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Getting Ahead of Data Privacy Changes to Inform Your Acquisition Strategy

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Published September 14, 2023 Reading Time: 4 minutes

This blog was written in collaboration with Isabelle Brauer, digital campaign strategist at Whole Whale. Leveraging over six years of expertise in digital marketing, audience development, and project management, Isabelle utilizes data-driven insights to guide campaigns to success.

In a rapidly evolving digital landscape where data breaches and privacy compliance concerns frequently make headlines, earning your audience’s trust isn’t just a good idea—it’s crucial for success.

These profound changes demand the sector to innovate, as proactive operational and strategic preparation will be key to successfully adapting. To retain and recruit donors effectively, nonprofit teams should understand what these changes mean for their acquisition strategies and proactively leverage integrated tech tools to build a privacy-complaint donor pipeline.

The Evolution of Data Collection

At the core of charitable giving lies the establishment of trust through organizational and financial accountability. Trust is the nonnegotiable backbone of any nonprofit organization.

Cybersecurity and data privacy for nonprofits in fostering this trust is paramount—it’s a cornerstone of the principles of nonprofit transparency and the key to building a sustainable and loyal donor base.

Nonprofits must be accountable for allocating donations and safeguarding donors’ sensitive personal data, like payment and contact information. Ensuring the robust protection of this data is central to establishing and retaining supporters’ trust in an organization. Without stringent cybersecurity measures, nonprofits risk undermining this trust, potentially damaging credibility and donor relationships irreparably and threatening long-term retention.

Seismic shifts in the digital landscape, including the impending “cookie-pocalypse” of Google’s discontinuation of third-party cookies in Chrome by 2024, highlight the urgency of rethinking data privacy strategies. The disappearance of third-party cookies will force for-profit and nonprofit marketers to rely more heavily on zero, first-party data and engagement-based metrics.

Diversifying Acquisition Strategies for Long-term Success

Amid fluctuations in data privacy, search engine optimization (SEO) remains a resilient and compliant acquisition strategy. Organizations can deliver personalized content without encroaching on user privacy by zeroing in on keyword-driven intent, especially in a chat-first search environment.

Compelling content with intentional SEO strategies can boost a website’s visibility, ensure newcomers find their way to key resources, enhance user engagement, and bolster lead acquisition.

SEO’s magic lies in its user intent-centric model: audiences explicitly communicate their needs and interests through search queries. Tools like Google Search Console offer insights into audience queries without associating data with specific individuals. This gold mine of information facilitates content creation that aligns with the searcher’s intent—search data can help your organization better understand who you reach, how to engage with them most effectively, and the most probable actions they might take.

Some SEO strategies will adapt better than others in the emerging chat-first search environment. For example, informational searches may be at a higher risk of losing the ability to drive on-site traffic. To counteract this, diversifying site content through mediums like video and interactive storytelling can enhance engagement and preserve your web content’s search value in a privacy-centric digital age.

By incorporating these adaptable SEO strategies and leveraging integrated tech tools, nonprofits can thrive in the privacy-centric digital landscape, expanding audiences and driving acquisition without relying on third-party data.

AI Tools

Leveraging AI-powered tools, like ChatGPT and Cause Writer AI, can revolutionize nonprofit acquisition strategies through personalized engagement, data-driven insights, and predictive analytics.

Cause Writer AI excels at crafting tailored donor personas while streamlining content creation, all without sacrificing organizational authenticity. This and technologies like it enable nonprofits to automate processes and adapt swiftly to emerging trends, fostering cost-effectiveness and agility in a modern, fast-paced digital environment.

The Importance of Seamless Tech Integration in Acquisition

Zero-party data refers to information individuals willingly and proactively provide. Gained through direct interactions, this data can include preferences, intentions, and personalized insights the users share.

Organizations collect first-party data, which includes user behavior, engagement metrics, and demographic details, directly from audiences. This information typically derives through interactions with your nonprofit website, apps, or other platforms, like social media.

Fundraising Tools

Integrated tech tools and systems are paramount for collecting and utilizing clean zero and first-party data. Your organization’s tool suite should streamline gathering, analyzing, and deploying data from multiple sources. This ensures consistency, accuracy, and a unified understanding of user behavior while complying with modern required security measures and data privacy laws.

Connected fundraising technologies are at the forefront of efficient and privacy-compliant donor outreach, with CRM integrations serving as the vital connection for unified fundraising and donor insights. CRM systems, like Salesforce and HubSpot, serve as central repositories for unified donor insights and engagement, integrating with data points from platforms like Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and Meta. Effective marketing and donor stewardship are heavily contingent upon this accurate data, further underscoring the need for comprehensive tech solutions.

Classy’s fundraising platform offers various integrations and tools to provide a comprehensive view of donor insights while preserving the privacy of sensitive data. ​​The Classy for Salesforce and HubSpot + Classy integrations ensure a fluid and uninterrupted flow of donor data.


Free analytic tracking tools GA4 and Google Tag Manager offer in-depth views into user behavior, becoming vital aids for more informed and targeted outreach.

For those looking to maximize these powerful tools, our GA4 Reports for Nonprofits: Unlocking Insights With Classy Data and Big Guide to GA4 resources provide deeper insights into leveraging them successfully. Unlike its predecessor, GA4 is event-based and focuses on user engagement and behavior, providing a richer, more granular view of user interactions.

In the context of data privacy, GA4 hinges on adaptability, using data modeling to make it more resilient to changes in third-party cookie policies. This allows organizations to gain insights without compromising user privacy protection.

Social Ads

To optimize advertising strategies while respecting privacy concerns, utilize advertising tracking tools like Meta Pixel. Platforms like Meta, Google Ads, X, and LinkedIn, among others, offer versions of advertising pixels, each designed to integrate seamlessly with its respective advertising ecosystems.

The way pixels operate and the type of data collected continue to evolve, with a stronger emphasis on data anonymization and user consent via opt-in to collect personally identifiable information. In response to recent consumer data privacy changes, many pixels have changed to prioritize aggregated and anonymized data over individual tracking. This ensures personal data privacy remains uncompromised and performance metrics are accessible.

The Future of Fundraising with Heightened Data Security Practices

As we look toward the future of fundraising, it becomes abundantly clear that adaptability is not just a virtue but a necessity—especially in the face of evolving data privacy regulations.

Amid the ever-changing digital landscape, diverse tools exist to empower nonprofits and service providers to adapt and thrive in this environment. By judiciously leveraging these tools, organizations can create a synergy that enables them to gather actionable insights, optimize acquisition strategies, and remain compliant with shifting privacy legislation.

The combined power of adaptability, focus on aggregated data, and seamless data management capabilities of an integrated CRM system facilitate future-proofing your nonprofit for success. This integrated approach allows nonprofits to make informed decisions, cultivate deeper relationships with donors, and execute effective, data-driven campaigns—all while safeguarding the privacy and trust of their audiences.

The future of fundraising isn’t just about accumulating data. It’s about intelligently harnessing it responsibly for the greater good.

Copy Editor: Ayanna Julien

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