• Helgard Slabbert

South Africa’s POPI Act – What It Means for School Marketers



When you look at the POPI Act from a school marketer’s perspective, it might not receive such a warm welcome. Most schools respect personal data and that the data must be protected, it’s just that data collection and storage at a school is already such a difficult process and adding more limitations to the collection could have far reaching consequences to schools.


The school marketing strategy to unlock value from supporters, donors, alumni and sponsors are often reliant on the collection and analysis of data, so let’s take a look at how that will be impacted.


The regulations don’t ban email, SMS and database marketing entirely, but it might affect the school’s dependence on these platforms as the act prohibits the collection of personal information without obtaining prior consent from the subject.


Right now, school marketers are essentially free to send marketing messages to anyone, whether it’s via email or SMS, as long as the recipient is given a clear point of exit (the option to opt-out).


However, a few things will need to change once the POPI act comes into full effect.


To keep your databases fully compliant, school marketers must receive the subject’s expressed permission before adding them to the communications list.


When it comes to unsubscribing from a mailing list, email and SMS recipients must be given a clear, easy, and most importantly, penalty-free opt-out method.


To make sure that data is collected and processed legally, AlumNet can help a school to be compliant. In terms of the act, AlumNet acts as the operator that provides its customers an online platform to allow organisations functionality to communicate and engage with their contacts.


  • Whenever the data is shared with third parties like bulk emails, SMS, payment gateways etc. We have agreements in place to ensure the privacy of your data.

  • AlumNet provides you with Terms & Conditions that your data subjects must accept when interacting with your portal. This allows you to communicate your privacy policies and any other POPI related aspects.

  • AlumNet allows the data subject to set the own communication preferences (consent) and subscribe to the topics for communication and all e-mails are sent out with a link to allow the data subject to make changes to their preferences.

  • AlumNet keeps an audit trail of the acceptance of the Terms & Conditions, as well as the consent and can report on it if required.

  • We have internal procedures in place to destroy records databases if clients are no longer using AlumNet.

  • We store your data in a secure and reputable hosting environment.

  • We do continuous research and implement best practices with regards to security and will make ongoing changes to better safeguard your data.

  • We have the necessary SSL security certificates in place to enable secure transactions.

Going forward, guidance issued by the Information Regulator and interpretations of POPIA’s provisions by South African courts may result in more clarity in relation to practicalities in relation to the operator – responsible party relationship.


Please do not hesitate to contact us for any further queries.