Wednesday 8 July 2015

Is there really a serious concern with charity fundraising calls?

I’m not an avid reader of the Daily Mail, and I approach many of the articles with a certain degree of scepticism. I’m sure that lots of their journalists are bright individuals who seek to both entertain and inform their readers. And I recognise that they’ve got a job to do – which is to provide material that is sufficiently engaging for readers to take account of the adverts that are surround their stories.

A recent campaign has caught my eye – evidently, there are unacceptable practices in the charity fundraising sphere, and the Daily Mail is leading the campaign to stamp them out.

And, apparently, the ICO has vowed to investigate immediately, saying the charities could be breaking the law.

I’m looking forward to the results of this investigation which, if true, will be yet another nail in the coffin of the cold calling industry. But I want to wait for the facts before rushing to condemn.

Many of the people I know in the charity fundraising industry adopt extremely high ethical standards. I’m sure that they would be appalled if the behaviours that have been alleged by the print media (sections of which are still reeling from phone hacking scandals that they themselves played no small part in) are indeed true.

There will always be rogue cold calling companies, and the ICO does what it can to deter them. Coincidentally, there was no direct criticism of charities in the ICO’s latest annual report, launched last week, either in the report itself or from Christopher Graham or David Smith when they spoke at the event, so I’m really not sure just how significant a problem this is.  
If this was a really significant problem that particularly affected the charitable sector, I would have expected to have heard more about the relevant concerns directly from the ICO well before now.


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