Comic Relief to use legitimate interest for next Sport Relief direct mail

02 Oct 2017 News

The business process manager at Comic Relief has said that the organisation will be using "legitimate interest" to process data for its Sport Relief campaign in March next year.

Data protection law recognises that there are six reasons why an organisation might want to use someone else's data, the most common of which in the sector is that you are sure you have that person's consent to do so. But it is also possible to process data under the basis that you have a "legitimate interest" in doing so - meaning that you do not have to obtain consent.

Speaking at the Direct Marketing Association’s Data Protection conference in London last Friday, Liz Curry, business process manager at Comic Relief, said that in terms of direct mailings and sending out fundraising kits to supporters, the organisation will continue to use legitimate interest for its Sport Relief campaign next year.

"For our next Sport Relief campaign, which will be next March just before GDPR comes into force, we will stay with legitimate interest, because that’s what we’ve always done," she said.

“We don’t buy data, which means that the database that we have are people who have actually contacted us or have ordered a fundraising kit. We don’t tend to contact people unless they’ve done some fundraising for us, so we think we have a very strong case for using legitimate interest.”

‘Insane’ for Comic Relief to switch to consent

When asked by Civil Society News whether Comic Relief have made a decision about processing supporter data using legitimate interest or consent ahead of GDPR coming into force next May, Curry said she’d prepared a paper on the issue for the charity’s trustee board and a decision had not yet been made.

She said however that, in her opinion, it would be “insane” for Comic Relief to switch to consent for direct mail after GDPR comes into force.

“I have created a paper [on legitimate interest] that hasn’t yet gone to our trustees. So, for Red Nose Day the year afterwards, there is a possibility [of moving to consent]. I’m speaking very personally here, I think we’d be insane to go for consent.

“We’ve done our balancing test, we’ve looked at what reasons we have for contacting people and I personally believe very strongly that people would not object to receiving a fundraising kit from us.”

Comic Relief ‘always opted in’ for emails

Curry said that she was only talking about direct mailing in this instance, not about email or other channels.

“I’m only talking direct mail, not email. Email we’ve always opted in and gone with PECR 2003, we’ve always opted in for that. I’m talking about fundraising kits and DMs, and because we send very few, I think we can justify it.

“Fingers crossed we will continue to go with legitimate interest and fingers crossed that when we do finally make that decision through our trustee board that we’ll be out and proud about it. That’s my personal view that we should be supportive of it.”


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