Telephone rules need to be clarified, finds fundraising summit » Charity Digital News

Telephone rules need to be clarified, finds fundraising summit


Charities and fundraising agencies need to be properly educated on how to use the telephone when asking for donations, a UK fundraising summit has found.

The summit was co-hosted by the Fundraising Standards Board and the Institute of Fundraising (IoF) and was attended by a number of telephone regulators, including the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and the Telephone Preference Service.

The aim of the summit was to find out whether suppliers and charities were complying with strict telephone donation procedures, such as the Code of Fundraising Practice and Information Commissioner’s Office guidance.

There has been controversy surrounding charity fundraising methods after a national newspaper uncovered that national client charities were ‘bullying’ donors into making donations, with the death of Olive Cooke being used as a prime example.

As a result of Olive’s death, Save The Children became the first charity to ban cold-calling.

The summit found a huge difference of opinion between event speakers and members of the audience, with both groups harbouring different views on data consent options, warm donor relationships and contact frequency.

Following the event the ICO have consented to putting a number of measures in place to improve the clarity of telephone fundraising rules, including:

  • Using summit feedback in its upcoming Direct Marketing Guidance review.
  • Meeting with the IoF to contribute to the review.
  • Allowing the IoF to share the review amongst its own telephone fundraising task group that is also reviewing its own code of conduct.

Alistair McLean, chief executive officer of the Fundraising Standards Board is delighted that telephone donation rules are set to be clarified.

‘‘Public feeling and recent allegations about telephone fundraising are deeply worrying and it’s clear that charities and agencies alike need greater clarity in the rules they are expected to abide by in operating within the legal requirements of the TPS.’’

‘‘It’s encouraging that the IoF will be working with the ICO to identify amendments to the Code going forward.’’

Related reading

  • It’s not just telephone guidelines that need clarifying. Take Clause 118 in the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) which seems to suggest that you need to get prior consent from anyone who might receive a viral ‘marketing’ message (which for charities, if you look at Clause 44, could include any fundraising or campaigning message). I’m quite sure many in the charity sector simply don’t know about or don’t care about the rules and that is wrong. I’ve seen some shocking examples of poor Data Protection knowledge myself. But if the rules are unclear or confusing or simply not keeping up to date with modern life that needs addressing too. Please don’t share this with any of your readers, I think that’s illegal!

    “PECR 118.In other words, the same rules will apply to any electronically stored messages, including email, text, picture, video, voicemail, answerphone and some social networking messages. The rules also still apply to viral marketing – organisations will still need consent even if they do not send the messages themselves, but instead instigate others to send or forward them.”

    “PECR 44. … 44. For example, a charity or political party contacting particular individuals to appeal for funds or votes, or contacting supporters to encourage them to write to their MP or attend a public meeting or rally, would be covered by the direct marketing rules”