A new law comes into force in May, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and it’s going to have quite an impact on charities.
On the whole, GDPR is a good thing. From May, any organisation that stores your data must have your consent to do so. This means selling your data will be futile because buyers won’t have permission to store your details.
Another area requiring your proactive consent is their contact with you. From May 25th, you’ll have to opt in. That is, you must clearly give your consent or they can’t phone you, email you or send you post.
Charities are covered by this legislation. They now need your express permission to send you their newsletters, updates and appeals. And you can opt to have some communications and not others. For instance, you can ask for the newsletter but say no to appeal letters.
However, this will make things difficult for them, because they rely on contacting people to raise revenue. The RNLI switched to an opt-in consent system in 2015 and they estimate it cost them £35.6m in lost income.
This is because people don’t send forms back, even when they intend to. Let’s face it, life is busy. So a letter from a charity asking you to fill it in if you want further contact is going to the bottom of the TO Be Done pile.
If you’re a regular donor, such as a child sponsor at a charity like Crowborough based World In Need, you don’t have to worry. It’s assumed you’ve given consent for contact. Everyone else, though, must actually say yes.
Consent is deemed valid for two years, after which it should be updated.
So whatever your chosen charity, do them a favour. Let them have your consent now, before they have to lose your details, and your support.