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    Diabetes UK campaign breached code, says fundraising regulator


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    Diabetes UK campaign breached code, says fundraising regulator

    Post by graham64 on Fri Nov 13 2015, 22:38

    Fundraising Standards Board finds charity’s pedometer campaign misled public and misused personal data for fundraising calls

    A Diabetes UK campaign misled the public and misused personal data, the Fundraising Standards Board has found.

    The awareness campaign – which encouraged individuals to text the charity to receive a free pedometer and diabetes guide – breached four clauses of the Code of Fundraising Practice including misleading contacts, not clearly allowing individuals to opt out, not processing personal data fairly and lawfully and disguising marketing calls as administrative processes. 

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    A member of public complained when she received a phone call from telephone fundraising agency Listen Ltd, after texting Diabetes UK, to arrange the delivery of the pedometer and ask for a regular donation of £10 a month.

    Andrew Hind, chair of the FRSB, said: “Diabetes UK’s pedometer campaign was not solely designed to assist the public by raising awareness of diabetes. It also had a clear motive to solicit contact details for a subsequent fundraising approach to those who responded. As a result, we have concluded that the charity’s campaign misled the public.”

    The FRSB’s report states that the complainant felt deceived by the charity to use her contact details in this way, and is said to have also felt pressurised to donate by the caller, despite saying she was unemployed due to ill health.

    Stephen Lee, professor of voluntary sector management at Cass Business School, said: “It is clear from this FRSB adjudication that charities (and the agencies that work for them) simply cannot continue to employ campaign tactics that focus on the raising of money to the detriment of clarity of purpose, the maintenance of established donor rights, and compliance with the law.”

    In September, a government–commissioned review into the current fundraising regulation model (of which the FRSB is part along with the Institute of Fundraising) concluded that charities that harass donors should be named and shamed and in some cases banned from fundraising. The review, which is still under consultation, also said that an overhaul was needed. It suggested that the FRSB is shut down and replaced with a new organisation and that the Code of Practice is assessed as matter of urgency.

    “Fundraising remains in a difficult place, both in terms of the culture that presides within some of our larger charities and in the lack of compliance with the law that this promotes,” says Lee. “It is equally clear however, that fundraising’s current predicament is not solely of its own making – both the Information Commissioner’s Office and the Institute of Fundraising must bear significant responsibility for the parlous legal position that all fundraisers now find themselves in – it is ironic then, that it is these self-same organisations that are now central to their retribution.”

    Chris Askew, chief executive of Diabetes UK told the Guardian Voluntary Sector Network that the charity is committed to fundraising in a clear and transparent way and that on this occasion it made a mistake. “We have already apologised to the person who complained and we have learned from this. We will be making sure we are crystal clear in all our future fundraising work about whether people are likely to be asked for a donation.”

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