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Charity criticism: You can trust us with your data.
We want you to know what happens when you support Saint Francis Hospice, because your trust is vital to us...
Since the tragic death of Olive Cooke, who had been bombarded by charity mailings and phone calls, charities have been facing an onslaught of criticism by the press for their 'ruthless hounding' and 'grubby' behaviour.
So I'd like you to know the full picture about us and I'd like to state this from the outset: Saint Francis Hospice does not sell, swap or share your information with anyone who will use it for marketing purposes.
Below is just a snapshot of the articles and tweets that have been sent, the most recent being a prominent focus on ITV's This Morning.
There is no doubt that we have felt an impact of this negative press, as people have called us to cancel their donations as a result of the coverage following Olive's death. Sadly, we have also noticed fewer people are responding to our mailings, for example our Summer Raffle. Obviously there could be many reason for this, but we feel this can't be helping.
While we fully support the need for regulation in the charity sector and agree that charities should be prepared to answer some tough questions, we also feel some of the coverage has been misleading and would like to set the record straight.
The use of the data provided by our supporters is something we take very seriously and the key thing we want you to know is that we do not sell or share your personal information with anybody else.
On This Morning, for example, Phillip Schofield told viewers: "Once you have been shown to be open [to supporting a charity], to be generous, then you are, your information is sold on, given, swapped, with other charities."
At Saint Francis Hospice, that is categorically not true. We don't sell or swap your personal information. We don't actively 'seek out' generous supporters on our database and tell others about them in exchange for cash. It simply isn't something we do or ever will do.
We capture personal details in a few ways including when you make a donation, sign up to an event or when you sign up to our e-newsletter. At all of these touch points we will ask if you're happy for us to communicate with you via post, email, telephone etc, and this is all marked on our database, which is highly secure.
Appeals are something we need to do. This year we need to raise over £7 million in voluntary donations. Writing to people and asking for their help plays a key role in raising that money. But we have a team here who oversee our communication, as the last thing we wish to do is bombard you, we know that it will only lose your support.
We know we will sometimes get it wrong. Occasionally, we will send you too many letters in quick succession, or send a supporter something they are not interested in. For that we apologise. However, if you receive a phone call or a letter that you do not like, please let us know so that we can immediately make things right.
We are continually working to improve our communication techniques and will continue to follow guidance from the Fundraising Standards Board, the Information Commissioner Office and the Direct Marketing Association. The Fundraising Standards Board especially are reviewing their guidelines following this case and may well implement changes as a result. You may find the news page on their website interesting to see what they're doing.
We also want you to be aware that you can contact us at any time to change the way we communicate with you. You can either call 01708 723593 during working hours or send us an email and tell us how you would like us to stay in touch.
We hope this makes you feel more assured about what happens when you support Saint Francis Hospice. We value each and every one of our supporters and hope you are able to see us as the charity you can trust.