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Keeping up with the noise behind Fundraising Data Protection Regulation


Last week, representatives from the Information Commissioner’s Office, Fundraising Regulator and the Charity Commission met in Manchester. The Fundraising Regulation Consent Conference was aimed at helping charities and other fundraising groups to comply with the law around current data protection best practice and the upcoming GDPR changes.

The representatives were joined by several charities, higher education institutions, trustees and consultants – all with a vested interest in being well prepared for the changes ahead. The Town Hall in Manchester was packed to the brim with fundraisers, with many more tuning into the intermittent live video stream from their desks, waiting with baited breath to hear what the representatives had to say about the future of fundraising.

This post won’t recap the conference (although there are several recaps for you to view, from storifys that capture the tone of the conference amongst its attendees to a more serious overview of the IOF’s top ten takeaways), however it aims to provide you with a pulse check of the sector to inform you of what is happening behind the scenes.

The latest updates in Fundraising Data Protection Regulation

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with everything that’s going on around us but how do you keep track of what’s important amongst the noise? We’ve put together some useful information and insights from around the sector for you – read below and stay informed.

Fundraising Regulator – Personal Information & Fundraising: Consent, Purpose and Transparency Guidance

  • These documents provide guidance notes, case studies from a range of charities, an action ticklist and a self-assessment toolkit all with the aim of helping to make sure that your charity is compliant with how it uses its data within the laws that exist.
  • To go alongside this guidance the ICO have also made available their draft guidance notes – which can be found here. Feedback for the draft guidance on consent is open until 31st March 2017.

Fundraising Preference Service

  • Our last official update on the Fundraising Regulators Fundraising Preference Service was in December 2016. However, in the last week, the working group behind the service has provided a few bits of information about how the service will work from a practical standpoint. This includes the following:
  • A soft launch of the service in May 2017 of 10-12 participants followed by a full launch of the service in June 2017.
  • Charities will be notified of changes to an individual’s consent preferences via email or they may access preference settings via a login service or an FTP site.
  • There will be a 28-day window available to allow charities to update their systems, similar to TPS, and charities will need to acknowledge receipt of the changes in preference with the donor.
  • Supporters will be able to update their preferences of consent for three charities at a time and when opting-out individuals will need to provide their full contact details to provide as much of an opportunity for unique matching as possible.

CASE – UUK Working Group

  • This working group is made up of UK HE institutions and suppliers from around the sector (a group we find ourselves in great company amongst) who have joined together on behalf of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and Universities UK (UUK). The working group has four sub-groups working on key areas including – Market Research, Data Consistency/Opt In, Technology, and Advocacy.

Donor Experience Survey

  • An important part of the changes ahead is understanding our donors better and the experiences they receive through various channels of engagement. In an effort to capture the ways in which telephone fundraising is used to create positive donor experiences amongst donors and supporters, either as someone working in a charity or a telephone fundraising agency, Elaine Lee (Reynolds Busby Lee) and Adrian Salmon (Grenzebach Glier and Associates) are asking the sector to participate in their survey. But hurry, you have until Friday 3rd March to participate.

Rogare Critical Fundraising Forum

  • The Critical Fundraising Forum was established by Ian MacQuillin from Rogare – the fundraising think tank at Plymouth University’s Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy – as a place to critically assess, evaluate, debate and discuss current global issues in the fundraising profession. It’s a forum to try out new ideas and new thinking, while also being a forum for sharing anything that brings new insight or depth to what we currently know, such as research, blogs, media articles etc.

Fundraising Chat

  • If you’re looking for a place to learn and share best practice this Facebook group, nearly 3,000 members strong, is just the place for asking the advice of your peers to help you be your best fundraising-self. As the sector becomes more familiar with how they will start to implement capturing consent permissions we hope that this group will become a hive of activity with great examples from around the sector – even more so than it is at the moment.

Discussing Fundraising Data Protection Regulation

Along with these important updates, there are also important opinion pieces from several influential UK fundraisers providing their thoughts on last week’s conference. The assumptions made by the ICO, in terms of how the sector operates, are something every fundraiser should be aware of. We have a responsibility to each other, to our donors and to our beneficiaries to help the ICO to understand our business better than it currently does through positive examples of best practice and data-supported evidence of the thoughts and feelings of those we communicate with.

Time to claim the high ground, but problems still remain’ – Adrian Beney, Partner, More Partnership

Fundraisers and the ICO are further apart than ever before’ – Hugh Radojev, Senior Reporter for Civil Society UK

A proposed solution to allow early-stage major gifts fundraising in the UK to be Data Protection compliant’ – Adrian Salmon, Consultant, Grenzebach Glier and Associates

Kat Carter

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