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Dr. Julia Stamm, Founder and CEO, The Futures Project

Driving meaningful impact on a global scale

“I think it’s really difficult for any non-profit to have the time to fully understand data privacy regulations. With the limited resources available to us, it is hard to know what we should focus on. Having someone there to help us prioritise and point out what we need to do first is so beneficial. With DataGuard, we feel comfortable and supported.”

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Dr. Julia Stamm, The Futures Project

BEFORE DATAGUARD

  • The Futures Project’s international team had varying levels of understanding concerning privacy regulations and processes. 
  • Numerous open questions about the correct privacy practices for internal and external communications. 
  • Privacy questions arose when launching global initiatives 

WITH DATAGUARD

  • The team now has a stronger knowledge of privacy processes thanks to DataGuard Academy.  
  • Sending compliant newsletters is no longer guesswork.  
  • Projects and initiatives can be launched with peace of mind knowing that privacy compliance is in check.  

How can society ensure that we develop innovations and technologies that exist to help people and the planet move forward? How do we build a sustainable future across all sectors, generations, geographies? How do we implement targeted actions and technologies that will help us achieve our goals? Using the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nation’s Agenda 2030 as a reference, The Futures Project sets out to answer these critical questions.

One example of how The Futures Project achieves this is through an initiative called Intergenerational Dialogues: bringing people of different generations together in local contexts and facilitating exchanges on their hopes, dreams and fears for the future. By seeing where these wishes for the future collide or link together, The Futures Project can map out initiatives that have true impact.

Running an international organisation makes privacy management complex

The Futures Project is a truly global non-profit, working with stakeholders all over the world. The team at The Futures Project is also very international. While headquartered in Berlin, many team members are located elsewhere in Europe or even further afield. Because of this, it is difficult for The Futures Project to ensure that everyone on the team has the same understanding of data protection regulations. After all, different regions have different privacy laws in place. “Having a diverse and international team is for me the only way to work: but it does create a major challenge as far as data privacy is concerned. Ensuring that our team have the same understanding of privacy regulations, of how to act or not act, isn’t easy,” explains Dr. Julia Stamm, The Futures Project’s Founder and CEO.

Privacy management in-house is often out of scope for smaller teams

Like many non-profits, The Futures Project has a small and dedicated team working on various initiatives. For an organisation of this size, data privacy is simply too complex to focus on in their daily work. “The field of privacy is very vast. To really feel on the safe side with everything we are doing, we needed the expertise of a company like DataGuard.”

Internal resourcing is also a struggle for non-profits, charities and think tanks. With her team driving various projects such as the Impact Fellowship Programme, Dr. Stamm knew that nobody on the team would have the time to focus on privacy topics. “It wasn’t feasible for us to have a full-time person, or even a part-time person, taking care of privacy in-house,” says Dr. Stamm. “Outsourcing our privacy management was the most cost-effective and sensible option.”

Ensuring projects are 100% compliant

In 2020, The Futures Project launched their first global Call to Action for Innovators for the Future. This initiative invited organisations from around the world to pitch their innovative, systemic approaches to making positive impact. The initiative was a huge success: The Futures Project received almost 600 applications from over 92 countries.

Before kicking this project off, the team worked with their DataGuard privacy expert to ensure that all processes for running this initiative were 100% data privacy compliant. From each applicant, The Futures Project received a lot of information and personal data. DataGuard were able to advise on how exactly this data could be collected, stored and used. “As a non-profit, we often work with so much personal data – names, email addresses, phone numbers, and more. We have to be on the safe side when it comes to privacy.”

The Futures Project also reached out to their DataGuard expert to help with topics such as newsletters, internal communications and how to structure their information management system: “With DataGuard, we feel that we are in good hands – we always have a professional partner to turn to for privacy-related questions.”

Non-profits face extra pressure to handle data responsibly

After working with various entities in Germany and beyond, Dr. Stamm has always been acutely aware of the need for strong data privacy practices. She finds that running a non-profit comes with many added pressures, from administration requirements to the financial authorities. Privacy regulations add another aspect to this already complex working environment. Many non-profits feel under increased scrutiny to ensure that the personal information of their donors and contacts is protected. “Because data privacy topics have now been in the media for a number of years, non-profits want and need to be sure not to misuse any sensitive data,” explains Dr. Stamm.

Assuring all employees have a mutual understanding of privacy

The Futures Project leveraged DataGuard’s platform to roll out data privacy training across their international team: “What I really like is that DataGuard offers training courses for non-German speakers. That’s a big plus.”

This helped the international team to gain a unified understanding of data privacy practices. “The training courses allow us to show our stakeholders that we are taking privacy seriously, which is reassuring” says Dr. Stamm. The Futures Project also used DataGuard’s platform to create a new website privacy policy via the Privacy Policy Generator.

Looking to the future

With more data privacy regulations being introduced all over the world, privacy will continue to heavily affect the non-profit space. With more awareness being raised for privacy amongst the public, organisations like The Futures Project will increasingly encounter contacts who have specific questions about how their information is being processed. “Privacy is certainly something that all non-profits need to take very seriously,” says Dr. Stamm.

Overall, Dr. Stamm feels that a solution like DataGuard makes daily operations run more smoothly. With privacy taken care of, her team can work confidently, knowing that risks are avoided and that processes are fully compliant: “I think it’s really difficult for any non-profit to have the time to fully understand data privacy regulations. With the limited resources available to us, it is hard to know what we should focus on. Having someone there to help us prioritise and point out what we need to do first is so beneficial. With DataGuard, we feel comfortable and supported.”

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