Charities face data issues as mail volumes tumble
Direct mail was the largest source of customer complaints for UK charities last year once again as the use of direct mail for fundraising plummeted by almost 30% – that’s the news from the latest annual report from the Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB), the self-regulatory body for charity fundraising in the UK.
Some 18,442 fundraising complaints were recorded in 2010 with almost 9,500 of those in relation to addressed and unaddressed direct mail received by consumers from charities.
Direct mail, telephone and doorstep face-to-face fundraising accrued the highest number of complaints but, as a proportion of total fundraising volumes, complaint levels in each of these areas remained modest. The use of direct mail in charity fundraising fell by 27% from 2009 to 2010 and yet the number of complaints increased by 86%.
Further analysis of the issues underlying those complaints has revealed that data protection and ‘poor’ data (where contacts are incorrectly addressed or deceased) together lead to around 3,000 complaints (one sixth of all complaints recorded). Of the 1,200 recorded data protection complaints, the large majority related to direct mail (46%), email (29%) and telemarketing fundraising (23%). Data protection complaints contributed more than three quarters (76%) of all email complaints, compared to just 6% of direct mail complaints. A further 2,000 complaints were attributed to poor data used in direct mail and telephone fundraising campaigns.
Across all fundraising methods, 515 complaints related to legacy fundraising (donating via a will) (up from 156 in 2009). The majority of these complaints related to direct mail (80%), TV advertising (12%) and telephone fundraising (6%).
Alistair McLean, Chief Executive of the Fundraising Standards Board, said: “Although fundraising complaints topped 18,000, this figure is a respectably low proportion of overall fundraising activity.
“Complaints concerning charities’ use of data should ring a warning bell for all fundraisers. Charities and suppliers alike must strive to source and maintain better data for donors and potential supporters, and to make timely and appropriate use of that data.
“What may be particularly surprising, is that such a high proportion of data protection complaints are fuelled by email fundraising – a medium that is not considered particularly intrusive and attracts relatively few complaints overall. This suggests that supporters are more concerned about the use of their email addresses than fundraisers might expect. As a sector, charities need to ensure that the same care and attention is given to the use of email addresses as a donor’s telephone number or address.”
20 May 2013: In the third of our special series of articles profiling the database marketing industry, we catch up with Hopewiser, Alchemetrics, Callcredit and greenstone data solutions.
22 May 2013: Insurance provider Ageas has appointed Mark Hanson as Marketing Director for its two over 50s insurance brands, RIAS and Castle Cover.
20 May 2013: Comet Global Consulting, the customer interaction expert, has secured an additional two-year deal with Sky, to further develop and support the company’s customer relationship management and customer interaction systems and operations.
21 May 2013: — Experian has launched a new online credit risk and marketing portal putting a wealth of vital business information at the fingertips of UK SMEs.
8 May 2013: Hector Vass, former Systems Architect in the Customer Lifecycle and Optimisation team at the Lloyds Banking Group, has joined marketing analytics agency Metametrics as Chief Technology Officer.
8 May 2013: The Institute of Fundraising’s Special Interest Group for Insight in Fundraising has announced the shortlist of finalists for the Insight in Fundraising Awards 2013.
8 May 2013: ghd, the UK hair-straightening brand, has seen conversion rates soar as a result of improving the shopping experience on mobile devices using data gathered through Celebrus Technologies’ software.
7 May 2030: Maileva, a European leader in hybrid direct-mail solutions, and Selectabase, a supplier of marketing data, have joined forces to offer marketers what they call "a unique, easy-to-use and cost-effective direct-marketing solution".
7 May 2013: Really Simple Systems, one of the world’s largest providers of hosted CRM systems, has announced availability of an interface to Sage One – Sage's online accounting system.
15 Apr 2013: Following the launch of the Smartdepart suppression file last month, data and targeting specialist Wilmington Millennium has now launched Smartlink, a new goneaway database for direct marketers.
15 Apr 2013: Celebrus Technologies has deepened its partnership with Teradata through its new ability to feed individual-level digital channel data directly into Teradata Real-Time Interaction Manager.
15 Apr 2013: Data8, the data enrichment specialist, has added to its suite of real time data validation applications with the introduction of bank account validation.
15 Apr 2013: The consolidated revenue of Weborama, the European leader in the management, distribution and tracking of targeted online advertising, grew by 5% in the first quarter of 2013.
5 Apr 2013: Kwik-Fit Group has appointed customer engagement agency Lateral to handle the automotive company’s customer eCRM programme.
5 Apr 2013: It is predicted that, over the next year, the human race will produce 4 Zetabytes of new data, which represents about 1 quintillion new objects. Are marketers ready for this deluge and is it an opportunity or a threat, asks the IDM?