Charities fear impact of door drop opt-out plans

Charities have expressed concern over the Direct Marketing Association's proposal to introduce a mail preference service for unaddressed direct mail, known as door drops.

The service would enable people to have their addresses removed from door drop mailing lists.

"Anything that reduces our potential to target donors endangers what we want to achieve," said Maxine Reynolds, head of one-to-one fundraising at the Children's Society, which completed a door drop targeting two million homes in September. "I would also be concerned about what would happen when people move but their address is still registered to the service, because it could mean losing potential donors."

Reynolds admitted that the returns on the Children's Society's most recent door drop campaign had been disappointing. "These things go in cycles," she said. "If something is working, then all the charities jump on the bandwagon and the returns are lower for a while."

Lisa Williams, donor recruitment manager at the NSPCC, expressed similar fears. "We recruit about a third of our donors through door drops, and have just completed a campaign that targeted 14 million households," she said. "These proposals are a concern because we don't want to lose potential donors."

The DMA plans to consult stakeholders in the new year. Robert Keitch, director of media development at the DMA, said: "We believe that the consumer has a right to express a preference. There is a demand for this service and it would be silly for us not to listen to the public."

The proposals were still in the planning stages, he said.

- See News analysis, page 10.

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