Majority of donors 'very concerned' about charities sharing their contact details

Receiving telephone fundraising calls
Receiving telephone fundraising calls

Almost two-thirds of donors and almost three-quarters of over-65s say they would be very concerned if a charity passed their contact details on to another organisation, according to research seen by Third Sector.

The research was presented today by the Direct Market Association at a summit hosted by the Fundraising Standards Board and the Institute of Fundraising to review concerns about telephone fundraising practices.

The research, based on a survey of 1,002 donors, shows that 64 per cent of people said they would be "very concerned" if a charity passed their contact details on to another organisation, while 62 per cent would feel this way if a charity kept asking for money. Seventy-one per cent of donors aged over 65 said that both practices would seriously concern them.

Almost half of all respondents (49 per cent) and 57 per cent of over-65s said they would be "very concerned" if a charity sent them too much marketing material.

Forty-eight per cent said they would be "very concerned" about a charity not keeping the promise made on their permission statement (the statement seeking permission to contact donors), while 41 per cent gave this response about a charity losing their contact details.

A spokesman for the DMA said the trade body had not commissioned the research and that the bodies that had done so did not want to be identified. The Information Commissioner’s Office said it had not commissioned the research;  FRSB and IoF could not be reached for comment ahead of Third Sector’s deadline.

Attendees at the summit, which was not open to the media, included Peter Lewis, chief executive of the IoF; Daniel Fluskey, head of policy and research at the IoF; Alistair McLean, chief executive of the FRSB; Colin Lloyd, outgoing chair of the FRSB; Judith Jones, government and society group manager at the Information Commissioner’s Office; Mike Lordan, director of external affairs at the DMA; and Judith Crawley, member of the DMA Contact Centre and Telemarketing Council and the DMA North Council.

According to tweets from the IoF’s Lewis, a representative from the ICO said the regulator was currently reviewing direct marketing guidance and would take views into account, while the DMA’s Crawley spoke about the DMA’s work and new guidance and toolkits relating to calling vulnerable people which it plans to release in August.

Earlier this month, Save the Children announced that it had banned telephone cold-calling and would not share supporter details with agencies. The move came after politicians including a Conservative MP, Nigel Evans, called for it to be made illegal for charities to share or sell information about their donors to other charities or organisations. 

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