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Our privacy policy

How we use personal information and cookies

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Taking care of your personal information

At UNICEF UK we know our work for children, really is your work for children. None of what we do is possible without you. That’s why taking care of the personal information you provide to us is so important. This privacy policy sets out how we collect, use and store your personal information – please read it carefully. For the purpose of this Policy, ‘Personal Information’ means information which can identify a living individual.

Occasionally, we may make changes to this policy so do remember to check back from time to time.

If you have any questions on this policy, or wish to change how we use your personal information, please contact our Supporter Care Team or call us on 0300 330 5699 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

UNICEF UK, the United Kingdom Committee for UNICEF, is a charity, entirely funded by our supporters. We receive no money from the UN budget, so our supporters mean everything to us. We are a registered charity (charity number 1072612) and a company limited by guarantee (company number 03663181). UNICEF UK is also registered in Scotland (charity number SC043677). Unicef UK’s registered office is 1 Westfield Avenue, Stratford, London E20 1HZ.

If you make a purchase from UNICEF Market, this is carried out through UNICEF UK Enterprises Ltd (“UEL”), which is a wholly owned trading subsidiary of Unicef UK, registered at the same address (company number 02736690). UEL is administered by the staff of UNICEF UK and operates from our premises, and your personal information is collected, used and stored in accordance with this privacy policy.

We always want you to be happy with the communication you receive from us. If you want to change how you hear from us, or update your details, simply get in touch with our Supporter Care team. You can also call them on 0300 330 5580 (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm).

You can also change the way we contact you in the following ways:

  • Using the unsubscribe link in an email from us
  • Following the instructions in an SMS message from us to opt out of future messages

Where you tell us that you no longer want to hear from us for marketing purposes, please be aware that we may still contact you for administration purposes, such as about any donations you make and Gift Aid, or providing you with information you’ve requested or in helping resolve a query.

Information is critical to ensuring we can be there for children in danger all around the world. It helps us to operate as efficiently as possible and to make sure our interactions with you are timely, relevant and tailored for you. To do this, we may collect personal information about you in the following ways:

Directly from you

  • When you interact with us such as when you donate, take a campaign action or attend an event. Sometimes you might be interacting with an organisation working on our behalf, but we are still responsible for your personal information.
  • When you visit our website we may gather information, such as which pages you visit or how long you spend reading a page. This data helps us to improve your online experience, for example by adding new features, or removing elements that make the website difficult to use. We may also use data and insights to help inform the choice of words and images that appear on the site, in order to improve visitors’ response to our campaigns. You can find out more in the section on cookies below.


  • When you interact with third parties such as when you donate through a third-party website, for example Just Giving, and give your permission for your personal information to be shared with us. Similarly, if you engage with us on social media and messaging services like Facebook, WhatsApp or Twitter you might give us permission to access personal information from those accounts. The data we are given access to by social media services will vary but will always be in line with the terms of that service.
  • From other information that is available to the public to help us understand more about you and ensure our communications are tailored to you. To do this, we may use personal information from publicly available sources such as Companies House, or information published in the media, as well as that which is commercially available through third party subscriptions. By understanding more about you, and how you might be interested in supporting us, we can help make our work for children as cost effective as possible.

Depending on how you interact with us, the personal information that we collect may include your name, postal address, email address, telephone or mobile number, social media name, your contact preferences, bank details, taxpayer status (to understand if we can claim Gift Aid), the date and/or year of your birth, and gender (where this is appropriate, such as when you register for a running event).

We may also collect personal information about the donations you make to us, any actions you take as part of a campaign for us, or events that you register for or participate in, and details from any interactions with our Supporter Care team.

We may also gather personal information that is publicly available to build up a better picture of you and your interests, as well as behavioural data on digital platforms so we can consider how best to ask for your support. To do this we do research, which may include using third-party subscriptions, to help us understand things such as the demographic information associated with your postcode, an estimate of your age, information about directorships and shareholdings, employment and earnings as well as your charitable interests and giving history.

We do this to make sure our communications to you are appropriate and tailored – something we know means a lot to our supporters.

We may sometimes use third party suppliers to support us in this work– to understand more about this please see the section below, “Sharing your personal information”.

How we use your personal information

We will always make sure we have a lawful basis for processing your personal information.

