On 26 January 2021, the Dutch government unanimously approved two amendments to the proposed Telecommunications Act, softening the rules for charities in contrast with legislation for businesses.
The former proposal for the Dutch Telecommunications Act restricted organisations from contacting individuals who have not opted in for marketing calls unless they have a financial relationship as customers or, in the case of charities, donors.
But in a landmark ruling, these amendments broaden the concept of what constitutes a customer relationship, widening the boundaries for those who charities can call to include volunteers and supporters who do not currently donate financially. The decision recognises that charities are of great social importance and that their income is often highly dependent on telephone fundraising.
When lobbying for these amendments, Goede Doelen Nederland and fellow trade bodies emphasised that charities’ supporter relationships are more wide-ranging than the private sector customer base.
Margreet Plug, director Goede Doelen Nederland said:
“We are very pleased that the Dutch government has recognised the importance of charities asking for support for the work they do. Also by phone. After all, when they call to ask for support, it is not to gain a profit, but to fund special services and projects and to support beneficiaries.”
These changes follow the publication of public research showing that the vast majority of Dutch citizens do not object to a telephone approach by charities (Zest 2020).
The new Telecommunications Act is expected to become law in either July this year or January 2022.
Editorial note: The headline has been updated since publication to include the word ‘forthcoming”, making it clearer that it relates to future amendments. This piece follows past news that highlight concerns about the new Act restricting charities’ ability to fundraise via phone.