Dispelling Five Common CharityTracker Myths
By Beth Zinn
Program Director True Charity Community Initiative & CharityTracker

Myth: CharityTracker is not secure enough to protect my clients’ personal information.
Reality: The proper and secure handling of your clients’ personal information is a major priority. The CharityTracker developers regularly consult with HIPAA experts, hospital legal teams, attorneys, and internet security professionals to ensure personal information is properly handled according to rigid security standards. CharityTracker employs 256-bit SSL encryption - the same internet security method used by banks, the federal government, and credit card companies. Additionally, CharityTracker has a customizable "permission-based" security system for information-sharing on a need-to-know basis. Member organizations can make the choice to share or not share certain information according to their own policies and procedures.

Myth: When entering a new client in CharityTracker, I am required to input my client’s social security number.
Reality: We recommend against entering your client’s social security number, but when necessary and appropriate, we recommend entering the last 4 digits, e.g., when your client has a common name or when you don’t have much other identifying information like a date of birth or address. When a client is added to CharityTracker, the system generates a random Case Number for your client, and you may use that number as an identifier both internally and externally. Remember: you must obtain a signed Release of Information form for every client you enter into CharityTracker; otherwise, you are allowed only to enter a client’s first and last name and make that person visible to your organization only.

Myth: CharityTrackers best and main function is the community bulletin board.
Reality: While our community does frequently use the community bulletin board to help meet clients’ needs, CharityTracker is designed to help organizations:
 Track assistances and referrals in real-time
 Monitor and measure goals outcomes, i.e. track clients’ progress toward sustainability
 Use customized assessments to identify needs and appropriate care
    (contact Beth Zinn at beth@elmhsv.org for more details)
 Securely share information
 Become more resourceful by reducing duplication of services
 Quickly find, mobilize, and coordinate resources in real-time
 Manage programs, generate reports, and measure successful impact
 Instantly broadcast bulletins and alerts

Myth: CharityTracker is complicated and inflexible.
Reality: CharityTracker is user-friendly and customizable for an organization’s everyday needs. Development of CharityTracker tools happen through feedback and collaboration with many different organizations across the country, primarily through the local network administrators. When used regularly by a large number of organizations, CharityTracker will help our community collectively tackle our challenges with greater force and success. If you have suggestions for software development and/or improvement, please contact Beth Zinn at

Myth: CharityTracker membership is open only to nonprofits that provide services to residents  of Madison County.
Reality: CharityTracker membership is open to any organization that provides jobs, resources, or services, whether directly or indirectly, to residents of Madison County. This includes churches, charities, agencies, food banks, hospitals, for-profit businesses (i.e., potential donors and employers), and others. Permission levels and access vary by type of organization.

To request membership to the Madison County CharityTracker network, please visit https://huntsvilleal.charitytracker.net/request/
or contact Beth Zinn at beth@elmhsv.org.

by Beth Zinn

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"Compassion is a powerful force, a stamp of the Divine nature within our spirits." -Robert D. Lupton