Cancer Research UK will lose tens of millions of pounds as a result of its decision to only contact donors who have opted in to communications, but it is still the right thing to do, the charity’s director of fundraising Ed Aspel has said.
Cancer Research UK said earlier this year that it will seek “unambiguous and explicit permission” from all new supporters, and will look to roll out this new opt-in fundraising model to all existing supporters by April 2017.
In an interview with Fundraising Magazine, this website’s sister publication, Aspel defended the move as likely to leave the charity in a stronger position in the long term, but said that “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,” Aspel said. “So that will have an impact on our income.
“However, I think that will be in the short- to medium-term. We’re doing this because we think that it’s the right thing to do to respect the wishes of our supporters.
“We think that if we communicate with supporters on their terms, if they can control the level of fundraising communication that they get, then actually that will lead to better relationships with our supporters. Also, starting to make us think about different ways in which we can work with supporters. If we can make them feel more part of the organisation, then we’ll get greater loyalty in return and be in a much stronger position.”
‘I don’t understand resisting the FPS’
Aspel also spoke out in defence of the Fundraising Preference Service, the controversial proposal to allow donors to opt out of all communication from charities, which will be introduced by the Fundraising Regulator.
“I don’t really understand resisting the FPS,” he said. “What I do understand is making sure it works in the right way. That the public are actually getting a service that is right for them. If they need to do the reset they can, but at the same time they get the information they want from the organisations that matter to them.”