Charities need a viable plan to ensure GDPR-compliant marketing


Marketing is a crucial element to many charities’ operations – it can help to raise your charity’s profile, engage with your audience and attract donations.

Lots of marketing activities use information about individuals (including names, addresses and email addresses) and so must be carried out in compliance with data protection laws.

Consequently, four letters are currently raising concerns for many charities and charity trustees – GDPR, short for the General Data Protection Regulation. The new data protection regime is a significant issue for charities of all sizes and one which must be taken seriously.

The change to the definition of consent with GDPR is significant and will impose additional operational burdens on charities to ensure adequate processes are in place.

As a practical example, say a local children’s charity produces a regular newsletter containing information about its work and to promote upcoming fundraising events.

The charity only sends the newsletter to people who have signed up for it via their website. Does the charity’s procedure for obtaining consent meet the new requirements under the GDPR?

By asking the recipients to sign up for the newsletter, the charity is asking recipients for their freely given, specific consent.

However, it is important that the website form requires the recipients to actively opt-in and that it is clear what they are signing up for.

The charity will also need to put in place a privacy policy which clearly sets out how the recipients’ information will be used and how they can withdraw their consent if they choose to do so.

Charities should take advice on whether they need to re-approach all their existing supporters to seek new consent.



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