Volunteer Resources: Protection of Constituent Information

(September 12, 2006)

The Office of Development and Alumni Relations does not sell or trade contact information maintained on the College’s institutional database for any purpose. Protecting the privacy of our constituency is a top priority, and considered an obligation of the College.

In an effort to maintain an accurate and effective record of addresses and contact information, the College will occasionally partner with select firms to survey constituents for correction or completion of inaccurate information. Examples of this include the production of an alumni directory and targeted market research. Any firm hired to provide services that require the submission of any record from the College will be required to sign a binding contract ensuring the confidentiality of this information, and restrict its use to the sole purpose agreed upon by the College and the firm. No firm will be permitted to sell this information, or use it in any manner outside of the parameters described in a legally binding contract. The College’s legal counsel, to ensure confidentiality of data is guaranteed, will review all contracts of this nature.

The Office of Development and Alumni Relations receives requests from alumni for contact information of other alumni by mail, phone, fax and e-mail on a regular basis. Staff members who assist with these requests require the individual placing the request to prove his/her identity by answering specific questions. If the questions are not satisfactorily answered the request will not be granted. Additionally, any person who requests access to our file room for any purpose is required to sign a confidentiality agreement. Just as outside firms are restricted from using College data for other purposes, the College asks alumni and users of the file room to protect and not use for profit any personal information to which access has been granted.

Employees of Grinnell College may request contact information (phone, email, address) for individuals or groups (former swimmers, anthropology majors, etc). The information given must be used for College purposes (departmental newsletter, invitation to College event, etc.). When a mailing is returned to Grinnell College from the United States Postal Service for a bad address, the returned piece will be immediately forwarded to the Office of Development and Alumni Relations so the central database can be updated. All returned mail routed to the Office of College and Alumni Relations remains unopened is processed within 5 working days after being received by Development and Alumni Relations. Once the updates have been made mail returned from the U.S. Postal Service will be sent via campus mail to the originating department. All data released is to be deleted and not released or used for any other purpose other than agreed upon. Data is NOT to be saved or stored for future uses.

Outside organizations contact internal departments and/or individuals to request alumni contact information primarily for survey purposes. If a department or individual believes the request is an institutional obligation, a written request describing the outside organization, the purpose and rationale of the project must be submitted to the Office of Development and Alumni Relations. If the request is granted, the Office of Development and Alumni Relations will ask the requestor to complete and return a form before any information may be released. The release and use of alumni contact information to an outside organization is the responsibility of the person completing the form. The Office of Development and Alumni Relations will provide to the person completing the form a document that he/she should ask the outside organization requesting the information to complete. The document requires the outside organization to ensure confidentiality of the provided information, to restrict its use for the sole purpose agreed upon by the College and the organization, and to delete all data released to them and not store for future uses.

Alumni directories, either paper or electronic, listservs and classletters are for official college use, and for individual communication between alumni. Use of personal information for any other purpose, including, but not limited to, reproducing and storing in a retrieval system by any means, electronic or mechanical, photocopying or using the addressed or other information for any private, fundraising, commercial, or political mailing, is strictly prohibited and constitutes misappropriation of property.

If you are contacted by an organization or business that implies, directly or indirectly, that your information was provided by Grinnell College, please contact the Office of Development and Alumni Relations immediately. If possible, forward any related material received to our office for review.