Northern Illinois University Foundation Data Sharing and Privacy Policy

Thank you for your support of the Northern Illinois University Foundation (“NIU Foundation”, “we”, “us” or “our”). This is the Privacy Policy (“Policy”) that governs how we use Personal Information (defined below) that we collect, receive and store about you in connection with the use of any of our websites, including, and, as well as any other website(s) that we may operate (collectively and together with any subdomains and the content therein, the “Site”), as well as our alumni services generally.

The NIU Foundation values and respects the privacy of our alumni, donors, and other visitors to our site, and ensuring that you know how we use your information is important to us. This Policy explains how we handle the collection, use and sharing of Personal Information that we obtain and the choices that you have about how the NIU Foundation uses your Personal Information. “Personal Information” means any information that can be used, alone or in combination with other information, to personally identify an individual, including a first and last name, email address, or a personal profile.

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Consent and Modification

Although any future changes to this Policy are likely to be minor, the NIU Foundation may change this Policy from time to time in our sole discretion and we encourage you to review this Policy periodically. If you have an alumni account, you should also check the NIU Alumni Association homepage for alerts to these changes. Your continued use of the Site after any change in this Policy will constitute your acceptance of such changes.

If you have any questions about this Policy or how we use your Personal Information and similar data, please feel free to contact us at

Personal Information and Other Data We Collect and How We Collect It

A significant proportion of the data we hold on you, including Personal Information, is that which you provide to us directly, including your name, email address, mailing address, and similar. There are many instances in which you may provide us with this information. For example, when you update your contact information via the account profile section, the information you provide is stored by the NIU Foundation; when you ask us to send you newsletters, brochures, or other content by email, we will retain the email address that you provide us in order to fulfill your request; if you choose to register for events on, we will retain the information that you provide in connection with the same.

If you make a gift to the NIU Foundation via the online gift form, you must provide personal information to complete the transaction, including your name, email address, billing address, phone number and credit card information. We will keep a record of the transaction; however, rest assured that the NIU Foundation does not store credit card numbers or expiration dates, except as necessary to administer scheduled payments through a vendor-provided, PCI-compliant solution.

From time to time, we may ask Site visitors, registrants, and/or donors to complete surveys and opinion polls regarding activities, attitudes, and interests. These surveys help us understand the needs of our visitors and allow us to better plan future priorities. If you were ever a student at Northern Illinois University, some of your Personal Data will be transferred from your student record to the NIU Foundation’s alumni database.

If you provide any additional information, whether or not Personal Information, beyond what we require, doing so is entirely at your election. We will retain the Personal Information that you choose to provide in those instances in accordance with this Policy.

We may also collect certain data about you automatically when you visit our Site. This data may include your browser type, operating system, mobile device type and carrier, Internet service provider (“ISP”), internet protocol (“IP”) address, and your location. We may also collect information about your use of and interaction with the Site (such as the pages viewed, whether you open, forward, or click-through links, emails, and ads) the number of times you return to the Site, and other similar usage data. We collect this information by using technologies such as:

Log Files: A log file is a text file which resides on our servers, and which records pertinent information about your interactions with our Site at the time of access. Log file data is used primarily for diagnostic and auditing purposes.

Cookies: A cookie is a small data file which resides on your device, and which allows us to recognize you as a user when you return using the same device or web browser. Cookie data is used to customize your experience when you use our Site. You can configure your web browser to warn you each time a cookie is being sent or to refuse cookies completely. However, if you opt to refuse cookies created by our Site, you accept that your ability to use our Site may be impaired or limited, up to and including loss of access to certain portions of the Site, until such time as you accept these cookies.

Embedded Scripts: An embedded script is programming code (particularly JavaScript) that collects information about your interactions with our Site. The code is temporarily downloaded onto your device, from our server or a third-party service provider, and is deactivated or deleted when you disconnect from our Site. You can configure your web browser to disable the use of embedded scripts. However, if you opt to disable embedded scripts which we incorporate into our Site, you accept that your ability to use it may be impaired or limited, up to and including loss of access to certain portions of the Site, until such time as you enable these embedded scripts.

We may also use other technologies that collect similar information for security and fraud detection purposes.

In addition, we augment the data we directly collect and hold as set forth herein above with data from our partners and publicly available data. We use targeted internet searches and may search the following websites (either directly or using search engines), when relevant, to obtain and maintain the accuracy of the data listed above.


