We found few articles online that provide guidance on recordkeeping for donor relationships. Most online resources provide guidance for general recordkeeping for 501(c)3s but not for donor recordkeeping specifically. We provide links at the bottom of this page for these resources.
Upon finding little information online, we consulted with industry professionals on what records nonprofits should retain for their donor relationships and for how long. Here is the result of our findings:
It is common for organizations to retain both physical and digital files. I think a Cloud platform is a good choice for saving records however to be completely safe from loss, paper copies should be kept as a backup. Also, a Cloud platform should have a cybersecurity policy in place to prevent theft of donor information.
It is most common for organizations to retain records for seven years (not including some higher level documents which must be retained permanently). See links below for a list of permanent documents.
Center for Nonprofit Excellence:
Council of Nonprofits:
Of course, the IRS will have guidance on this topic as well, especially with regards to tax compliance.
https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p4221pc.pdf (Private Charity)
https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p4221pf.pdf (Private Foundation)
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