The lawful bases that we might use depending on why and how we are using your personal information, are:

  • if we have your consent
  • to enter into, or perform, a contract with you
  • to comply with a legal duty
  • for our own (or a third party’s) interests (known as ‘legitimate interests’)
    • but we’ll always make sure our interests don’t override your rights (or those of a third-party)
  • to protect your vital interests or the vital interests of another individual
    • very occasionally, we may need to process your personal information to protect your vital interests (for example to protect your life) or the vital interests of another individual – for instance we may escalate a safeguarding concern to local authorities urgently where an individual is believed to be at risk of significant harm or we may process personal data in order locate individuals after a humanitarian disaster.

Here are some examples of how we use personal information for different areas of our work:

  • To keep a record of your relationship with us.
  • To contact you with a query about a donation or where you have contacted our Supporter Care Team.
  • To process your donations or other payments and verify financial transactions.
  • To process orders, deliver products and communicate with you about orders such as card and gift purchases or community fundraising materials.
  • To process an internship application or job application.
  • To collect pledges of support for campaigns to stand up for children’s rights, like petition signatures or connecting you with your MP so that you can contact them directly to act.
  • To let you know by email, telephone, SMS or post the latest news about our work for children and share with you how else you can help, where we have a lawful basis to do so. These updates may include information on fundraising or campaigning for us, our range of cards and gifts including inspired gifts, information on leaving a gift in your will, specific appeals as well as updates on our work with children.
  • Where we don’t specifically ask for your consent to do this, we believe it is in UNICEF UK’s legitimate business interest to let our supporters know about the latest news about our work for children and share with you how else you can help. We only do this where we don’t believe sending these will impact your privacy or cause you harm or distress; however, you can always let our Supporter Care team know if you’d prefer us not to contact you in any of these ways.
  • To analyse and improve our website, services, products or information we provide to you.
  • To measure the effectiveness of our marketing communications, for example by telling us if you have opened an email we have sent you.
  • To reach you and identify other similar people like you on social media who we believe would be interested in UNICEF UK, and to show them UNICEF UK content.
  • To verify if the email or postal address we hold about our supporters is correct, using a third party service

You can change how you hear from us at any time simply by getting in touch with our Supporter Care Team – please see the section How to change the way we contact you.

  • To ask you to leave a gift in your will and to analyse our legacy promises alongside our future financial planning.
  • To enable us to collect that legacy, sometimes working with other named beneficiaries.
  • To collect supplementary information from the public domain such as from professional networking sites, company websites, news archives, third party paid-for sources, the Charity Commission and Companies House. This additional information we collect enables us to tailor our communications and make the most appropriate requests to supporters who may be able and willing to make a major gift.
  • To carry out research to identify individuals who have an affinity to our cause but with whom we are not already in touch. We use sources from the public domain, and our volunteer campaign boards and committees, to identify other individuals who may be able to support us or introduce us to others at a major gift level.
  • To collect the following types of personal information on individuals: job title(s), affiliated organisation(s), previous charity affiliations/donations, education, career history, relationships/networks, relevant interests, and an estimate of a person’s age, all based on publicly available sources.
  • To conduct due diligence on all major gifts in accordance with our legal and regulatory obligations and internal risk management policies and procedures. This is to safeguard our reputation and to help us mitigate any associated risk, so if you choose to opt-out of this, we may not be able to process your donation.
  • To provide you with the services, products or information you have requested, or that we feel would be of interest to you, and reasonably expected by you.
  • To send email, telephone and postal marketing to individuals at corporate addresses (‘business to business’ marketing) about UNICEF UK’s Programmes, products and services aimed at organisations.
  • To ask you to participate in surveys or research.
  • To carry out and analyse research surveys, focus groups or other research methods.
  • To understand our supporters better and develop audience propositions, this may involve analysing your personal information or combining it with publicly available information in order to create supporter ‘profiles’.
  • To analyse and report on trends in our supporters’ behaviour that helps us to understand our supporters better, and predict future behaviour, so that we can engage with you in an appropriate and efficient way.
  • To enable you to take part in our competitions
  • To carry out the administration of the competition
  • To send you an email to check and see if there is any help we can give or any problems you encountered, for example when you enter information into a form on our website and start but don’t complete a form, make a donation or complete a purchase.
  • To reach you with our latest news and information about how you can help support children via online adverts on other websites, based on your visit to our website.
  • To use live chat on our website so our Supporter Care team can guide you to appropriate content.


  • If you wish to change how we use your personal information please contact our supporter care team on 0300 330 5580 or email us.

