from Ken Burnett,
motivational speaker and occasional fundraising consultant.
15th January 2018
Those who too early opted for opt-in only may now be a tad red-faced. The rest of us can permit ourselves a deep sigh of relief.
‘A charity could choose a ‘consent’ approach and still do crap fundraising that gives donors a poor experience. Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s excellent.’
Dan Fluskey, IoF
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Now there’s an unexpected headline these days – ‘Boom time for direct mail!’ Who’d have thought? It caught my eye, so I just had to write about it.
Having generally been grumpy and highly critical this past year it’s nice to have the chance to report something good.
I was prompted to add this particular cheering addendum to my earlier opinions on this issue (see here and the links below) by this exhuberant article from that excellent organ of the direct marketing sector, Decision Marketing.
View the full article here.
To be honest, I think the claim that direct mail may be heading into boom times seems just a teensy bit optimistic. But there are substantial grounds for being very much happier about the impending changes than we were this time last year. Here’s what the Information Commissioner’s Office is saying now, on the issue:
The ICO’s frequently asked questions can be seen in their entirety here.
Those who too early opted for opt-in only may now be a tad red-faced. The rest of us can permit ourselves a deep sigh of relief. Here’s what the UK Institute of Fundraising’s Dan Fluskey says about it.
‘This clearly confirms what IoF and others have been saying over the last year – there are different lawful bases for marketing and it’s up to charities to choose which they follow. In terms of the law, consent is no ‘better’ than legitimate interest – it’s about working out which one is the most appropriate for the audience and the communication and making sure that whichever one you choose, you follow the rules. Making this clear is useful as charities need to know the full range of options and information to make informed decisions, rather than being pushed towards a particular approach that might not be the best or most appropriate for them and their supporters.
‘The key thing for the donor experience project and for charities is about thinking how to do either consent or legitimate interest well and making compelling, engaging, communications that are welcomed by the donor. A charity could choose a ‘consent’ approach and still do crap fundraising that gives donors a poor experience. Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s excellent.’
Dan Fluskey, Institute of Fundraising
Hear hear! Well said Dan. Well done IoF! And well done ICO too.
© Ken Burnett 2018
PS. For a 2019 update on the reality of Opt-in see here. Scroll down to find how no less a cause than the RNLI changed its mind about the wisdom of ‘opt-in’. Sadly, however one might hope that history's lessons will be learned, that seems unlikely. What is undeniable is that while fundraising leaders leap in unprepared, donors and beneficiaries all lose from the prevailing unwillingness among our sector leaders to do even basic homework so they might learn from their recent past.
• Opt out or opt in? Two letters from the Regulator.
• Opt in’ will be bad for donors and for the causes they support.
• Continuous donor choice – 30+ years of doing the right thing by donors.
STOP PRESS – more optimism from Decision Marketing.
• GDPR goes from gloom to boom as UK leads the field.
This article also appears on the UK Fundraising website.