Charities under fire over lack of consumer data hygiene

charity new 2Just a week after the launch of the Fundraising Preference Service a new study suggests that charities are now the least active of all sectors when it comes to safeguarding consumer data.
The biennial Data Hygiene Report from Wilmington Millennium is carried out among the UK’s data bureaux, and ranks industry sectors according to their attitude and behaviour around data hygiene.
It shows that the reputation of charitable organisations has been significantly tarnished over the last two years. The sector, which was the second most hygienic industry in 2015, has fallen to the bottom of the league table with the Olive Cooke scandal, and the recent actions of the ICO over data matching and appending seemingly taking their toll.
The retail industry, which was the most data centric sector in 2015, has been pushed into second place by restaurants and bars; a new entry this year.
Increasing numbers of bars and restaurants have launched data management systems over the last two years and are using these to market to their customers in a responsible and permission based manner, the study claims. The league table comprises:
1.    Restaurants and bars
2.    Retail
3.    Travel
4.    Leisure companies
5.    Technology
6.    Telcos
7.    Media companies
8.    Utilities
9.    Automotive
10.  Insurance
11.   Finance

12.  Charities

The sectors more traditionally associated with scattergun marketing such as finance, media companies, telcos and utilities were found in the second half of the league table indicating that more is needed to be done by these industries to safeguard their customer data and keep it clean and up-to-date.
The research also found that despite the ICO’s crackdown on misuse of data, 60 per cent of bureaux do not believe that suppression will be explicitly written into GDPR Article 5 which outlines the requirement for up to date, accurate data that must not be kept for longer than necessary.
Yet eight out of 10 bureaux think that the ICO will become increasingly active in investigating and fining organisations for data infringements post GDPR.
Wilmington Millennium product director Karen Pritchard said: “With GDPR on the lips of every data services provider this league table provides an interesting snap shot into the current data hygiene landscape and gives an indication of which sectors might be struggling with compliance and those that are going to the top of the class.
“While specifics such as suppression screening might not be an explicit requirement under GDPR, it does provide an easy win for organisations to demonstrate their commitment to looking after their customer data – essential in a time when the ICO will become increasingly active in upholding data protection.”
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