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We don’t want to lose touch with you!

Posted on 5th September 2018

GDPR - Why does it matter?

By now we have all been in-undated with e-mails and letters from organisations willing us to give them permission to keep in touch after the GDPR deadline of 25 May 2018. But do we really understand what it is and why it matters to Heart of Kent Hospice? We asked our Director of Income Generation, Ann-Marie Kelly to tell us more…

What is GDPR and who does it affect?

GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation and is intended to give everyone more increased information about how their personal information is used and more choice about what type of information they want to receive. At Heart of Kent Hospice, we have always been responsible with the personal information that people share with us and respectful of how we use it, so the introduction of GDPR has not required massive change for us. It has, however, provided us with a welcome opportunity to make it clearer to people why and how we collect their information and what we use it for*.
I think one of the biggest mis-understandings about GDPR is that it only relates to fundraising and marketing information. This isn’t the case. It relates to all the personal information that is shared with us including information from patients, their families, volunteers, colleagues, supporters and even our suppliers.

Have you written to me about it?

Not necessarily. As a Hospice, employer and manager of an army of volunteers (who we couldn’t manage without!) we must hold and be able to use some information – if we didn’t we wouldn’t be able to operate or comply with our various regulators. We also consider it necessary to keep our colleagues, patients, supporters and the general public up to date with Hospice news so that they are familiar with how we can support terminally ill patients and their families, and say thank you to those who support us. So, why did I receive an e-mail from you asking me to reply? Separate from GDPR is PECR (it all gets terribly complicated!). To comply with PECR or Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulation we must have your permission to send you any marketing via email; so information about our forthcoming events and fundraising appeals for example. On 25 May we emailed over 10,000 supporters to ask for them to give us permission to keep in touch. 35% of those who opened the email replied to say they would like to stay in touch, but only 27% of recipients actually opened the email.

So why does it matter?

In some respects, GDPR is a vicious circle. Everyone has the right to choose what information they would like to receive and how they receive it. If we know that the information we send out is not wanted or read, then we can obviously reduce the costs associated with printing and distributing it. However, letting people know about our work, the impact of the donations we receive and promoting new ways to get involved and support us is vital. As a charity, we must raise £4 out of every £5 we spend and we want to make it as easy and fulfilling as we can for our supporters.

What can I do to help or find out more?

  • If you received an email from us on 25 May asking you to tell us your preferences and want to keep updated via email, then please reply.
  • If you didn’t receive an email, or would like us to keep you updated via email send your email address to or call the Fundraising Team on 01622 790195.
  • If you’d like to check your details on our records and the communications preferences we have recorded for you, get in touch and we will be able to let you know. You can opt-out of us contacting you at any time by using the above email or contact number.
  • A copy of our full Privacy Statement outlining how all of the data collected by the Hospice is stored and used visit our website, or contact to request a printed copy.
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