Charities need to consider what different individuals consider reasonable rather than looking at activities in isolation when using Legitimate Interest, according to a report by fastmap.
fastmap’s Legitimate Interest Industry Report, published today, looks at using risk assessment and benchmarking to work out where Legitimate Interest fits in for an organisation.
It explains Legitimate Interest as being about supporters’ expectations: of contact via certain channels, on a particular subject or purpose, and of data processes used, which will differ between individual supporters within a charity. This ‘reasonable expectation’, it states, is overlooked by many charities, which often work instead on the basis that if consent is collected for email communication, then this justifies contact on any topic regardless of relevance or expectation.
In the foreword to the report, David Cole, fastmap’s Managing Director says:
“A key factor when determining if an activity might qualify for Legitimate Interest is the reasonable expectation of individual supporters. The benchmark research fastmap have undertaken across multiple charities and thousands of their supporters shows that individual supporters within a given charity have different views of what activities they consider reasonable or appropriate.”
The report recommends therefore that every charity performs its own risk assessment on a segment of its supporter database to work out which activities their unique supporter base is very open or closed to, and where therefore, Legitimate Interest may be applicable.
fastmap’s assumption is that any activity that less than half of a charity’s supporters find reasonable is defined as high risk with a high likelihood of complaint. Above this, rules can be set for medium and low risk. Performing this assessment will enable charities to evaluate their supporters’ reasonable expectations and therefore to plan their Legitimate Interest approach.
As well as performing their own risk assessments, the report also recommends that charities benchmark against other to provide context for their individual performance, which can help with guiding and improving their own Legitimate Interest approach.
You can download the Legitimate Interest Industry Report from fastMAP.