Seven Tips for Creating a Congregational Privacy Policy



Every congregational website should have – and post in a conspicuous place – a privacy policy that clearly states how information gathered on the site is used and how visitors may contact the congregation for further information. Your congregation’s webmaster should be able to give you the technical information that is unique to your congregation. The information that follows is for guidance only, and the Union for Reform Judaism recommends that any policy be reviewed by an attorney.

  1. Make your policy easy to read.
    Your policy should be written in straight-forward, easy to understand language and sets forth what how you do or do not use information collected on your site.
  1. List websites covered by this policy.
    If your congregation has separate sites for its religious school, youth group or other organization, list the URLs of all sites covered by the policy. Note that by using the site(s), the visitor consents to the terms and conditions of the privacy.
  1. Identify who is responsible for the site.
    Include the name, street address, telephone and email address for your congregation and the person responsible for your website.
  1. Note what information is collected.
    Your web server may collect data about your visitors, including the domain name and IP address of their computers. If you have questions about what your site collects, please contact the Union’s web help desk. Note what parts of your site may be visited without providing information.

    • What do you do with email addresses? If you collect email addresses online, be very specific about what you do with the information.
    • Do you use it to reach out to potential members by sharing it with your Membership Committee?
    • Is the address automatically added to your email list?
    • Do you share the address with vendors?
    • Note that there are times that you may be required to release information.
  1. Include opt-out language.
    If you collect information, include specific information on how visitors can let you know they do not want to receive email in the future.
  1. Protect your content.
    Note that all the information on your website is the property of your congregation, with the exclusion of material attributed to or hyperlinked to external sites, and that it may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the written permission of the congregation. Include information about how to request the right to use the material.
  1. Make it easy to find.
    A link to your privacy policy should appear on every page. Most organizations do this by including the link in the footer information that appears as part of the template for all pages on the site.

As your congregation works to create an effective privacy policy, you can find good examples of organizational privacy policies from the following sites:

Does your synagogue have a privacy policy you’re willing to share with other congregations working to create their own? Share it in the comments!

Adapted from URJ.org

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Kate Bigam

About Kate Bigam

Kate Bigam is the URJ's Social Media and Community Manager. Prior to this, she served as a Congregational Representative for the URJ's East District and at the Religious Action Center as Press Secretary and as an Eisendrath Legislative Assistant. Kate is a native of Cuyahoga Falls, OH, and currently resides in Red Bank, N.J.

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