New Direct Marketing Association code of practice

The Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) new code of practice, which comes into force on 18 August, will encourage charities to avoid calling people at anti-social times and urge them to take responsibility above and beyond compliance with the law.

The new code, available on the trade body’s website at, includes rules on calling people at anti-social times, working with vulnerable adults and using high-pressure selling techniques.

The DMA said that adopting the new code would be central to charities’ efforts to address public concerns about one-to-one marketing, including data use.

The new rules state that DMA members should not exploit a person’s lack of knowledge or inexperience, particularly if that person is a child or otherwise vulnerable, and they should not use high-pressure selling techniques.

DMA members include Age UK, British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK and Save the Children.

The code will be enforced by the direct marketing industry's watchdog, the DM Commission, and was developed after an 18-month consultation process with Ofcom and the Information Commissioner's Office. The Ministry of Justice and Department for Culture, Media and Sport also provided input.

The DMA also has guidelines, published in 2012 and available at, for call centres dealing with vulnerable consumers.

The Institute of Fundraising has been reviewing its code of practice to consider including more provision for vulnerable people, particularly older people, after the Fundraising Standards Board (FSB) asked it to do so in April.

The FRSB’s Complaints Report 2014 highlighted that direct mail and telephone fundraising received the largest proportion of fundraising complaints last year. Addressed direct mail prompted more than 16,966 complaints and telephone fundraising received 8,019.