Olive Cooke’s data sold or traded 43 times by charities, claims Independent

26 Nov 2015 News

Olive Cooke, the 92-year-old poppy seller whose suicide triggered a crisis in fundraising regulation, had her details sold on or traded at least 43 times by charities, according to an Independent article.

Olive Cooke, the 92-year-old poppy seller whose suicide triggered a crisis in fundraising regulation, had her details sold on or traded at least 43 times by charities, according to an Independent article.

Bristol resident Olive Cooke committed suicide in May this year, prompting a public outcry when it was found she was receiving more than 260 written requests for money each month from charities, as well as numerous phone calls. Nonetheless her family have made it clear they do not blame charities for her death.

The Independent claims to have seen a draft Fundraising Standards Board report into Cooke’s death. The FRSB acknowledged that the Independent has seen a draft of the report, but said that it “cannot comment on claims sourced from a draft and incomplete document”.

The Independent says the report shows that at least 99 charities had Olive Cooke’s contact details.

“Seventy charities reported that Mrs Cooke’s details were secured via a third party,” the Independent quotes the draft report as saying. “Of those, 29 sourced her details from a list procured from a fellow charity, 26 from a list broker and 14 by exchanging contact data with fellow charities.”

Andrew Hind, chair of the FRSB, is quoted as writing in the report: “Mrs Cooke’s experiences demonstrate the inevitable consequences of a fundraising regime where charities have been able to exchange, and in some cases sell, the personal details of donors to each other… a situation where a donor to a small number of charities can find themselves, after a period of time, receiving mailpacks and phone calls from an ever-growing and uncontrollable number of fundraising charities.”

The Independent says the final FRSB report was due this month, but is now not expected until the new year.

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