How We Use Your Data and Personal Information

Your data and Personal Information is used for a number of interdependent purposes in support of alumni relations, communications, and fundraising. These include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • sending you publications (e.g. alumni magazines and updates about the University);
  • conducting surveys, including research on when and whether particular donations or funding appeals may be of interest to you;
  • providing services, including access to University facilities and alumni-only opportunities;
  • sending you tailored proposals, appeals, and requests for donations;
  • sending you details about volunteering opportunities;
  • inviting you to alumni and other University events;
  • the promotion of other opportunities and services available to you (e.g. offers and opportunities available through the University’s network of alumni clubs);
  • wealth analysis and research to improve our understanding of our alumni and supporters, inform our fundraising strategy, and target our communications more effectively;
  • internal record keeping, including the management of any feedback or complaints; and
  • administrative purposes (e.g. to process a donation you have made or to administer an event you have registered for or attended).

In connection with the same, we will also compile and maintain an alumni record containing details about your past interaction with the NIU Foundation and University, your interests, and similar details. Most records will contain the following types of information:

  • Education details (e.g. degree type, school, major, year);
  • Unique personal identifiers and biographical information (e.g. student identification number, date of birth, ethnicity, citizenship);
  • Your contact information (e.g. email addresses, phone numbers, mailing addresses);
  • Your interactions with the University, the NIU Alumni Association, and schools and/or programs, including:
    • your membership in alumni clubs, giving societies, and alumni groups
    • your attendance at University events
    • your volunteer participation with the University
    • other contact with us or our partners
    • details of benefits and services provided to you
    • your relationships with other alumni or supporters of the University
    • your participation in student activities and varsity sports
    • your participation in online programming such as webinars and our “Meet a Huskie” series;
  • Family information (e.g. your marital status, the name of your partner or spouse, children’s names, if provided by you directly or if children are themselves alumni);
  • Personal details provided by you for a specific purpose (e.g. disability and dietary preferences for event management purposes);
  • Communication preferences (to help us provide tailored and relevant communications);
  • Employment information;
  • Financial information relating to you and your family, including:
    • your history of donations made to the University
    • your ability and willingness to make donations, including our assessment of your capacity and whether particular donations or funding appeals may be of interest to you
    • your philanthropic interests;
  • your career highlights and other life achievements; and
  • information about your areas of interest and activities.

We may use automated or manual analyses to link data together to help us identify your potential for supporting the University, schools, and programs. We do these analyses to provide you with an improved experience, to send you communications which are relevant and timely, to identify volunteering opportunities or opportunities for providing support which may be of interest to you, and to avoid approaching you with opportunities which are not of interest. All of this enables us to raise funds more cost-effectively and to be more responsible in our use of University funds, in support of the University’s strategic research and teaching objectives.

We always seek to ensure that any opportunities we present are aligned with your interests, based on the research we conduct.

Communication to you may be by postal mail, telephone, or electronic means (principally by email), depending on the contact details we hold, the consent that you have provided, and the preferences expressed by you about the types of communications you wish to receive. You can update your communication preferences here (hyperlink).

We may also use any of the information we collect to improve our Site. We review information to learn about how our Site is used and accessed, and to analyze user behavior as a measure of interest in and use of our Site. We may disclose such analyses to third parties in the form of aggregate data, such as overall patterns or demographic reports that do not describe or identify any individual. We also may share pertinent Personal Information with our contractors, vendors, and other affiliates and partners for the authorized purposes of processing data for marketing, research, analytics, customer support and account management.

How We Share Your Data

We do not sell, trade, rent or otherwise disclose your Personal Information, except as described here.

We share Personal Information we collect from and about you among Northern Illinois University programs and initiatives. We may also share the information with service providers we have retained to perform services on our behalf, such as to help run programs and provide customer service. These service providers may have access to Personal Information about our visitors if it is needed to perform their functions for the NIU Foundation, but they are not authorized by the NIU Foundation to use or disclose the information except as necessary to perform services on our behalf or to comply with legal requirements.

We occasionally share your Personal Information with unaffiliated third parties for their own marketing purposes; you may opt out of this by de-selecting “Business Partners (Third Party)” here. Third-Party partners are never allowed to either permanently retain or re-sell your information in any way. This shared data is typically used to market products or services which are exclusive to alumni and friends and provide value to the constituent. The NIU Foundation may benefit financially from these arrangements. Additionally, some data may be used temporarily for a “soft credit” pull, to identify qualification for special offers. These research means will never impact your credit score and are used to provide certain benefits (such as branded credit cards, for example) to qualifying alumni and friends.

In addition, we may disclose information where we believe it necessary to investigate or prevent an actual or suspected crime or injury to ourselves or others, if required by law, or in response to a request from law enforcement authorities or other government officials.

