Fundraising news, ideas and inspiration for professional charity fundraisers

British Red Cross commits to opt-in only telephone fundraising

British Red Cross commits to opt-in only telephone fundraising

The British Red Cross has become the first charity to move to opt-in only by signing an undertaking with the ICO committing it to best practice around fundraising calls.

The charity has committed to following Regulation 21 of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations, by implementing an opt-in consent model for live telephone marketing calls no later than 12 months from the date of the undertaking, which was announced on 26th February.

Also in line with Regulation 21, the charity has undertaken to only call potential donors if they have specifically opted in to receiving such calls in the previous two years.

Any consented data will have a 24-month expiration period, after which time the British Red Cross will only make live telephone marketing calls if it has gathered fresh, specific and informed consent from the individual.

The undertaking was signed after the ICO contacted British Red Cross as part of its investigation into a report in the Daily Mail that suggested a number of charities were ignoring marketing rules to compete for donations. The ICO found the British Red Cross had complied with the law, but offered advice around further good practice that could be implemented.

According to the ICO, while the British Red Cross is the first charity to sign an undertaking of this type, it is also currently working with other organisations along these lines.

Andy Curry, ICO group enforcement manager, said:

“A big part of our work is working with companies who want to get it right. British Red Cross is a good example of that. They’ve seen the benefits of not just following the law, but following best practice, and we’re pleased that we’ve been able to work with them on this.”

Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

Get free email updates

Keep up to date with fundraising news, ideas and inspiration with a weekly or daily email. [Privacy]

* We do not share your email or personal details.
" />