Charity supporters are likely to opt in

Rob Gethen Smith is director of customer engagement at Blackbaud. Rob helps charity customers make the most of their technology investments, as well as advising on best practices, data and technology strategy, and trends in the sector. Prior to Blackbaud, Rob worked as CIO at Anthony Nolan, Southbank Centre, Tate and Macmillan.

UK charity supporters are becoming more discerning when it comes to their personal data protection, and yet there are signs of encouragement for fundraising teams as the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) approaches. According to new independent research commissioned by Blackbaud Europe:

  • nearly 80% of people in the UK think it’s important that they only receive marketing communications when they’ve given explicit consent to do so
  • nearly 90% think it’s important to have a single, simple ‘opt-out’ button to never receive fundraising requests from a specific charity in the future
  • however, of those who regularly engage with a charity, 62% would ‘definitely’ or ‘probably’ opt-in to future fundraising communications, if asked to do so by the charity
  • likewise, only 8% think that it’s ‘not important at all’ to only receive marketing communications for which they have given explicit consent.

There is plenty for UK non-profits to be encouraged by in this. It is undeniable that UK consumers across the board are becoming more protective of their personal data – and so they should be!

There’s no doubt that the British public is one of the most committed in the world to supporting social good, and new legislation isn’t going to change that. We just have to be more transparent about what we’re doing with their data, and put more effort into demonstrating the impact of the money they give.

Asking people to opt in

Despite the growing sensitivity around supporters’ personal data, the massive 62% of individuals who would opt in if asked to is encouraging for fundraising teams. They are keen to make sure they can continue to contact the majority of their current supporter base after the GDPR comes into force on 25 May 2018, using consent as the legal basis. Remember though, it’s not all about consent! Learn more about the six legal bases for processing personal data

Pie chart 1: If asked by a charity you regularly engage with to ‘opt-in’ to fundraising communications, would you?

Awareness of GDPR

While the report shows that many people in the UK do not want to receive fundraising communications that they haven’t asked for, the majority are not aware of the upcoming changes to legislation. More than three-quarters (77%) of people in the UK don’t know what the GDPR is, and only one in twelve (8%) think they know exactly what it is.

In other words, the vast majority of consumers don’t know that in less than a year their rights will be greatly strengthened when it comes to data erasure, data portability and – of course – consent.

Pie Chart 2: Do you know what the GDPR is?

Opting out

As regards UK charity regulation, when asked how important it is to them that they have a single, simple ‘opt-out’ button to ensure they never receive fundraising requests from a specific charity in the future, almost nine in ten people (87%) said they think it’s important, with over half (56%) thinking it is ‘very important’.

What’s fascinating is that, when asked separately, only around a tenth (11%) of People in the UK have heard of the Fundraising Regulator, and incredibly only 6% have heard of the Fundraising Preference Service.

Bar chart: Have you heard of the Fundraising Regulator and/or the Fundraising Preference Service?

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