Proposed new data rules could be detrimental to charity fundraising, CIOF warns

The Chartered Institute of Fundraising has warned that parts of the government’s new data strategy could be detrimental to charity fundraising.

The membership body was responding to a government consultation on reforms to the UK's data protection regime, which the CIOF said was welcome and contained some positive proposals.

These include the creation of a limited, exhaustive list of “legitimate interests” for which organisations can use personal data without applying a balancing test in order to give them more confidence to process such data without unnecessary need for consent.

Examples include using audience measurement cookies or similar technologies to improve web pages that are frequently visited by service users and using personal data for internal research and development purposes, or business innovation purposes aimed at improving services for customers.

But the body said it disagreed with some of the proposed activities in the list.

The CIOF said: “We do not disagree with the inclusion of the proposed activities in the list, but do believe that without a specific inclusion of fundraising/direct marketing the creation of a list would be detrimental to charity fundraising and the experience of people who support charities.”

It called for direct marketing, which includes fundraising, to be on the list that does not require a balancing test.

“The result of this would be that charities are more reassured about being able to undertake direct marketing activity to provide insight and inform their supporter approach and for that communication to be best aligned to that individual’s interest and preferences, providing an enhanced experience and furthering relations between supporters and charities they give to,” the body said.

The CIOF also said there were a number of areas where data protection could be improved, including bringing clarity to “ongoing confusion and hesitancy” on being able to ask a supporter if they wanted to claim Gift Aid on a donation.

It would also like to seek reassurance on reusing publicly available data such as information from Companies House for new purposes, and on the length of time they should be able to keep supporter records.

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