This idea has not yet spread to the United States. But a new UK opt-out program called the Fundraising Preference Service drew more than 1,000 requests in the first day last Thursday, according to UK media reports.
Set up by the Fundraising Regulator, the service allows consumers to block email, phone, text and direct-mail solicitations. They can choose “specific charities in groups of up to three at a time,” Third Sector writes.
People can sign up online or by phone. Following notification by the Regulator, charities can then log onto their individual portals on the website to access these requests.
Far from being resisted, the new service has been welcomed by fundraisers. On the first day, 641 charities had portals on the system, with more expected to participate, according to Third Sector.
“We fully support the introduction of the Fundraising Preference Service,” stated Ed Aspel, executive director of fundraising and marketing at Cancer Research UK. “Trust in the sector has fallen over the last two years, so we feel it’s important to support this move and let people decide which charities they want to hear from and how.
The Fundraising Preference Service was established in response to public concerns over unsolicited pitches by charities, according to the Financial Times.
There were also fears that unethical players were targeting the elderly and vulnerable. Olive Cooke, a 92-year-old woman, committed suicide in 2015 after being deluged by hundreds of communications from charities per month, Financial Times noted.
The U.S. Data & Marketing Association offers an email preference service and telephone preference service as part of its DMAChoice program, but does not specify fundraising pitches.