Arrows pointing backwards and forwards

Wealth screening: what’s compliant and what’s correct?

The ICO recently wrote to a number of universities to issue guidance on wealth screening, a practice we expressed some reservations about here on the Holly Palmer Consulting blog last year following a critical front page in the Daily Mail (you can read the MailOnline’s version of the newspaper piece here). The ICO’s letter was the conclusion to an investigation it undertook in response to that front page, and they’ve decided not to take any further action – a fact you can’t find on their website, although the letter was disclosed via a Freedom of Information request. You can find it here, together with a list of universities to whom the ICO wrote.

On the surface that would appear to be the end of the matter, and indeed the IDPE reported the story as such: “ICO to take no further action on wealth screening and data matching practices in universities”. But we think it would be a mistake to believe that the ICO has said there’s nothing to see here, as the conclusion to their guidance makes clear:

The ICO expects that any processing for the purposes set out above takes our guidance and advice into account. If we receive complaints in the future, any subsequent enquiries we make may lead to formal enforcement action.

So what does the guidance say, and what are its implications for our sector?

Continue reading
Alumni research study magic

Use magic to plan your next alumni or supporter research project

If you’ve been following along from December’s blog, you’ll know that last month’s challenge was to make a list of things you’d like to know from (or about) your alumni and supporters. In this blog, I’ll share my magic formula with you and show you how to use it to plan a successful research project.

Two of the biggest enemies of research are unreasonable expectations and scope creep. The magic formula, while simple, forces you to consider the data you need and any limitations to this data at the project outset. It also helps you keep an open mind, so you don’t constrain yourself to one methodology too soon in the planning phase.

Continue reading

Ask a donor this December

The bustle of social events, shopping trips and family visits can make December pass by in a flash. Fundraisers are busy winding up their Christmas appeals and are perhaps even looking ahead to Valentines appeals, Spring newsletters and New Year supporter events. That feeling of relaxation once the holidays start (or the relatives head home) can seem like a distant memory once you’re back behind the desk in January. Time to do it all over again…

This perpetual busyness and churn is overwhelming and unhelpful. But equally, the intention of coming into 2018 refreshed and ready to shake things up doesn’t always work when you’re cold, miserable and your trousers are too tight.

If you’re anything like me, the best way to combat the January blues is to make a plan in December. This preparation allows you to completely switch off from work over the holidays, safe in the knowledge that you’ve got your list ready to work through when you return.

Continue reading

A response to “Are we missing too many alumni with web surveys? (Part 2)”

I was interested to read today a guest blog on the Cool Data site by Peter B. Wylie and John Sammis. It is called “Are we missing too many alumni with web surveys?” and is part 2 in a series (part 1 was published in 2012).

In summary, they looked at a North American university’s recent survey data (and presumably the institution’s full constituent data) and compared respondents, non-respondents and email-uncontactable alumni with regard to age, event attendance and giving. They were looking to identify and demonstrate demographic or behavioural differences in the survey respondents as compared with those who were unable to be invited to complete the survey (no email address) or those who chose not to.

Continue reading