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Institute of Fundraising raises questions in its ‘first take’ on Regulator’s Code proposals

Institute of Fundraising raises questions in its ‘first take’ on Regulator’s Code proposals

The has given its ‘first take’ on the ’s Code consultation, highlighting a number of areas as requiring clarification as well as those it expects to be welcomed by charities.

In the piece on the Institute of Fundraising’s site, Head of Policy & Research Daniel Fluskey identifies these areas as requiring clarification:

  • The proposal that organisations MUST ‘keep up to date with and have regard to relevant guidance from ICO’. Fluskey calls for clear standards so charities know what is expected of them and says: “It would be useful to know what ‘have regard to’ means – is that the same as ‘follow the guidance’? Would charities be in breach of the Code if they could show that they were up to date and had ‘regard to’ the guidance, but chose a different approach which they thought was legally compliant?”
  • Proposal 5.5.7, which states that ‘organisations MUST* explain how their contact data was obtained and what their legitimate interest is. He says: “We need to know more about what this change means, what would count as a sufficient ‘explanation’, what form that should take, or where/how it should appear,” stating that “to explain and recount a whole legitimate interest balancing exercise in a communication would be disproportionate and clunky, potentially disrupting an engaging fundraising communication and existing relationship with an individual.”
  • The change proposed on how fundraisers work with the Mailing Preference Service (MPS). He says: “The proposal would mean that unless individuals have provided consent to that charity, no direct marketing mailings can be sent”, excluding legitimate interest as a lawful basis, and describes it as “a fundamental shift of the goalposts as to what was in the Code before, and indeed, significantly changes what the MPS service (run by the DMA) was set up to do.” He believes this proposal requires a rethink and as such will be closely looked at by the IoF.

Changes expected to be broadly welcomed by fundraisers include the introduction of new requirements in the Code to ensure that everyone is clear on what their responsibilities will be from 25th May 2018, changing and renaming sections of the Code to give one section on the legal aspects of ‘if/how’ charities can communicate with donors, and one section on the content of those communications, and the inclusion of both ‘consent’ and ‘legitimate interest’ as valid grounds for processing personal data for fundraising purposes, and specifically for direct marketing.

The consultation is open for feedback until 8 December, and the IoF is also inviting comments from members on

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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