Institute consults on Direct Mail guidelines

The Institute of Fundraising is consulting on its first code of practice on the "contentious" issue of direct mail. Prior to the launch, chief executive Lindsay Boswell described the practice as a "top disgruntlement factor for donors".

Direct Mail Code of Fundraising Practice promotes responsible use of the medium and offers guidance on practicalities such as data collection, shock tactics, enclosures inside packs and ethical considerations.

"It will act as a back-stop to prevent the short-term profit-taking that actually threatens the market and could well ruin it for good, long-term fundraising,” said Stephen Pidgeon, chairman at Target Direct and chair of the Direct Marketing Code Working Party. “It will encourage fundraisers to chose suitable methods for their donors, to consider the most appropriate content for mail packs and how often donors should be approached in this way."

The code will become the benchmark for the Fundraising Standards Board to judge complaints of its members against so it is important that fundraisers help set the standard, Boswell told Third Sector Online.

“Direct Mail is an area of fundraising which has traditionally been seen as contentious amongst donors,” he said. “It is the role of the Institute of Fundraising is to ensure appropriate codes of fundraising practice are developed but it is the role of the fundraising community to decide what the fundraising standards should be.”

The consultation will run until 28 September.

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