Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Charities: Following made up rules

[Before anyone asks, yes, I did work for a national charity and NO, this is not about it - this is based on several conversations that I had with a network of fundraising staff from other charities - in one case, on a group telecon, I had to put the phone down because they were discussing entirely illegal techniques and how to get away with them].

Once upon a time the headmaster, who knew the rules, told students to follow them.

The students, who did not like the rules, elected a head boy to interpret the rules. They did not bother asking the headmaster.

When it was brought to the headmaster that the rules were not being followed, he moaned. The head boy then amended his interpretation. The students then walked around claiming that the rules had changed.

On Radio 4's You and Yours, some chap called Ben Suffel from QTS (which seems to be a telephone fundraising outfit) handled a question about calling people in the TPS (go to 7 mins 25 sec on the recording). He said "... pre all the changes that came in last year we were allowed to contact people on the TPS if it was deemed that the charity had a relationship with the donor...". He goes on the clarify that the relationship may have been one of being a regular donor.

He then goes on to explain that this is because this is what the Institute of Fundraising had set out as being what they were allowed to do.

Obviously, this is all nonsense. What annoys me off the most is that, even now, charities and fundraising organisations are holding up the Institute to be the authority on this issue. So much so that when the IoF is forced to changed its ridiculous interpretation, that fundraising organisations are still talking about the rules having changed.

But DPA or PECR didn't change, did it? No rules were changed. Only the bizarre interpretation of a thoroughly silly organisation that does not appear to have any understanding of the law changed (although I can see why - clearly, if fundraising is done lawfully, revenues will dip - basically, charities seem to have tried to get away with as much as possible for as long as possible). 

So, my advice is for charities to listen to Information Governance experts when it comes to PECR and DPA and not to an organisation that has been peddling nonsense.

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