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Survey shows public support for opt-in on charity communications

Survey shows public support for opt-in on charity communications

A Harris Interactive study, which polled 500 members of the public on fundraising communications indicates strong support for an opt-in policy.

The survey first introduced the fact that Cancer Research UK had announced they are switching to opt-in only fundraising communications and asked how strongly respondents agreed that this is a move all charities should take. 85% either strongly agreed or agreed that charities should adopt an opt-in only policy, with 3.5% disagreeing.

Nearly two thirds (59%) said that taking an opt-in only approach to fundraising communications would lead to them trusting the charity more. Just under one third said it wouldn’t affect their trust towards a charity, 7% said they didn’t know while 2% said it would have an adverse effect on their trust.

The survey also asked whether a Fundraising Preference Service where people could opt out of all fundraising communications was a good idea. Over two thirds (67%) of respondents either strongly agreed, or agreed, with 23% saying they neither agreed, nor disagreed. Less than 10% either disagreed, or strongly disagreed with the idea of the scheme.

When asked how likely they would be to sign up to the service, 54% either said they would be very likely, or likely to sign up for it. Just under a third (30%) said they were neither likely, nor unlikely and 16% would be either unlikely or very unlikely to sign up.

Jonathan Pitts, from Harris Interactive said:

“The survey results show that the majority of the public agree charities should adopt opt-in only communications for fundraising. For charities that have already taken this step, or are working towards it, there’s encouraging signs that this will build trust and confidence. A key challenge for charities looking to adopt this policy will be getting new and current donors to opt-in if they haven’t already.”


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

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