David Cameron has vowed to introduce new laws that will better regulate charity fundraisers and prevent them from pressuring people with waves of calls and letters requesting donations.
The prime minister made the announcement over Twitter, promising new laws to crack down on the "unacceptable conduct" of some charity fundraisers.
We will introduce new laws to crack down on the unacceptable conduct of some charity fundraisers - they must act properly in future.
— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) July 11, 2015
His vow comes two months after 92 year-old Bristol pensioner, Olive Cooke, was found dead in the Avon gorge. According to family and friends she was driven to suicide in part because she was exhausted by the constant demands of cold calls and direct mail from charities she had supported over the years.
Cooke was extremely generous with her charitable donations and at one point had 27 direct debits to different charities. However budgeting forced her to cancel some of the payments which resulted in a flood of calls and letters - up to 260 a month - requesting she restart the payments.
The charity industry is known for its over-assertive pursuit of fundraising and uses a number of methods to pressure people into donating including cold calling which generates £35m of annual income among members of the Fundraising Standards Board, which represents almost 50 per cent of all UK charities.
Charities have been adamant that telemarketing is random and donors are not singled out and targeted however Cooke's circumstances may suggest otherwise which is why Cameron has announced the intention to introduce new laws following pressure from the public and media.
The soon to be implemented EU’s Data Protection Directive will mean potential donors will need to willing opt in for them to be contacted by charities. The move have not been well received by the charity industry which claim it will slash their incomes.