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EU Data Protection Proposals

EU Data Protection Proposals

In August 2014, the Institute of Fundraising (IoF) published a member briefing on EU Data Protection Proposals. The IoF wants to raise awareness of the proposed European Regulation on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data proposals and what they might mean for fundraising. The proposals from the European Commission may be amended as the legislative process is followed, but fundraisers should read the proposals so that they are aware of the changes that could be made. The IoF will update members in due course as it knows more on the progress of the proposals and has more certainty on what will be introduced. The IoF will be working to raise concerns with relevant decision makers and MEPs to highlight the particular proposals and amendments the IoF wants to make. If you would like to be involved or support the IoF’s work on this then please email

It is proposed that, in all media, including direct mail, ‘consent’ for marketing should be explicit. This would mean that an individual has to make a clear choice by ‘affirmative action’ (such as ticking a box or some other positive action such as writing in their details).

The proposal on profiling would mean that charities would no longer be able to target direct marketing campaigns at specific donor profiles and would severely hamper the ability to build up prospect donor information. Profiling based on personal data would be prohibited without the explicit consent of the relevant individuals. This would prevent charities from using profile data without the explicit consent of the individual, severely reducing their ability to target donors.

The right to erasure/right to be forgotten would give prospects, supporters and donors the right to request the complete and permanent deletion from a charity database of personal information about them. Surely a charity would need to keep a note of names and addresses, in order to ensure they did not inadvertently contact them again in the future! Currently, individuals can simply request that their data is no longer used for marketing and be added to suppression file to ensure that this happens. Charities would still be able to keep personal data for suppression purposes.

The IoF document makes no mention of how the proposals could effect suppliers to charities (like me!), but Daniel Fluskey intends send a copy of the briefing to the chairs of IoF “special interest groups” to say that any feedback and thoughts from the groups would be welcome.


Finbar Cullen, ResearchPlus

Finbar Cullen established ResearchPlus in 2005 to provide fundraising research services for the not-for-profit sector. He researches people, companies and grant-making trusts and foundations, mostly in the UK, but also other parts of the world. Finbar has published directories of “unpublished” grant-making trusts (registered with the Charity Commission and with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator), and each month he contributes to The Trust List, highlighting newly registered grant-making trusts worthy of particularly close attention.

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