IoF publishes GDPR guide for major donor fundraisers

12 Mar 2018 News

The IoF has today published a new GDPR guide for major donor fundraisers which covers, amongst other topics, how charities can “use publicly available data to help them better understand their donors”.

The new guide: Connecting People to Causes: A Practical Guide to Fundraising Research was launched at the IoF’s major donor fundraising conference in London this morning and is aimed at “charity fundraisers and researchers across all sectors” including universities as well as arts and cultural organisations.

The guide sets out a number of “practical examples of data use” by major donor fundraisers – such as data segmentation, “basic” prospect research and due diligence – and the grounds for lawful processing under GDPR that would best apply to each, be that legitimate interest, consent, or a blend of both. 

The guide also sets out a flow chart to help organisations decide whether or not they have a legitimate reason to conduct prospect research and said each organisation will have to “identify a legitimate interest, show that the processing is necessary to achieve it and balance it against the individual’s interests, rights and freedoms”.

The need for updated, GDPR-compliant privacy notices is also stressed in the guide, which gives a number of examples and even extracts of updated notices.

Daniel Fluskey, head of policy and research at the IoF, said: “We know that all fundraisers want to do the right thing and ensure their work is done according to the law and to the highest standard.

“The issues around major donor fundraising and prospect research have been ‘hot topics’ over the last year, and we are delighted to have worked with BWB and More Partnership on this new guide which will help support fundraisers go about their work with confidence and success.”

Lawrie Simanowitz, partner at Bates Wells Braithwate, said: “This guide addresses in a clear and accessible way, one of the most challenging areas of regulation for charity fundraisers – how to comply with data protection law when researching donors. 

“It is an area that has recently become fraught with uncertainty, and BWB has been delighted to assist the IoF in producing this route map through this tricky area.”

The guide can be freely downloaded from the IoF’s website.

ICO fines 

The IoF said its publishing of the new prospect research guide is in response to a number of questions on the legality of the practice, following the issuing of 13 penalty notices and monetary penalties by the Information Commissioner’s Office against charities.

Between December 2016 and February 2017, the ICO issued 13 charities with fines relating to a host of data protection breaches, including the use of third party prospecting organisations and of a personal data sharing scheme known as Reciprocate.

The first lot of fines issued by the ICO, against the RSPCA and British Heart Foundation, followed an investigation into the practice which was published by the Daily Mail first published in September 2015.

11 other charities were subsequently fined early in 2017, including Cancer Research UK, Guide Dogs, Macmillan and the Royal British Legion.

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