The new web-based Fundraising Preference Service (“FPS”) is due to launch on Thursday 6th July. This service will allow members of the public quickly and easily to opt out of receiving direct marketing via email, personalised text message, telephone and personalised post from specific charities. The FPS will apply to all charities registered in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
How it works?
Users can choose up to three charities in each FPS request (and can make multiple requests) and will receive a confirmation of their request and notification that they will be removed from the selected charities’ mailing lists within 28 days. The FPS will notify the charity of the requests received and the charity must identify the individual in the charity’s mailing list, remove them within that timeframe and cease to send them direct marketing unless and until the individual opts back in. Any breach will mean that the charity will face legal action under a Data Protection Act Section 11 notice to cease direct marketing.
The aim of the service is to rebuild the public’s trust in charity fundraising, after the much publicised dissatisfaction in this area. The benefit for fundraising charities is that it will enable them to target their marketing campaigns going forward much more effectively with confidence that those they are contacting are happy to receive that contact. It will also help charities to comply with their data protection obligations more easily and efficiently.
Who will it affect most?
Charities that spend more than £100,000 on public fundraising each year should already have been contacted by the FPS to get set up and provide their preferences of how they will be notified of FPS requests. Other registered charities will be contacted using the email address held by the Charity Commission if and when the first FPS request is made about them.
Since the Board of the Fundraising Regulator released its decision to implement the FPS, there have been growing concerns regarding the impact the FPS will have on fundraising for smaller charities. Charities may be reviewing the staffing levels required and updating their operating systems to implement these changes, as well as taking a hit in fundraising from direct marketing campaigns.
We recommend that Charities should review their current approach to marketing and fundraising and ensure they are compliant with current rules and guidelines. Greenwoods’ Charity and not-for-profit expert Victoria Robinson can advise charities about the FPS (and generally) – do get in touch if you have any queries or concerns.