Of course nobody is really sure what went on behind closed doors and just how cold and aggressive these techniques were but what we are sure of is the bad press surrounding it.
Talking yesterday at Fundraising Week, Rob Wilson, the Minister for Civil Society, threw future European legislation into the mix too. Mr Wilson stated that charities should be more concerned about European data-protection legislation due to take effect in 2018 than the requirements of the Fundraising Preference Service. Either way communication with supporters is under more scrutiny than ever before.
With active opt in and or opt out policy on the horizon either through European legislation or the Fundraising Regulator, it is more than likely that the responsibility of keeping records regarding who’s in and who’s out will be with the charities themselves. This means lots of data cleansing for charities everywhere. Contact options often have more than one option i.e. no you can’t call me but yes you can email me. How do you segment this information? If you’re using spreadsheets this is going to be really difficult. You don’t want to be spending time checking communication preferences with each supporter before you send out emails or make phones calls.
Charities will benefit greatly from CRM software here because it is designed to handle this kind of data control perfectly. You can click send on that bulk email and those you have checked as DO NOT SEND EMAILS won’t receive it. You can produce a list of people who can be called in seconds before you pick up the phone. You can check how long it’s been since you last contacted the person and exactly what they said when you spoke to them. You can also update this information at any time and it will be updated for everybody using the CRM. This means you won’t have one person promising an individual they won’t receive any more phone calls and then another person calling them the next day!
We’ll all have to wait and see what happens and when but there’s no doubt that communication between charities and supporters needs to be more considerate to the supporter’s wants.