Change status of fundraising calls in TPS, says Relationship Marketing

first_imgTelecommunications and data protection legislation in the UKThe requirement for a statutory ‘do not call’ register was introduced in European Parliament Directive 97/66/EC – the Telecommunications Data Protection Directive (TDPD).The Department of Trade and Industry (now the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform) opened a consultation on how to implement the TDPD into UK law in April 1998. This consultation contained the ‘opt-back-in’ suggestion for charities.This consultation led directly to the Telecommunications (Data Protection and Privacy) Regulations 1999. These regulations gave statutory backing to the Telephone Preference Service as the legal do not call register. The TPS had been set up by the Direct Marketing Association in 1995 as a voluntary register. On May 1, 1999, it became a compulsory register.The 1999 Regulations were supplanted in 2003 by the Privacy (Electronic Communications) Regulations 2003, known as PECR. About Howard Lake Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world’s first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of Researching massive growth in giving.  80 total views,  2 views today AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis The TPS is the national register of people who do not wish to be cold called for telemarketing purposes. Since the TPS became the official ‘do not call’ register in 1999, telephone fundraising calls have had the same status as commercial telemarketing calls. This means cold fundraising calls are prohibited to any member of the public registered with the TPS.McCaw’s white paper reminds us that the government had originally envisaged a different system for telephone fundraising.A consultation on draft data protection regulations issued by the Department of Trade and Industry in 1998 not only recommended the opt-out system now used by the TPS, but also suggested that charities might not be part of this general opt-out system. It proposed having an ‘opt-back in’ system so that people could choose to opt-out of receiving commercial cold calls but could then opt back in to charity calls.The Institute of Charity Fundraising Managers (now the Institute of Fundraising) lobbied for this separate category for charities and even asked for a blanket exemption. However, four months later the draft regulations appeared with no mention of the opt-back-in option for charities.Hugh McCaw said: “I believe that whatever the DTI’s reasons for not giving charities a separate opt-back-in category represent a miscarriage of justice. I believe they were wrong not to have conceded this to the charities.“The fundraising sector now needs to appeal against that decision. We must go back to the government and Information Commissioner’s Office and ask once again for a separate category for charities in the Telephone Preference Service.At the very least, McCaw hopes to reignite the debate within the sector about cold calling. He argues: “There are plenty of charities, particularly local charities such as hospices, that could benefit from cold acquisition, especially in the current economic climate. Yet the system cuts off this route to potential donors as around 60 per cent of households are TPS-registered”.He hopes to avoid the “hue and cry” that appears whenever reviewing cold calling is mentioned by focusing on the fact that “there was every intention from the government to treat fundraising differently to telesales” and that “fundraising unfortunately got caught up in the regulatory net as an intended consequence of the legislation”.The white paper argues that there is already a precedent for treating one type of cold call differently because of the intent behind the call. Market research calls are exempt from the TPS because they are not sales calls. McCaw argues that fundraising calls are not sales calls either because “there is no commercial transaction” at least “not in the sense of a sale as a contractually-binding financial transaction – which is what is meant by the legislation”.The “Ringing the Changes” white paper can be downloaded from Relationship Marketing’s website. Tagged with: Individual giving Law / policy Telephone fundraising Change status of fundraising calls in TPS, says Relationship Marketingcenter_img Telephone fundraising organisation Relationship Marketing is calling on the fundraising sector to appeal against the Telephone Preference Service’s (TPS) treatment of charity fundraising calls as equivalent to commercial telesales calls.Relationship Marketing’s Chief Executive Hugh McCaw describes the decision, made in 1998, not to give charities special status in the TPS as a “miscarriage of justice”.McCaw makes the argument in a white paper, “Ringing the Changes: Why it’s time to reform the TPS to the advantage of telephone fundraising”, which looks at the 1999 legislation that led to the TPS. 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