Most nonprofit organizations gather parental consent to take photos of children and young people. The same best practice applies when gathering data from these young people, whether through surveys, interviews, or focus groups. It is important for parents and caregivers to understand that their children will be asked questions about their outcomes and experiences in the program. This demonstrates transparency as well as respect and gives them choice about the types of activities and experiences they want for their children.
We recommend weaving parent/caregiver consent forms into registration materials along with the other types of consent already being gathered.
If you have already registered young people, send a separate consent form to parents prior to administering surveys. We offer a few different types that can be adapted to suit various organizational needs.
When deciding which type of parental consent forms are best for your program, there are a number of factors to consider. You’ll find helpful guidance on how to obtain consent below along with links to sample consent forms in English, Spanish, French, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese.
Are you using online surveys for young people ages 13 and under?
When surveying young people ages 13 and under online in the United States, you need to follow a federal law called the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). This law regulates children’s access to the internet. If you plan to administer surveys on cell phones, tablets, or computers — whether owned by the young person, a school, or your program — you are required to obtain parental/caregiver consent per COPPA regulations. Signed forms must be on record within your agency, and Hello Insight must be sent a copy. Scan completed forms, and email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
When using paper surveys with young people ages 13 and under, COPPA does not apply.
Are you a YMCA?
If you are a YMCA, data is shared with the YMCA of the USA headquarters office for research purposes. Please embed the YMCA Consent Forms into your registration materials and ensure you have a signed consent on file from each and every parent or caregiver.
Are you using Hello Insight surveys solely to learn and improve?
No matter the age of the young people you're surveying, it is always important to consider how the data you are collecting will be used.
Most nonprofit organizations gather information to provide evidence that their programs are operating at a high quality and achieving set outcomes. The findings are shared with stakeholders and used to drive ongoing quality improvement.
If your organization will be using Hello Insight survey data in this way, we recommend using an “opt-out” parent consent form that automatically enrolls young people in the process unless parents/caregivers opted out by returning a form.
By offering an opt-out choice, you do not need to receive signed consent forms nor keep them on file. Rather, wait two weeks after distributing forms to ensure parents have sufficient time to opt out, if they so choose.
Please Note: If you are a nonprofit operating within a school, you often do not need to follow their Internal Review Board (IRB) guidelines. In fact, it is very likely that your evaluation work does not fall within their definition of “research.” In other words, it is not for the purpose of developing generalizable knowledge for the field. Rather it is for the purpose of understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your work
Are you using online surveys for young people ages 18 and older?
When surveying young people 18 and older you do not need parental consent. However, be sure those administering surveys verbally convey the points in our Facilitator’s Guide to Survey Administration. Doing so will let them know that their participation is completely voluntary and that they can skip any questions that make them uncomfortable.
Are you using Hello Insight surveys to conduct research?
You might be gathering data for a study that seeks to create more generalizable knowledge for the field. You also may be gathering data within institutions that have strict research ethics committees, such as an Internal Review Board (IRB), Independent Ethics Committee (IEC), Ethical Review Board (ERB), or Research Ethics Board (REB). Such organizations might include national institutions, school boards, or other government agencies.
Many of these types of organizations have stricter standards and legal guidelines. They often have committees that determine whether the work you are doing qualifies as research and that ensure ethical standards are met.
Each has its own requirements related to the types of projects that fall under its jurisdiction and which materials they need to review. Most accept an “opt-out” parent/caregiver consent form. However, some organizations require that consent forms be signed by all parents. This may vary from institution to institution, so it is best to review these forms with your research ethics committee.
If you need signed consent from all parents, use the Full Consent Form.