MCPIR Donor Policy

The Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, publisher of The Maine Monitor, (“MCPIR”) adopts the following Donor Policy to formally document its policies for ensuring the privacy and confidentiality of information it receives regarding individual donors and that it uses to carry out its development activities. 

The policy and procedures set forth below apply to all Directors, Officers, employees and volunteers of MCPIR (collectively “Personnel”).

Donor Transparency

We are committed to transparency in every aspect of funding our organization. Accepting financial support does not mean we endorse donors or their products, services or opinions. We accept gifts, grants and sponsorships from individuals, organizations and foundations to help with our general operations, coverage of specific topics, and special projects. The Center will seek a diversity of funding sources to help protect its independence and credibility.

Our news judgments are made independently and are not based on or influenced by donors. In its dealings with donors, the Center will stress the independence of its mission and the importance of its credibility with readers and sources. We do not give supporters the rights to assign, review or edit content. We will not accept donations from sources who, deemed by our board of directors, present a conflict of interest with our work or compromise our independence. 

The Center will publish a list of donors in each calendar year on its website. The Center will post its Federal 990 form, its mission, its ethics policy, and its conflict-of-interest policy on its website.

Donor Privacy Statement

MCPIR respects the privacy of donors. We protect personal information. We do not rent or sell mailing or email lists of donors. Name, address, and other contact information will be used to provide donors with information regarding MCPIR activities, special events, fundraising needs, and to acknowledge donations.

If at any time a donor wishes not to be acknowledged, to receive less mail or e-mail, or to stop receiving communications, they may do so by contacting MCPIR be telephone or e-mail and MCPIR will gladly accommodate the request. 

Confidentiality Statement

MCPIR strongly believes in protecting the privacy of donors and prospective donors and the confidentiality of information concerning them. Donor records and other donor contact information are highly confidential and protected by this policy.

The use of such information for personal, political, or commercial purposes, except as specifically permitted under this policy, is strictly prohibited. Appropriate action, including but not limited to possible termination of employment, will be taken against persons or entities that violate this policy. Any individual, institution, or agency deemed to have violated this policy, or deemed to have jeopardized the confidentiality or privacy of any individual or organization affiliated with MCPIR by the inappropriate use of information covered under this policy will have access to such information discontinued and their role with MCPIR reevaluated. 

Professional Standards and Privacy Practices

All MCPIR personnel are required to read and abide by this Donor Privacy Policy. These documents will be provided to all personnel and may also be obtained from MCPIR. 

All Personnel who have access to Restricted Information will be required to sign a Confidentiality Agreement. “Restricted Information” shall be defined to include donor giving histories as well as personal and financial information collected during the prospect research process and/or that is provided by the donor or prospect, whether or not such information is publicly available. Safeguards shall be maintained to ensure that Restricted Information is not disclosed or shared more widely than is necessary to achieve the purposes for which it was gathered. MCPIR also takes such measures as are necessary and reasonable to ensure the accuracy of this information. 

Donors who request anonymity, either for themselves or for a gift amount, may be publicly acknowledged as “anonymous” or with their name only, respectively. Information on anonymous donors will be flagged prominently as “anonymous” in all paper files and computer records. Note, while donor information must be included in Schedule B of IRS Form 990, MCPIR is not required to share this data other than with the IRS. 

Individual Donor Records

Individual donor records, whether in hard copy or electronic form, are the property of MCPIR. These records contain Restricted Information and other information pertaining to those individuals important to the development efforts of MCPIR. Individual donor records are kept in the MCPIR office in a secure desk or file drawer that will be locked outside of normal work hours and in a password protected electronic file. 

Restricted Information kept in donor records must be relevant to the goals of MCPIR. It is the responsibility of Personnel to submit only appropriate and relevant information for inclusion in these files. Credit card numbers will be deleted when they are no longer necessary. If any credit card numbers are found on former correspondence in a file, they will be destroyed immediately. 

Access to the donor database is maintained and authorized by the Executive Director. Security procedures shall be maintained to ensure that different users have access to only those screens that are necessary to carry out their work at MCPIR.

In general, Restricted Information will not be provided via email. However, in those cases in which email transmission may be necessary (for instance, due to time constraints), MCPIR staff will label the email “confidential” in a prominent manner, password protect the Restricted Information, and instruct the recipient(s) not to share the Restricted Information in or attached to the email, forward it, or otherwise compromise the privacy of its contents. 

These policies and procedures acknowledge that the Board of Directors, as well as external auditors, regulatory agency personnel, and persons operating pursuant to legal process who may be conducting audits, reviews, or other investigations, may require access to all hard copy and electronic files in the development records in order to conduct their work. Access shall be granted for these limited purposes, subject to confidentiality agreements, to the extent possible, and with no permission allowed for further disclosure of these confidential records. 

Information Requests from External (non-MCPIR) Parties

Outside consultants and vendors, such as direct mail firms, mailing houses, email management suppliers, online donation management vendors, and database screening firms, will be bound by this confidentiality policy.

Appropriate confidentiality provisions shall be included in all contracts with such entities. 

Updated and approved by the Board of Directors February 28, 2024.

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