Concerns raised over potential impact of EU data protection proposals on charity fundraising

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Following a recent Institute of Fundraising convention, Medialab has issued a report outlining the "potentially disastrous implications" for charity fundraising of EU proposals for changes to data protection laws.

The new proposals would require explicit consent from donors before a charity could contact them by direct mail or phone for marketing purposes.  This would represent a significant change from the current position, which allows charities to contact donors in those ways unless they opt out.

The report expresses concern that the changes, if introduced, could dramatically reduce charitable giving.  The report acknowledges that donors are likely to be more receptive if they have expressly opted-in to receiving marketing mail and calls, but it goes on to say that "even the most responsive and generous new donors might be off limits because they would have to give consent again to your charity" and "donors might still give, but the fact is that many people give when they are asked and because they are asked. If we can’t ask them they won’t give as often, they might give less when they do, or they might not even give at all."