We may also share aggregated or de-identified information about you, including based on your email address, with our advertising and marketing partners, and third-party media platforms, including social media sites, to allow them to send targeted advertising messages and/or conduct analyses on our behalf. You may be able to opt out of these ads by clicking on an icon in the ad or through the privacy settings in each social media platform.

Your Choices and Accuracy of Your Personal Information

You always have the choice whether or not to provide Personal Information to us. If you choose not to provide Personal Information, you can still use any portion of our Site or the features of the NIU Foundation that do not require Personal Information.

If you do provide us with Personal Information, we want to make sure it remains accurate and up to date. You can use the tools that we make available to modify or remove certain information related to your record. If you need to correct or update any other part(s) of your Personal Information, you can submit a change request directly to the NIU Foundation by emailing us at or by via this link. If you elect to email us, please be sure to include sufficient details to allow us to make the necessary changes.

How We Protect Your Data and Personal Information

The security of your data and Personal Information is important to us. The NIU Foundation maintains administrative, technical, and physical safeguards to protect against unauthorized use, disclosure, alteration, or destruction of all of the data that we collect on or through any of our Sites, or otherwise in connection with alumni activities. While we strive to protect your data and Personal Information, we cannot guarantee its absolute security. We encourage you to retain copies of any and all data provided to us on your own systems, to adhere to reasonable security policies and guidelines pertinent to your situation, and to practice personal habits of digital security.  Note that our database is not subject to FOIA requests.

Rights of European Union Residents Under the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”)

Residents of the European Union member countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden) have the following rights vis a vis the NIU Foundation under GDPR:

  • Ask us for access to, or correction or erasure, of your data;
  • Restrict processing (pending correction or deletion);
  • Object to communications or direct marketing; and
  • Ask for the transfer of your data electronically to a third party (data portability)

Legal Basis for Processing Your Data Under GDPR


We rely on separate and overlapping bases to process your Personal Information lawfully, including to process a transaction you have requested, to carry out our responsibilities under a contract, or in certain cases to pursue the legitimate interests of the NIU Foundation, where those interests are not overridden by your rights and interests. The NIU Foundation handles your personal data securely and takes proactive measures to minimize its use. We will retain your Personal Information for so long as you maintain a relationship with the University or until you request us to do otherwise. We will publish on our website any changes we make to this data protection statement and notify you by other communication channels where appropriate.

Where you exercise your right to erasure, we will continue to maintain a core set of personal data (name, subject(s), matriculation and graduation details, unique University identification number, and date of birth) to ensure we do not contact you inadvertently in the future, and to maintain your academic record for archive purposes. We may also need to retain some financial records about you for statutory purposes (e.g. anti-fraud and accounting matters).

Links to Third-Party Websites

This website may contain links to other websites. We provide these links solely for your convenience and information. Different websites have different privacy practices. You should always check the privacy notice of the specific site you are visiting to understand the privacy practices associated with that site. We are not responsible for the content or privacy practices of third-party websites. Third parties, such as Facebook, may use cookies, web beacons, and other storage technologies to collect or receive information from the NIU Foundation websites and elsewhere on the Internet and use that information to provide measurement services and target ads. To opt out of such third-party use or adjust your email preferences, please utilize this link.

Children’s Privacy

The NIU Foundation Site is not directed to children under the age of 13 and we do not intentionally or knowingly collect data on children younger than 13 years old without parental consent. If we learn that a child under the age of 13 has provided us with Personal Information, or that such Personal Information has otherwise been inadvertently collected, we will delete it in accordance with applicable law. If you have reason to believe that a child under 13 years of age is providing data to the NIU Foundation, please contact

California Privacy

California residents have additional rights regarding the privacy and disclosure of Personal Information, including, but not limited to a right to request that the NIU Foundation not sell their Personal Information, as well as a right to be informed about our other uses and disclosures of their Personal Information.

We do not sell your Personal Information, and we use and disclose Personal Information solely in accordance with this Policy. If you are a California resident and would like additional information about our use of your Personal Information, please contact us as indicated below. 

California Do Not Track Notice

California law requires websites to disclose whether they and/or any third party(s) collect Personal Information about their users’ online activities over time and across different sites.  California law also requires that we disclose how we respond to “do not track” signals and similar mechanisms.

We do not track you over time or across third-party websites. As such, we do not respond to “do not track” signals. If you would like to learn more about browser tracking signals and “do not track” generally, please visit

Nevada Privacy

If you are a Nevada resident, you may ask us to add you to our opt-out list for possible future sales of certain information that we have collected or will collect about you. To submit such a request, please contact us as indicated below.

Questions or Comments About this Privacy Policy

If you have questions about deleting or correcting your personal data, please contact Advancement Services at or ‘Update Your Info’.