18 September 2017

GDPR: Avoid the cowboys and put your GDPR compliant data to good use 

By Jenny Parsons, ProTech's COO

Undoubtedly there are many Not for Profit (NFP) professionals beginning to worry about the time, energy and costly resource that will be necessary to ensure their NFP organisations’ compliance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by 25 May 2018.   

The huge amount of information available online giving advice as to what organisations, of all sizes, across all sectors, should be doing to ready themselves for the May deadline is not altogether helpful. It is likely that some of this advice and information is being pushed out by companies masquerading as GDPR experts.

Simon Quicke, editor of the channel publication MicroScope recently wrote “The lack of clarity around GDPR and customers desperate for help are opening the door to those that are trying to exploit that situation.” These words are a warning - be aware of the GDPR “cowboy”.

ProTech has taken the decision to proactively ‘filter’ the information available and rely on data issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the UK’s independent body set up to uphold information rights.

The ICO is regularly publishing a series of informative blogs around GDPR and the latest by Steve Wood, Deputy Commissioner (Policy) entitled “GDPR is an evolution in data protection, not a burdensome revolution” is both an interesting and somewhat reassuring read.

Interesting because of Wood’s view that thinking of GDPR as a burden ‘indicates the wrong mindset to preparing for compliance’ and that GDPR demands ‘more of organisations in terms of accountability for their use of personal data and enhances the existing rights of individuals.’

Reassuring in that Wood says that GDPR ‘is building on foundations already in place for last 20 years’. He continues that if you are already complying with the Data Protection Act with an effective data governance programme in place, then you are ‘already well on the way’ to being ready for GDPR. If you don’t have a data governance programme in place already then this comment will not be reassuring at all.

Perhaps more reassuring is his view that GDPR is ‘essentially about trust’. NFP professionals already understand that trusted relationships drive enhanced engagement with members and customers.

GDPR compliance will ensure that members and customers ‘trust’ that data is held correctly. An increased understanding that their data will be handled fairly, securely and responsibly will encourage them to provide more data and for different uses.

The more personal data that is held by NFPs, using the right CRM solution – one that can leverage data captured - will enable significantly enhanced levels of personalisation.

The personalisation of data is a crucial tool in developing ever closer engagement. We all feel ‘good’ when we receive data that demonstrates that whoever sent it really does understand who we are and what we want.

ProTech is also monitoring closely GDPR information and advice from Hart Square, independent CRM and technology consultants and in our view, another valuable trusted source.

Hart Square’s White Paper for NFP organisations ‘What should I do about GDPR’ reassuringly backs up the view that the steps necessary to ensure GDPR compliance are “really positive”, and if executed correctly will “improve effectiveness and relationships to the benefit of members…”

Approached correctly it could well be that GDPR will not be a revolution in terms of helping to enhance member and customer engagement but it may well be an evolution of how NFPs improve communication with their stakeholders.

The key to that communication evolution will be leveraging the correctly captured, stored and processed data.



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