Keeping your personal information safe

We make sure that appropriate physical, technical and human controls are in place to ensure we take good care of your personal information.

However, the transmission of information over the internet is never completely secure and as a result, while we strive to protect your personal information, UNICEF UK cannot guarantee the security of any information you transmit to us, and you do so at your own risk. Once we receive your personal information, we make every effort to try to ensure its security both on our systems and while in transit between our systems and our partners who work on our behalf.

All staff who have access to your personal information understand the importance of keeping your information safe and secure at all times, are required to follow our internal privacy and security policies, and are given training to support them in this.

We cannot be responsible for the privacy policies and practices of other websites, even if you access them by using links from our websites and we recommend that you check the policy of each site you visit.

We ensure that additional controls are in place for financial, sensitive and special categories of personal information (for example information about health or religion), which meet regulatory and legal requirements for managing these types of information.

We may transfer personal information submitted by you to UNICEF offices in other countries that may be outside the European Economic Area (EEA), or we may need to use a service provider or partner outside the EEA, which may include a country that does not have the same level of data protection as the UK. Where we transfer your personal information outside of the EEA, we ensure safeguards are in place to ensure it remains secure and adequately protected.

We will only use and store personal information for so long as it is required for the purposes it was collected for and as specified in our Retention Policy, which we review regularly. How long personal information will be stored for depends on the personal information in question and what it is being used for, as well as whether there is any legal or regulatory requirement for retaining the personal information. For instance, we hold personal information relating to:

  • Supporter transaction and interaction history for seven years from the last supporter interaction with UNICEF UK. A further 13 years of anonymised data is retained for analysis purposes. (Supporters are individuals who have had contact with UNICEF UK in a capacity which supports our outcomes for children.)
  • Legacy pledgers. If you indicate that you’d like to leave us a legacy gift, we will retain personal information for up to 50 years in recognition of the relevance of that information up to the fulfilment of the legacy pledge.
  • Philanthropy and partnership supporters. If you provide UNICEF UK with partnership or philanthropic giving, we will retain personal data for 20 years in recognition of the long-term interactions with these supporters.
  • Individuals who have requested we no longer contact them for direct marketing. We will retain minimum personal information indefinitely in order to comply with the request (name, address, contact details and suppression details) but with increased restricted access to that personal information by UNICEF UK staff.
  • Gift Aid declarations. We are legally required to hold some personal information to fulfil statutory obligations, for example the collection of Gift Aid or to support certain financial transactions.
  • Financial data for our management accounts for six years following the current financial year.
  • Safeguarding concerns. Ten years from the completion of a UNICEF UK safeguarding incident report form, unless the incident involves UNICEF UK staff where a concern or incident is proven which will be retained until the staff member reaches normal retirement age or 10 years from the date of closure of the file, whichever is the later.

UNICEF UK is committed to processing children’s personal information legally and ensuring that children’s rights regarding the use of their personal information are upheld. At UNICEF UK a child is defined as anyone under 18 years of age. Where consent is required to process children’s personal information, we will ask the person with parental responsibility for the child to provide consent on behalf of the child if the child is under 16 years of age. When a child becomes 18 years of age, we will re-seek consent from the individual or cease processing the personal information. Sometimes we will not seek permission because we believe UNICEF UK has a legitimate interest to process children’s personal information, or occasionally to protect the vital interests of children; in those situations, we will always ensure we have carefully assessed whether our use would be fair and not override the child’s right to privacy.


Sharing your personal information

We may share your personal information with partners, agents or service providers to allow them to perform services on our behalf or to help us understand our supporters more effectively. These partners will only act under our instruction and will not use your personal information for their own purposes.

We always have contracts in place with our suppliers, which require them to comply with UK law on data protection and to have systems and processes to protect the security of your personal information. We promise to always keep your details safe and we’ll never sell or swap your personal information with any other organisation.

We may provide your email address or mobile phone number to digital advertising or social media companies who work on our behalf, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. This is so we can reach you and others like you with our latest news and information about how you can help keep children safe. This personal information is always provided in an encrypted format and is deleted immediately after use.

If you don’t want to see targeted advertising from us on social media, please refer to the instructions provided by the specific social media website or app, for example on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Google.

We may disclose personal information if required to do so by law or if we believe that such action is necessary to protect and defend the rights, property or personal safety of UNICEF UK, our websites or our visitors and for other lawful purposes.

