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80 per cent of new CRUK supporters haven’t opted into fundraising communications

12 Jan 2017 News

Cancer Research UK has confirmed that only around 20 per cent of new supporters have opted in to receiving fundraising communications from the organisation, since it moved to opt-in for new supporters last April. 

A spokeswoman from Cancer Research UK said that, during a three-month trial period, 100,000 new supporters were asked whether or not they wanted to explicitly opt in to receiving direct mail fundraising communications from the organisation. Only 20,000 of those new supporters opted in. 

She also said that the numbers of new supporters who had opted in to receiving telephone fundraising communications during the trial period were “in single figures”. 

Under its old, opt-out model, CRUK could routinely contact around 50 per cent of new supporters who hadn’t opted out of receiving fundraising communications. In the trial period alone, that represents a fall of some 30,000 supporters. 

CRUK’s trial period showed that opt-in rates increased by between five to ten per cent, when fundraisers were able to “ask in person and explain what supporters will get” when they opt in to fundraising communications. 

She said: “The initial results are in line with our predictions with opt in to post tracking around 20 per cent, opt in to telephone tracking in single figures, and an as expected rise in opt in to email from the new model”. 

CRUK now plans to move existing suppoters over to opt-in and trial mailings will go start this month. It hopes to move existing supporters over to opt-in from July 2017. 

Opt in will ‘cost us tens of millions of pounds’ 

In an interview with Fundraising Magazine in May of last year, Ed Aspel, executive director of fundraising and communications at CRUK, said that the organisation’s decision to move to opt in would cost it “tens of millions of pounds” over the next five to ten years. 

“Over five-to-ten years, it will cost us tens of millions of pounds. By moving from opt-out to opt-in there is an expectation that the number of people we are able to contact with our fundraising asks will decrease. So that will have an impact on our income.”

Aspel reiterated the sentiments of CRUK chief executive Sir Harpal Kumar, who told the Times in March 2016, that the organisation expected to lose “millions”, in order to seek “unambiguous and explicit permission” from all new supporters.

CRUK have also promised to gather, and subsequently share, evidence about what its supporters think of its move to opt in with the wider sector. 

CRUK is the UK’s largest fundraising charity, with the organisation raising over £430.6m last year.  


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