The Daily Mail’s stream of exposés about rogue fundraising practices actually did the charity sector a huge favour by forcing third sector organisations to get prepared for GDPR far earlier than many other sectors.
That is the view of DMA head of preference services, compliance and legal John Mitchison, who told delegates at this week’s Third Sector Fundraising Conference that the sector’s “annus horribilis” of 2015 has turned out to be beneficial after all.
Mitchison said: “I think all of that furore in the charity sector at the time, which was kicked off by the Daily Mail, actually gave a lot of charities and fundraisers a head start on preparing for the GDPR because they were already putting their processes in a better position before everybody else was.”
Not that many charities would have agreed with that back in May 2015, when the suicide of 92-year-old Olive Cooke, said to be the UK’s longest serving poppy seller, sparked a chain of events which would lead to the disbandment of the Fundraising Standards Board, the launch of the Fundraising Preference Service and a raft of new regulations.
The Information Commissioner’s Office eventually dished out fines totalling £181,000 to 13 charities across six months, including major brands the RSPCA, the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, NSPCC, Oxfam, and the Royal British Legion.
However, the ICO inquiry into data companies which handled the donor data – including Response One (now Edit) – has yet to be completed.
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