Tips for Safe, Fearless List Exchange
For its own protection and the protection of its constituents, it’s important for an organization to have a list policy if it is selling or exchanging its member or donor list.
A list policy, says Virginia Dambach, director of marketing communications for DEI, an umbrella organization that serves the development and marketing needs of public radio stations nationwide, should outline mutual expectations between the organization and those with which it rents or exchanges its lists.
An organization should create a list policy that it feels comfortable sharing with anyone, whether it be other organizations or its own constituents. DEI recommends the following tips when devising a list policy:
* Fully disclose to donors/constituents that you exchange and/or rent your mailing list. Also, inform your constituents of how they can request their name not be exchanged or rented.
* Specifically regarding public radio stations, do not rent or exchange your list with political candidates, partisan political organizations or lobbying organizations. Doing so can lead to a skewed public perception.
* Consider your policy from a donor’s point of view and ask yourself if a donor would be offended to receive a mailing from a particular group with which you might be considering renting or exchanging your list.
* Consider whether renting to or exchanging your list with a particular organization would break the trust of your constituents, and deny the list to organizations that it might harm your reputation to be affiliated with.
* Have each department within your organization review membership/donor/constituent lists to identify any names that might be inappropriate for inclusion in a list that is exchanged or rented, and code them for removal.
* Make sure that a member of senior management always is involved in decisions relating to the list.
* Make sure your list-exchange practices comply with federal and state laws. For information on these laws, contact your state’s Attorney General’s Office.