FAQS about Code requirements on managing communication preferences and minimum-font sizes

Changes to the Code of Fundraising Practice as of 10 December 2015

New Code requirement introduced at 5.2 - Fundraising Communications and Techniques:

o) All permission statements (opt-in or opt-out wording to gain consent for marketing purposes) displayed in fundraising materials MUST be at least the same font size as the larger of (i) any text asking for the recipient’s personal details, or (ii) any text specifying the donation amount. If there is no text asking for personal details or specifying donation amount, any permission statements MUST be in the minimum font size of 10.

New Code requirement introduced at 6.6 - Direct Marketing

a) Organisations MUST include on all fundraising communications sent to a named individual, clearly displayed details of how the recipient can, by a single step, opt-out of receiving such communications from the charity on whose behalf the communication was sent. This MUST be at least the same font size as the larger of (i) any text asking for the recipient’s personal details, or (ii) any text specifying the donation amount. If there is no text asking for personal details or specifying donation amount, this information MUST be in the minimum font size of 10. 

Q: Why have these changes been brought in?

A: These amendments to the Code are aimed at ensuring that all individuals are easily able to manage the fundraising communications they receive. The changes will require a clear message to be displayed on all fundraising communications sent to a named individual that will inform them what they need to do if they would like to change how they hear from that organisation. Lots of charities are doing this already, but for public trust in fundraising it is important that every member of the public can have confidence that if they are sent a fundraising communication by a charity, they have clear information on how to opt out or change the communications they receive.

In essence, this is taking the principle of the email ‘unsubscribe’ or the SMS ‘Opt Out’ messages and applying them to direct mail.

 

Q: What do you mean by ‘fundraising communication’?

A: A ‘fundraising communication’ is a communication which includes a request for a donation or other financial support. It also includes information or promotional materials to individuals on contributing to fundraising activities (such as participation in an event).

While 'thank you' or 'welcome' letters which do not include a financial ask are not 'fundraising communications', they should also include simple opt-out information for future communications because it provides another opportunity for individuals to manage their communication preferences. 

 

Q: Do I need to include this message on everything I send?

A: Information about managing preferences must be clearly displayed on the main enclosure of whatever you send, most commonly this would be the covering letter. If there is a donation form, or box which already has the individual’s details filled out, then the managing preferences messages could also appear there.

If there’s no covering letter then it should be displayed clearly on whatever is sent – for example within a newsletter or event flyer. The intention of this requirement is so that an individual who receives the communication can find the information easily.

 

Q: What do you mean by ‘clearly displayed’?

A: Information on how an individual can manage their communication preferences must be clearly displayed. While we do not set out where it must appear (for example, at the bottom of the covering letter) it must be accessible and not hidden away. 

The font size that this message is displayed in must be at least the same font size as the larger of (a) any text capturing the recipient’s personal details and (b) any text capturing a donation amount. Where there is no text capturing personal details or donation amount, the message must be in the recommended minimum font size of 10.

 

Q: What do you mean by ‘named individual’?

A: Fundraising communication sent to a ‘named individual’ is any communication sent to an identifiable person, using their personal data, for example Mr David Smith. These Code changes do not apply to communications addressed to ‘ The Homeowner’ or ‘The occupier’ or to unaddressed fundraising communication such as door drops etc.

 

Q: Is there a set wording/template we need to use?

A: No – charities often have very different ways of communicating with their donors and supporters depending on that specific relationship and cause. Because of this we are not setting specific wording and charities are able to use their own set of words to communicate the message. However, any information on how an individual can manage their communication preferences will, at the very minimum, need to provide information on how that individual can opt-out of receiving further fundraising communications and achieve the principle behind this Code requirement.

While we are not providing templates to use, the kind of statements which organisations could use might be:

“If you would like to change how you hear from us in the future get in touch by…..”

“From time to time we would like to send you information on our work. If you would prefer not to receive information by post, please let us know by….

 

Q: When do I need to be compliant with this by?

A: We expect all organisations to comply with requirements of the Code of Fundraising Practice at all times. However, both the IoF and Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB) appreciate that organisations may already have designed and printed future marketing materials and campaigns without the required wording in the minimum size that these changes require. With this in mind, we want to ensure that organisations have necessary time to adapt to these changes without incurring undue charges and cost to replace materials that have already been produced. The FRSB have agreed to a guideline transition period of 6 months from the time of this Code change being introduced until 10th June for organisations to be compliant with the changes. However, the FRSB will retain its discretion to be able to investigate complaints on a case by case basis and will expect an organisation to be able to justify why any fundraising communications after 10th December are not compliant with the rules. If any organisation feels that due to exceptional circumstances there is a justified reason why some of their fundraising material is not able to be compliant with these changes after 10th June 2016 we encourage you to contact the FRSB to discuss the situation who will consider the circumstance on a case by case basis.