The charity sector has been rocked by fresh allegations that it is systematically bombarding vulernable pensioners with direct marketing to boost its coffers.
The accusations follows the apparent suicide of a pensioner, whom relatives claim had been “overwhelmed” with direct mail appeals.
Olive Cooke, 92, one of Britain’s longest-serving poppy sellers, was found dead in the Avon Gorge last week. Just six months ago, the Bristol Post ran a report which claimed she was receiving nearly 300 direct mailpacks a month asking her for donations.
The Fundraising Standards Board said it was investigating reports that Cooke had been inundated with requests, following an intervention by Prime Minister David Cameron.
Meanwhile, two data marketing companies, The Data Partnership and Communication Avenue – neither of which are DMA members – have been accused by the Daily Mail of calling people registered with the Telephone Preference Service from offshore call centres to secure data that could be sold to charities and other organisations.
The Data Partnership, whose clients include Marie Curie, the Royal National Institute of Blind People and St John Ambulance, denies any wrong-doing.
It maintained it did not contact people whose names were on the TPS unless they had previously opted in to receive phone calls, which they could do by giving verbal or written consent to either The Data Partnership or another firm from which the company had purchased data.
Communication Avenue Philip Lightfoot told Third Sector magazine that the company contacted only those people who had given their consent to be contacted. He said his agency had decided to stop working with The Data Partnership because of concerns about the way the company operated.
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