Fundraisers must comply with IoF consent changes by June 2016

The Institute of Fundraising's new code is now in force but it accepts that organisations will need time to adapt to the changes

Fundraisers have until June to comply with the Institute of Fundraising’s code changes on opt-in and opt-out statements, it has announced.

The changes, published in September amid a range of amendments to the IoF’s Code of Fundraising Practice, require fundraisers to include statements clearly explaining how donors can opt out from receiving communications in all the addressed materials they send out. They must also adhere to minimum font size requirements of at least 10 points for their opt-in and opt-out statements on all printed communications.

The IoF said on its website that while the changes were made official on Thursday, the FRSB had agreed to a transition period of six months for organisations to be compliant. 

"The IoF and FRSB appreciate that organisations may already have designed and printed future marketing materials and campaigns without the required wording in the minimum size that these changes require," the IoF said.

"We want to ensure that organisations have necessary time to adapt to these changes without incurring undue charges and cost to replace materials that have already been produced."

However, it said the FRSB would still expect organisations that breached the rules over the next six months to justify why this was if there were complaints.

"The FRSB will retain its discretion to be able to investigate complaints," the IoF said.

The IoF is urging organisations that feel they have a good reason for not being compliant with the changes after 10 June to contact the FRSB to discuss the situation. The regulator would consider such circumstances on a case by case basis, the IoF said.

Introducing standardisation in the presentation and wording of opt-out statements for different fundraising methods was first decided on by the IoF at a meeting of its standards committee in June.

This was followed in September with the announcement that every addressed fundraising communication must carry a clear message explaining how donors could easily opt out of communications and that opt-in and opt-out statements must be in the same font and type size as text that captures the donor's details and donation amount. The rule dictates that in the absence of text asking for personal details or specifying the donation amount, type must be no smaller than 10 point.

All but two of the code changes the IoF announced in September have now been incorporated formally into the code. 

Those yet to be enforced are the requirement for fundraisers to secure express consent from individuals in order to share their data with third parties and the requirement for fundraisers to use an op-out icon, produced by the Institute of Fundraising, on their printed communications to make it easier to find opt-out information.

A spokesman for the IoF told Third Sector the new rule around opt-in consent to share data had been delayed because the IoF was waiting for the ICO to announce new direct marketing guidance around consent which could affect the nature of the code change.

He said the icon had not been launched yet because the IoF wanted to talk to the new fundraising regulator about the "kite mark" it is expected to launch to allow charities to demonstrate to the public that they adhere to its rules.

"We need to talk to the new regulator about what this would look like," the spokesman said. "We obviously don’t want to pre-empt anything that the new regulator might want to introduce because there would be a real danger that this would just confuse the public and undermine the efforts to improve control and restore trust."

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