Most donors would not opt-in to future fundraising, research shows

Research by nfpSynergy found members of the public are suspicious of how charities use their data

Just 16 per cent of people would opt-in to being contacted about future appeals when donating to a charity, research by the consultancy nfpSynergy has revealed.

NfpSynergy conducted a set of focus groups in May this year to explore how the general public felt about the implications of the General Data Protection Regulation on charities and combined it with quantitative research from its quarterly public opinion tracking survey.

The GDPR is due to come into force in May 2018 and will require charities to prove that people have opted in to being contacted.

In a blog post published yesterday afternoon, Jo Fischl, head of public audiences research at nfpSynergy said the quantitative research had found that when people were asked to imagine they had just donated to their favourite charity and to fill out a consent form about the future use of the data.

Less than half (47 per cent) of respondents said they would opt in to hear more about what the charity did with their money, and only 16 per cent opted in to be asked to donate to future appeals.

Just 5 per cent said they would be willing to have their data shared with other, carefully chosen charities.

The research also found that in general the public believes that charities should be treated just as stringently as businesses if they break data-protection rules.

Fischl said the research shows the public unease about the use of data and demonstrated the vastness of the challenge of encouraging opt-in.

She said there was a tendency for people to feel that they are being taken for a ride by organisations over their data and that charities were not immune to such perceptions which creates "default position of suspicion when charities ask for personal data".

She said that with donors reluctant to opt-in to contact, charities’ databases were likely to shrink and their incomes fall under GDPR.

Charities need to create a culture of transparency in order to navigate this, she said, in order to dispel the public’s suspicion and encourage them to donate.

The full report, GDPR – The Change That Charity Donors Want, is due to be made publically available in September.

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