Here are some things to watch out for this holiday season:
- Verify that the organization you are donating to is registered and is transparent about their work.
- Use secure payment gateways to protect your financial information.
- Beware of phishing attempts through emails or text messages. Do not click on suspicious links or respond to emails.
- Search about the charity online – look for their website and social media.
Collaborate with Computers Nationwide for Secure Fundraising Year-Round
Ready to protect what matters most? For businesses and nonprofits alike, partnering with a cybersecurity professional is your best bet at cyber resilience and continuity. When you rely on an MSP (Managed Service Provider) like CN, rest assured our team is keeping an eye on your systems around the clock and staying knowledgeable on the latest technology needed for success!
Show your community you care. If your customers or donors find out their information was leaked, they’ll be less likely to be a repeat donor (or buyer). Let Computers Nationwide help you protect current and future stakeholders with the right cyber strategy! We can take care of everything, from an initial cybersecurity audit to creating a customized action plan, all the way through installation and educating your team.
It doesn’t get any easier! We’re truly your one-stop-shop for IT & Security technology needs for all organizations in the Midwest. Our professional team has the experience and expertise to anticipate our clients’ problems and find creative solutions. Time is ticking…Connect with us today to learn how we can set you up for a cyber secure season!