GDPR - Considering your opt-ions

Alistair Kelly By Alistair Kelly

As the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) looms on the horizon, many marketers and fundraisers are feeling a little anxious about consent, opt-in and opt-out. We want to reassure you. Yes, it sounds complicated, but we believe you still have positive choices.

Need a steer?

While working on a consent mailing for British Red Cross, our Creative Director Alistair Kelly immersed himself in all things GDPR, to find the solution that would work best for them.

The result was a focused opt-out mailing, demonstrating how you can reframe the rules to highlight your charity’s commitment to transparency and respect for supporters.

Here he shares the things he learned about negotiating the data minefield successfully.

Five ways to capitalise on consent

1. You still have choices

The legal experts at the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and UK Fundraising say there doesn’t have to be an ‘opt-in’ box to meet the GDPR’s EU requirement for ‘unambiguous consent’. In fact, the only channels that will be legally required to have an opt-in system are those that already have one – SMS, email and recorded messages.

For some charities – like Macmillan Cancer Support, who provide services as well as fundraising – opt-out makes sense. For others, such as Cancer Research UK, opt-in works best. When it comes to the education sector, universities and colleges should focus on their email marketing. Did everyone on your existing e-mailing list give specific consent to be contacted? If in doubt, ask for their opt-in again to ensure you’re perceived as responsible, transparent and proactive.

2. Make a virtue out of necessity

Don’t sweep your consent messaging under the carpet. Use it to demonstrate how committed you are to your supporters and treating them fairly and openly. Seize the opportunity to show their wishes are at the heart of all you do.

3. Keep it clear

Just as you may feel the need of a little clarity, so too will your supporters. Harness straightforward messaging and clear design to reflect confidence and trustworthiness.

4. Make it personal

Explore other ways of making contact with potential supporters. Research into what kind of comms people would opt in to, showed that very few chose fundraising appeals. However, it’s not all bad news, as most said they’d like to hear about events and volunteering.

So how can you make that work to your advantage? Relationships are a big factor in how we choose to give. How often have you supported a cause because a friend asked for your sponsorship, a colleague organised a fundraising event, or your kids’ school held a bake sale? Which brings us to another interesting observation – parents are more likely to support a charity when they’ve heard about it through the school.

So, explore the potential of attracting more supporters on a personal or community level. The Royal Society for Blind Children’s Blindfold Run (where one runner in each pair is blindfolded), Rethink Mental Illness’s Tea Party, where friends chat over a cuppa and Cystic Fibrosis Trust’s Family Fundraising Walk are all good examples.

Colleges and universities can maximise opportunities for alumni giving through events and volunteering. Look at ways you can capitalise on your institution’s community and the bonds that connect graduates. We helped the London Business School to give alumni the opportunity to share their reasons for giving online, generating a sense of collective giving that inspired others and radically increased the funds they generated.

5. Get in training

The IoF has launched a guide to the new regulations and is running training courses on being GDPR-ready nationwide. Or, for a friendly chat about what the changes might mean for you, get in touch with our resident expert, Creative Director, Alistair Kelly. He’ll help you find the opt-imum solution.

Alistair Kelly

Alistair Kelly

Creative Partner

Alistair is one of our co-founders. He has more than two decades of heavyweight agency experience behind him and is a fountain of ideas and creativity, particularly around print and fundraising. Alistair brings the clarity to our creative thinking and you can read his latest insights on our blog.