Mobile phone preference service planned for later this year

Telephone Preference Service to create new register for those who don't want fundraising texts

The Telephone Preference Service is to launch a new register that lists the mobile phone numbers of people who have asked not to be contacted for fundraising or marketing purposes.

The new system, which is likely to be launched later this year, will contain more than a million numbers of people who have already registered with the TPS.

Charities and companies that use text messages for marketing will be able to access the new list, provisionally called the mobile preference service, to avoid accidentally sending text messages to individuals who have registered with the service.

Colin Lloyd, chair of the TPS, told Third Sector that more than 16 million landline and mobile numbers were already registered with the service and charities that wanted to send out fundraising appeals by SMS had to go through the time-consuming process of separating mobile numbers from landline numbers on the list.

He said the new system would separate the mobile numbers to create a new register. Organisations running SMS campaigns, said Lloyd, would be able to use the list to ascertain which numbers they should avoid sending messages to.

"When mobile phone registrations with the TPS passed the one million mark late last year, we decided it was time to bring in the new system," he said. "I hope it helps organisations to comply more effectively."

A spokesman for the Disasters Emergency Committee, which represents 13 aid charities and sends text messages to supporters, said: "We look forward to this with interest. Any steps that streamline bureaucracy are welcome."

Caroline Howe, policy and codes of practice manager at the Institute of Fundraising, said: "If with this system fundraisers find it easier and cheaper to access mobile numbers that have been registered with the Telephone Preference Service, this move would be beneficial and could help charities keep to best practice in this area."

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