Alban Institute discusses how churches handle sensitive information using a case study as an example of how things can go wrong without prior planning:
Every congregation faces decisions about how to manage sensitive information, and some congregations have to make difficult decisions in the midst of crises. Highly stressful situations rarely bring out the best in anyone. Faith leaders can practice making difficult decisions wisely now—instead of waiting until a congregational predicament forces them to become instant specialists at information management. Carefully made decisions enhance the congregation's long-term health, without unnecessarily harming individuals. Knee-jerk reactions, especially during a crisis, have lasting negative repercussions. Taking time to seriously pay attention to the process of making decisions results in information management that creates a stronger faith community.
A four-step process works for making all sorts of decisions. Leaders need to (1) assess the situation, (2) consider the options and determine the plan, (3) act, and then (4) evaluate. However, the management of sensitive material is fraught with complexity and nuances. The more attention leaders pay to each step in the decision-making process, the more prudent their decisions. If leaders leap into action too quickly, their ineffective information management results in unexpected problems down the road.
Read the case study here.