Between 2015 and 2017, the ICO carried out an investigation into practices in charity fundraising and some charities’ compliance with the laws that protect privacy and prevent nuisance phone calls. This resulted in us fining 13 charities for breaking the law when handling donors’ personal information. The following 11 charities were fined in April 2017

Battersea Dogs’ and Cats’ Home was fined £9,000 for failing to follow data protection rules.

What they did: Finding information about you, that you didn’t provide

Between 2011 and 2015, Battersea Dogs’ and Cats’ Home used this approach to try to find out information 740,181 times.

Cancer Research UK was fined £16,000 for failing to follow data protection rules.

What they did:

Between 2010 and 2016, Cancer Research UK wealth screened 3,523,566 supporters.

Between 2011 and 2016, Cancer Research UK matched 678,887 telephone numbers to supporters.

Cancer Support UK (formerly Cancer Recovery Foundation UK) was fined £16,000 for failing to follow data protection rules.

What they did: Sharing your data with other charities, no matter what the cause

Between 2010 and 2016, Cancer Support UK shared 3,075,550 donor records. This does not necessarily reflect the number of individuals whose records were shared as some may have been shared on more than one occasion. Organisations the charity shared data with included lottery and prize promotion companies and a health supplements company.

Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity was fined £11,000 for failing to follow data protection rules.

What they did:

Between 2011 and 2015, Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity shared 910,283 records.

Between 2010 and 2016, Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity sent on average 795,000 records per month to a wealth screening company. This does not necessarily reflect the number of individuals who were wealth screened, as some records may have been screened on more than one occasion.

Between 2012 and 2015, Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity used this approach to match 103,500 email addresses to supporters, and match 208,000 dates of birth to supporters.

Macmillan Cancer Support was fined £14,000 for failing to follow data protection rules.

What they did:

Macmillan Cancer Support wealth screened supporters in 2009 and 2014. In 2014, it wealth screened 2,188,508 supporters.

Macmillan Cancer Support has used this approach to try to find out information since 2009. It has not kept a record of the number of supporters affected, but it is estimated to be several hundred thousand.

Oxfam was fined £6,000 for failing to follow data protection rules.

What they did:

Oxfam used this approach between 2003 and 2015. Since 2011, it has used this approach to find out information relating to 267,521 supporters.

  • The ICO investigation also raised concerns around marketing text messages Oxfam sent in response to text messages making donations between 2013 and 2015.

The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association was fined £15,000 for failing to follow data protection rules.

What they did:

Between 2008 and 2015, The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association wealth screened more than 1,770,221 supporters.

Between 2010 and 2016, The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association used this approach to match 248,094 telephone numbers to supporters. Between 2014 and 2015 it also used this approach to identify supporters who had not agreed to gift aid their donations to the charity, but had agreed to gift aid donations to other charities.

  • The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association also called supporters who were registered with the Telephone Preference Service and had not given their consent to receive calls.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare was fined £18,000 for failing to follow data protection rules.

What they did: 

Between 2011 and 2015, the International Fund for Animal Welfare shared 4,948,633 donor records. This does not necessarily reflect the number of individuals whose records were shared as some may have been shared on more than one occasion.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare did this between 2007 and 2009, and in 2012 and 2013. The total number of people wealth screened  in 2012 and 2013 was 466,206.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare has used this approach since at least 1995. It has matched 220,286 telephone numbers to supporters between 2006 and 2016. It matched 50,282 email addresses to supporters between 2012 and 2013.

  • The International Fund for Animal Welfare also emailed supporters without their consent.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children was fined £12,000 for failing to follow data protection rules.

What they did:

  • Between 2014 and 2015, the NSPCC used a form to collect the personal data of supporters. The form did not provide information about the information being used for marketing by telephone and mail. In total, 22,608 people had their details unfairly collected in this way.
  • Finding information about you, that you didn’t provide

Between 2010 and 2016, the NSPCC used this approach to matched telephone number to 246,751 supporters’ records. It also matched 115,741 email addresses to supporters’ records.

In 2014, the NSPCC wealth screened more than 5,870,135 records.

  • The ICO investigation also raised concerns around marketing text messages the NSPCC sent in response to text messages making donations between 2014 and 2016.

The Royal British Legion was fined £12,000 for failing to follow data protection rules.

What they did:

The Royal British Legion wealth screened 1,499,799 records in 2010, 1,478,279 records in 2012 and 2,455,670 records in 2014. This does not necessarily reflect the number of individuals who were wealth screened, as some records may have been screened on more than one occasion.

Between 2010 and 2016, The Royal British Legion estimates it matched 900,000 telephone numbers to supporters, and a further 52,966 email addresses.

WWF-UK was fined £9,000 for failing to follow data protection rules.

What they did:

Between 2012 and 2015, WWF-UK shared 174,512 donor records.

WWF-UK did this in 2006, 2011 and 2016. The total number of people wealth screened  was 643,531.

Between 2006 and 2016, WWF-UK used this approach to find out information relating to 55,684 supporters.