Time to ‘opt in’ to keep links with favourite good causes

The way we receive information about organisations such as the RSPB is changing.

The way we receive information about organisations such as the RSPB is changing. - Credit: Archant

Opinion: The way we interact with charities is changing, says Erica Auger of the RSPB.

When we reflect on the last couple of years and the major events or happenings, I wonder what our lasting impression would be? For me, it will be that this was a resounding period of change. Not always positive change, but change none the less.

Politically, financially, socially and environmentally, there have been so many things that could be mapped as significant, one way or another. Things that have, and indeed have the potential to, change the course of history. One such thing is happening and taking place right before our eyes and it involves you and me. As members of the public, our relationship with charities is changing and will have a lasting impact on how we interact with them.

In recent years, the way in which charities and businesses kept in touch with you was pretty simple; if you didn't want to hear from them, you ticked a box. It was a way of communicating that relied on us all 'Opting-out' of receiving information, and at times, this was taken advantage of. The result was reams of marketing spam, being 'bothered' about information that simply wasn't relevant and the feeling that charities (and other businesses) were actually becoming a pain.

Now, all that is set to change and new regulations linked to data protection are putting the emphasis firmly back into our hands regarding how we are talked to. Basically, if you want to receive information from an organisation then you have to proactively 'Opt-in'. This means that you are much more in control of what information you receive, when, and from whom.

And of course it means that you only receive the information that you want to, information that is relevant to you and things that you can genuinely act on. This new legislation will hopefully create a much more meaningful relationship between charities such as the RSPB and you, its members, allowing them to get involved and genuinely be part of the charity. And at the RSPB, boy do we have some exciting stories to tell! The new rules are designed to give people more control over their relationship with charities and business. This must be right and we want to do whatever we can to keep our supporters connected to us so that together we can continue to do amazing things for nature – from taking part in our campaigns, doing practical conservation work, raising money or even taking part in Big Garden Birdwatch. Come on board to help us celebrate and to continue to be part of the RSPB story.

For more information and to read about how you can select to 'Opt-in' please go to rspb.org.uk/yes

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