Here are some examples of the organisations with which we may share your data:

NTT, One Sixty, DTVO, Inspired People, Cymba, OMG, Ansaback, Brainlabs, The Kite Factory

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube

The Kite Factory, Formstack, Hootsuite, Engaging Networks, Microsoft, Box

Signal, Mosaic, Novica, Hallmark, Proco, Lexon

BACS, HMRC, Bottomline, DFID for Aid Match

Ginger Black

Clear, Salesforce, MyLife Digital

Boston Consulting Group, Global Philanthropic, 11 London

ukchanges, Loqate (GB Group plc)

What are your rights?

You have the right to:

  • Request a copy of the personal information we hold about you, and to ask us to confirm how we use your personal information (“Access”)
  • Request that we correct the personal information we hold about you if it is not accurate, complete and up to date (“Rectification”).

Depending on why we have and use your Personal Information you may also have the following rights:

  • Be informed about what we are doing with your personal information (“Informed”)
  • Ask us for the personal information we hold about you to be erased from our records (“Erasure”)
  • Ask us to send another organisation personal information that you have provided to us (“Data Portability”)
  • Ask us to restrict the processing of your personal information for a period of time (“Restriction”)
  • Object to the processing of your personal information (such as using it for direct marketing) (“Object”)
  • Understand and input into a decision made by solely automated means if it has a legal or similarly significant effect on you (“Automated Decision Making”)
  • Withdraw consent if that is the basis that we are relying on. We will inform you how to do this.

If you would like further information about your rights or wish to exercise them, please contact our Supporter Care team at UNICEF UK, 1 Westfield Avenue, Stratford, London E20 1HZ, by email or by phone on 0300 330 5580 (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm).

If you are requesting a copy of your personal information, please put this in writing (together with proof of your identity) to our Supporter Care team at the address given above. It is helpful if you explain what particular records you are seeking, but you do not have to say.

We won’t charge an administration fee for considering and/or complying with any requests to exercise your rights unless we believe the request is excessive in nature. If we are unable to fulfil your request for any reason, we will provide you with a reason as to why.

If you are not happy with the way we have handled your personal information and are unable to resolve the issue with us personally, you have the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office, the UK’s independent body set up to uphold information rights.

Our Data Protection Officer can be contacted by writing to Data Protection Officer, 1 Westfield Avenue, Stratford, London E20 1HZ, or contact our Supporter Care team on 0300 330 5699 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday or email us.

Cookie policy

Cookies are small text files that are placed on your device that help us improve our websites, that help provide you with the best experience when you visit our websites and when we communicate with you, and to deliver UNICEF UK adverts relevant to you and your interests when you visit other websites. We may use both 1st party and 3rd party cookies. 1st party cookies are set by UNICEF UK, 3rd party cookies are set by a partner on our behalf.

Cookies and similar technologies (such as web beacons (pixels), device fingerprinting or server logging) help us to:

  • Personalise the website to your requirements. If, for example, on a previous visit you went to the Syria Emergency page, then we might find this out from your cookie and highlight particular information related to this appeal which you may find interesting, on a second visit.
  • Avoid asking you to register or complete details twice.
  • Estimate the number of visitors to our site, including the source and patterns relating to this traffic.
  • Understand how visitors use the site, and how we can enhance this experience.
  • Measure the effectiveness of our marketing communications, for example by telling us if you have opened an email we have sent you.
  • Display relevant advertising to you when you visit other websites.

You are able to set your devices to accept all cookies, to choose the types of cookies you accept, to notify you when a cookie is issued, or not to receive cookies at any time. For instructions on how to do this visit www.aboutcookies.org.uk/managing-cookies.

Please find below a table detailing the types of cookies used on our website.

We may use both 1st party and 3rd party cookies. 1st party cookies are set by UNICEF UK, 3rd party cookies are set by a partner on our behalf.

You can also find out more about cookies at www.allaboutcookies.org and www.youronlinechoices.eu.

More questions

If you have any questions that aren’t answered on this page, please check our Donation FAQs. You can also contact our Supporter Care team or call them on 0300 330 5580 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Changes to this policy

This information was last updated on September 10th, 2020. From time to time, we may make changes to the information on this page, so you may wish to check back regularly. The amended information will apply from the date it is posted on the site and will govern the way in which we collect and use personal information from then on.

Questions? Email our Supporter Care team

Email our team