Save the Children is attempting to distance itself from the current furore over aggressive charity marketing practices by making a commitment to ditch cold-calling and not share donor data with third parties.
The move, expected to be announced later this week in its annual report, is part of a new “supporter promise” designed to ensure donors have greater control over how they give to the charity and are not aggressively targeted.
It is also planning to keep a much closer eye on any telemarketing agency it uses, insisting call agents have constant training and are up to speed on regulation.
Save the Children is one of a number of high profile charities, which also include Cancer Research UK, Marie Curie, NSPCC, and The British Red Cross who were criticised by BBC Radio 4 for buying data from list brokers, even though this practice is perfectly legal.
It is thought unlikely that there will be a change in this strategy, as the organisation will have to get its leads from somewhere. It has not included any commitment to stop running cold direct mail campaigns.
Justin Forsyth, chief executive of Save the Children, said in a statement: “We have to get the right balance between raising much-needed money and making sure members of the public, who want to help us save lives and give every child the chance to learn, feel respected and valued.”
Whether this will be enough to silence calls for an “Olive’s Law” to protect vulnerable and elderly people from charity marketing – following the death of the poppy seller Olive Cooke in May – remains to be seen.
Cooke, whose relatives claim had been “overwhelmed” with appeals, already had existing relationships with scores of charities so it is unlikely she would have received many cold calls in the first place.
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