European Fundraising Association opposes opt-in personal data system

Plans to tighten telephone marketing regulations could affect charity fundraising

The European Fundraising Association is to write to the European Commission urging it not to introduce an opt-in system for the use of personal data that could affect UK fundraisers.

The commission is running a public consultation on its Data Protection Directive. Senior figures in UK fundraising are concerned that the consultation could lead to the introduction of an opt-in system for the use of personal data for marketing purposes, which could affect both telephone fundraising and direct mail.

Louise Richards, head of policy and campaigns at the Institute of Fundraising, which represents the UK within the EFA, said members of the umbrella body for fundraising associations had decided at a meeting in Barcelona last week that they would send a joint statement to the commission.

"Germany has recently tightened its restrictions on data protection; the EU revision comes hot on the heels of that," she said. "The fear is that the EU could adopt the German model and require other countries to tighten their regulations.

"It isn't an imminent threat, and any change would take a long time to implement. We hope it will not bring in an opt-in model, but we need to make sure that if it does there will be exemptions for charities."

She said there were some exemptions for charities in Germany, but they were not always clear. "Any changes to the EU directive must make it very clear to charities what they can and cannot do," she said.

The EFA is expected to send its response to the commission before Christmas.

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