This week the Fundraising Preference Service (FPS) was launched by the Fundraising Regulator, in response to concerns about charity marketing, which have been raised over the last couple of years and in anticipation of the more stringent controls on the use of personal data that GDPR will bring.
The FPS is an online tool that will allow individuals to identify up to three charities at a time that they want to suppress marketing communications from, and choose specific channels that they want to suppress. For example, Mr Jones can indicate on the FPS that he is happy to receive postal appeals from his favourite animal charity but does not wish them to contact him by phone, email or SMS. Mr Jones goes on to the website, searches for the name of the charity he wants to manage communications from and chooses the channels he wants to suppress. He then fills in his contact details and submits his request.
The charity can choose to receive suppression notifications either immediately, daily or weekly, by email to one of their registered users or automatically via secure file transfer to any server located within the UK.
The Fundraising Regulator has recommended that if the charity can’t find the provided contact details on their databases or customer lists, the details are added with a suppression flag.
After 28 days, if the individual is continuing to receive marketing materials from their selected charities on the channels they have asked to be suppressed, they can follow up on their request on the FPS, which will cause a reminder to be sent to the charity. If the charity still fails to take action on the request then the individual could make a formal complaint to Fundraising Regulator who may refer the case to the ICO for investigation.
If the individual chooses to re-engage with the charities they have nominated on the FPS, this will ‘reset’ their communication preferences on the FPS for that charity.
What to do now:
- Ensure that procedures for updating suppression lists are revised to include FPS data, whether this is sent directly to the charity or whether you have opted to have a copy sent to your mailing or other marketing suppliers.
- (Bearing in mind that) suppression requests must be actioned within 28 days, so you have a long lead-time for updating contact lists or managing data sent to suppliers, it would be advisable to choose immediate or daily notifications. This avoids losing a few days from the 28-day window whist waiting for a weekly update.
- Review the communications that your charity sends out to identify which are ‘marketing’ messages and which are administrative. The FPS only applies to charity marketing, which includes promotional messages as well as fundraising communications. However, messages that are necessary for other purposes, such as Gift Aid, payment queries, membership or volunteering administration can still be sent by whatever channel is usual for the message type.
- Update policies and procedures to ensure that clear records of the actions taken in response to suppression requests are kept.