Cancer Research UK has confirmed that it is looking to adopt an opt-in fundraising model starting next month and says that it expects to lose millions of pounds worth of income as a result.
Cancer Research UK said that it will seek “unambiguous and explicit permission” from all new supporters starting in April, and will look to roll out this new opt-in fundraising model to all existing supporters by April 2017.
Sir Harpal Kumar, chief executive of CRUK, told the Times that the move to opt-in would cost the charity “millions”, but said that he hoped it would eventually “build greater levels of trust” between the charity and the public in the long-term.
CRUK will use the next year to “gather evidence” about what supporters think about opt-in. This information will then be shared with the wider fundraising sector when the organisation moves to implement opt-in across its fundraising communications in twelve months’ time.
Ed Aspel, executive director of fundraising and marketing at Cancer Research UK, said that the organisation already uses opt-in for email and text communications, but that the new approach will extend to cover contact by "letter or telephone, where supporters have, in the past, had to expressly 'opt-out'" of receiving the charity’s fundraising communications.
“Our supporters are at the heart of everything we do and the move to an ‘opt-in’ approach for fundraising communications will give them the opportunity to decide the level of future fundraising communications they want from us,” said Aspel.
“We always want people’s experience of donating to us to be a positive one and this move will help us to build more engaging and involved relationships with our supporters.”
CRUK’s announcement will make it the fourth charity to recently announce that it is seeking to move its fundraising to an opt-in approach. In December 2015, the RNLI said that it would be looking to move to opt-in. The British Red Cross announced that it had begun a similar process in February 2016. Barnardo’s has also committed to a move to opt-in.
Cancer Research UK is the UK’s largest fundraising charity, with its most recent set of accounts showing that it raised £431m worth of voluntary income in the last financial year.
Aspel said that the move to opt-in showed CRUK’s “ongoing commitment to its supporters”.
“Given recent media scrutiny of their fundraising practices, it is essential that charities improve trust and public confidence in the sector. With no government funding, Cancer Research UK relies on people's generosity to fund its life-saving work”.