NEWS23 October 2015

RNLI moves to opt-in only comms

Charities News UK

UK — The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has announced a fundamental change to the way it contacts people, so that from 2017 only those who opt-in will be contacted by the charity.


The charity said the shift from opt-out – where supporters are automatically added to its database unless they expressly opt-out – to opt-in, would cost it £35.6 million in income over the next five years. It forecasts that this shortfall will start at about £11m in 2016, falling to £4m in 2020 as it finds new ways to fund its service.

Leesa Harwood, RNLI fundraising director, said: “We’re making this change because we believe it’s the right thing to do and we need to make sure that our supporters’ trust is well placed. Charities’ fundraising communications, in particular, have come under scrutiny this year. The RNLI has always prided itself on its ethical approach to fundraising and we’ve been investigating how to reduce our reliance on direct marketing over the past 12 months.

RNLI said it was the first major charity to make such a change to its data-use for fundraising.