What to do with existing mailing lists

Please note that if you have a mailing list comprised of alumni or donor contacts or a mailing list compiled for the purposes of sending invites to events that are organised with assistance from Advancement or if you wish to send fundraising emails – you must discuss and agree your approach and any proposed communications with Advancement before taking any further action.

In all other cases, if you have a mailing list of contacts and you wish to continue to send them marketing emails (which will include newsletters, emails promoting the aims of the College or a department within College, events, webinar or course offers (whether paid for or free)) after 24 May 2018, you have to review your mailing list to check:

1. Do you have people’s consent to receiving emails?

 For example: if people have specifically signed up to receive a newsletter or emails via a web form designed for the purpose and you explained what communications people would receive when they signed up and can evidence that this has happened (e.g. you have the electronic submissions on file), then, you probably have valid consent and can continue to email such subscribers.

However, if you put the mailing list together from an external source or you added people who gave their contact details for another purposes, then you need to find out what these people were told about the use of their information and what their expectations were about the use of their data.

You should also consider how long you have had their contact details for and whether they have been offered an opt-out in each communication. If you are happy you have people’s consent to receiving your emails then you can carry on, ensuring that you continue to offer an opt-out in each future communication and refresh your consent or remove inactive individuals periodically.

 If you are unsure whether you have consent, consider if you may be able to rely on the so called ‘soft-opt’ in explained below.

2. In the absence of consent, can you rely on the ‘soft opt-in’ to continue to send emails to the mailing list?

 If you can show that:

(i) we have obtained the contact details (the College directly) in the course of a sale (or negotiations for a sale even if the sale did not take place in the end) of a product or service to that person; and

(ii) we are only marketing our own similar products or services; and

(iii) we gave the person a simple opportunity to refuse or opt out of the marketing, both when first collecting the details and in every message after that; and

(iv)  the texts or emails you want to continue sending are marketing products or services (i.e. commercial marketing and not emails promoting the aims or ideals of an organisation),

 you can then continue to send such commercial marketing emails after 24 May 2018.

3. If you don’t think you have consent and you can’t rely on the ‘soft opt-in’, you can seek consent, taking into account the following: 

(i) you can contact people via post or telephone (unless their number is registered with the Telephone Preference Service), and they have an expectation that you may use their details in this manner and ask them to consent to receiving emails;

(ii) in any letters you send or phone calls you make, you should state that the law has changed and that in order to carry on receiving this particular information they will need to opt-in i.e. let you know that they do want to receive email communications from you;

(iii) no response is the same as an opt-out so you will need to remove non-responders from your list;

(iv) you must be very clear about the information they will receive via emails. If you want to send more than one thing such as email invitations to future events and newsletters about the work of your department/area, you should preferably ask them to opt in to each thing and respect their preferences;

(v) you must ensure you keep a record of all received consents and are able to show it, if asked.