Fundraising body raises concerns about new communication proposals

Institute of Fundraising highlights concerns surrounding new proposals, especially for small and medium size charities

| 26th Aug 16

The Institute of Fundraising (IoF) has responded to the publication of proposals for a service that will regulate and manage charity communications.

The proposals, put forward by the the Fundraising Preference Service (FPS), outline how the Regulator will enable individuals to only receive the fundraising communications they want and need.

The wide-ranging proposals, which cover digital communications as well as more traditional methods, recommend limiting the ability to register a vulnerable third-party member to those with power of attorney or the equivalent, to make certain that appropriate safeguards are in place for a legitimate decision to be made.

Views are also sought on how the FPS is expected to work alongside the Telephone Preference Service and the Mail Preference Service, with charities being offered the opportunity to contact those persons that have donated previously, yet are signed up to existing preference services.

Daniel Fluskey, head of policy and research at the Institute of Fundraising responded by saying: “It is important for people to have control and be able to easily communicate their preferences on contact from charities. However, we believe that these proposals can and should be improved upon to get a service that is both practical and makes a positive difference for charities and for the public. Over the next few weeks we will be consulting with our members on the discussion paper and responding in full.

“While we welcome the desire to mitigate the risk that individuals don’t inadvertently lose contact with charities they care about, we have real concerns about both the administrative burden and cost that the ‘one chance to communicate’ will bring for all charities, particularly smaller and medium-sized organisations. It also must be carefully looked at to ensure that this proposal does not result in a poor experience for supporters receiving several similar communications within a short time scale.

“There is more to be done to improve these proposals. The lack of detail in some important areas, including the issue of what is defined as ‘fundraising communications’, makes it hard to review the model for the FPS. The additional financial burden for charities should also be looked at – many charities will find it hard to pay additional costs.”


EU directive response

Meanwhile, the IoF has also responded to the EU consultation on its eprivacy directive.

In its submission to the EU commission, IoF said that charities should not be barred from sending marketing emails and texts to their existing supporters without specific consent. It added that the proposed prohibition on charities using the “soft opt-in” rule when sending marketing emails and texts should be removed.