Institute of Fundraising set to revise code on telephone fundraising

'Admin' calls a matter of concern, says Information Commissioner's Office

The Institute of Fundraising's code of practice on telephone fundraising does not comply fully with the law and is likely to be revised, Third Sector has learned.

The code says fundraisers should not telephone supporters who have asked not to be called, but exempts "calls undertaken in the course of the administration of support that has already been achieved".

It also exempts calls that ask people to get involved with trading or volunteering, calls that "provide information" and calls to thank supporters.

Senior figures in fundraising have admitted privately that the code is likely to be changed so it covers all telephone calls by fundraisers. The change could follow the summit on telephone fundraising in December.

"All calls, including administrative calls, should be covered by the code," said one fundraising leader. "As it stands, it is wrong. I hope that as a result of the summit it can be changed."

Concern grew after the Information Commissioner's Office reviewed the IoF code last week and issued a statement emphasising that anyone who had asked not to be called should not be called. The ICO enforces the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations, a UK law based on the EU E-Privacy Directive.

The statement said: "Organisations should not disguise calls intended to persuade people to agree to receive marketing calls as 'admin' calls that would not otherwise have been made.

"We would be concerned if organisations are making these types of calls to individuals who have previously asked not to be contacted."

Paul Amadi, chair of the institute, said: "I would expect that the code will not remain silent on administrative calls. There is a lack of clarity about what is meant by 'administration' and we need to address this."

The issue was raised after Karl Holweger, chief executive of telephone fundraising agency Pell & Bales, advocated making 'administrative' calls to supporters who had asked not to be called in order to check whether they had changed their minds.

The institute's code on telephone fundraising was revised last year by a working party chaired by Holweger.


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