U.S.-based nonprofits with Canadian supporters or donors should take note of the country's new anti-spam law (CASL). Beginning July 1, 2014, the law designed to protect individuals, businesses and organizations from SPAM by enforcing stricter rules for the sending of email, SMS (texts), social media and voice will go into effect. Canadian government institutions are the only entities exempt from the new "commercial electronic message" legislation.
You already know that great content and a gorgeous design make for powerful emails, but what’s the point of all that work if your email never makes it to your supporters’ inboxes?
We attempted to break down the very long and detailed intricacies of the new law and have put the top 10 most important take-aways (as we see them) below.
- These rules apply to nonprofit organization activities UNLESS the message is sent by or on behalf of a registered charity where the primary purpose of the message is to fundraise.
- You must have expressed or implied consent to send a message. A pre-checked box is NOT ok.
- You must clearly and simply identify yourself and anyone else on whose behalf the message is sent.
- In every message you send, you must provide a way for recipients to unsubscribe from receiving messages in the future.
- If you haven't received express consent to send a message, you have a three-year transitional period to get permission to continue sending emails.
- Consent can be implied in two cases: 1) where you already have at least a 2-year relationship with a client or customer; and 2) if someone made an inquiry to your organization within the last 6 months.
- If you are sending the message, you have to prove that consent was obtained.
- Using social media or sharing the same network does not necessarily mean there is a personal relationship between individuals. (as an example, having a friend on Facebook does NOT constitute a "personal relationship")
- If you plan to install software on a computer (like Microsoft), express consent is mandatory. Also, the user MUST be told if the software will collect data – personal or otherwise (like cookies).
- This might me the most important: the fines are hefty. They can reach $10M Canadian per violation!
If you need more information, take a look at this site to see how the new anti-spam law could affect what you see online.