Sector seeks clarification on telephone fundraising

Information Commissioner's Office asked to explain 'administrative' calls

The Institute of Fundraising and the Fundraising Standards Board will ask the Information Commissioner's Office to issue a statement explaining what 'marketing' or 'administrative' calls can be made to people who have asked charities not to contact them.

At a summit about telephone fundraising on 27 November, representatives from telephone fundraising agencies and major sector bodies discussed the areas where they thought existing guidance was unclear. They produced a list of four issues (see Fact file), including administrative calls, where they wanted to know what was permitted by law.

The meeting was in part a response to the October announcement by telephone fundraising agency Pell & Bales that it would stop its practice of making 'administrative' calls to supporters who had asked not to be contacted to check whether they had changed their minds about being called.

Colin Lloyd, chair of the FRSB and the Telephone Preference Service, chaired the summit. He told Third Sector: "There are varying interpretations as to how the guidance should be applied in practice, and we need to make sure charities and fundraising agencies are completely clear about the rules."


The institute and the FRSB will ask the ICO to provide a full interpretation of what constitutes a marketing call, as opposed to an administrative call.

The ICO says that "for the time being", charities can continue to call existing supporters who have subsequently signed up to the TPS. The institute and the FRSB will ask the ICO to explain what this means in practice.

The institute's code on telephone fundraising refers to donors with whom charities have a "warm" relationship. Fundraisers were unsure what constituted a warm relationship and asked the institute to write a definition into its code.

The institute and the FRSB will ask the ICO to confirm what permissions charities must gain from members of the public in order to use their personal data for marketing purposes.


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