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Data protection and privacy statement


VSO is committed to safeguarding your privacy online. This statement explains how we will collect, use and disclose information. This statement may change from time to time, so please check this page periodically.


It’s important that you feel completely comfortable and confident that your personal information is in safe hands. Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) takes protecting your privacy extremely seriously and takes all reasonable steps to ensure your information is secure.

The use of your personal information, why we collect it and what we save varies depending on how you interact with VSO, what consent you have given us and what the situation is. We have done our best to indicate this throughout the statement. There may be other privacy policies that apply to certain services we provide. We will make these explicit when they apply. Please read them before you subscribe for such services.

What information we collect

We may collect a variety of personally identifiable or sensitive information from you for various reasons. For example, we may collect:

  • Any personal details you may choose to give us, such as your name, age, or address. We save this so we can keep in touch with you.
  • Your financial details, if you have made a kind donation to us. We need this to process your gift and/or Gift Aid.
  • Your education and employment background, in order to process your application if you have applied to work with VSO.
  • Any equal opportunity data, or physical or mental health information that you may have given us if you apply to volunteer with VSO. This is so we can fully and fairly administer your application.

Why we collect information

Information helps make the fight against poverty possible. Whenever you interact or communicate with us, we collect personal information. This information allows us to function and become more efficient. Some examples may include:

  • Processing volunteer and employee applications. Your personal and sensitive information allows us to communicate with you and assess your suitability for the role.
  • Continuously improving. We value any feedback, including complaints, you may have. In order to increase the impact we make and improve the service we provide to you and others, we need to communicate with you and collect personal information.
  • Fundraising. So we can communicate with you in the ways that suit you best, we may create a profile of your interests, preferences and support. Creating profiles allows us to target our resources effectively, which our supporters tell us is a key priority. We may use additional information which is publically available such as where you live or your age. This helps us make the right requests to the right people; for example, leaving a gift in your Will.
  • Being able to communicate with you is highly important to us, as your support can help transform the lives of poor communities around the world. 

We would like to use the personal details you provide us to communicate with you about the impact you make and to give you our news. We may also let you know about other ways you could help us – whether that’s through fundraising, campaigning, events, volunteering, trading activities or educational activities. We will always ask for your consent if we want to message you by email or text message; however we do not normally ask for consent to make calls or to write to you if you are a supporter or volunteer because we have a legitimate interest to contact you, provided of course that this does not breach your fundamental rights.

If you are signed up to the Telephone Preference Service, we will only make telephone calls to you where you have consented to receive them.

When you give us your details we will always tell you what we are going to do with them. If we request your contact details for any reason, you will always have an option to not give us them or to opt out. It is always your choice and you can change your mind at any time by contacting our Supporter Care team.

Where we collect information from

Examples may include:

  • From you directly, for example, when you fill out one of our volunteer applications or when you make a donation (thank you!).
  • From external sources, for example, when you create a JustGiving page or when you interact with us on social media.
  • From other organisations, when you give permission or where your personal data is available publically. For example, if you have moved house but forgotten to tell us, we may use the Post Office’s National Change of Address database to update our records. By using these sources of information, we can ensure that our letters get to you and that the information you receive from us is relevant.

Another example of this includes measures of affluence. This helps us make appropriate requests to supporters who may be able and willing to give more. It helps us raise funds and work more quickly and cost effectively than we would otherwise be able to. Currently, we do not make use of wealth data providers but if we wish to do so in the future, we will always ask for your explicit consent.

  • From our website, when you visit. For example, we use software such as Google Analytics to identify which pages on our website are visited most. This information is collected automatically. It does not contain any personal or sensitive information, so browsing is anonymous. For information on this, and the use of cookies, click here.

How long we keep your information for

We keep personal information for different lengths of time dependent on the purpose. For example, we would like to keep volunteer information beyond the length of a placement so we can keep in touch about our work, continue our relationship together and give volunteers the opportunity to leave a gift in their Will.

We want to ensure that the personal information we collect from you is used to appropriately support our work together and considers any future dealings that you would like to have with us. For example, many people ask to receive references for their volunteer work. In these cases it is important we have the correct personal information on file. You can contact us at any time to ask us to remove or amend your personal information.

Who we share your personal information with

If you apply to volunteer or work for VSO, we will use your personal information to run checks against official sanctions lists, which contain details of known terrorist individuals and entities (e.g. UN Sanctions). This ensures that VSO are not complicit in funding or supporting terrorism.

We may also need to disclose your details if required to by the police, regulatory bodies or legal advisers.

We never sell your personal details with third parties for the purpose of marketing. Sometimes we may need to share your information with external organisations. Some of our suppliers and country offices are outside the European Economic Area. Whenever we share or transfer your personal information, we comply with the standards set by the GDPR and this privacy statement at a minimum.

How your information is secure

The security of your information is of utmost importance to us. We seek to use reasonable measures to protect your information as required by the law, in line with industry standards and in accordance with the policies VSO has set. Sensitive data is held under strict security conditions. If you have any reason to believe that any personal information we hold is no longer secure, please contact us immediately.

Further information

The laws that say how your personal information can be used are:

At VSO we try our best to go beyond the minimum and also follow the best practice code by the Fundraising Regulator.

You can also contact the Information Commissioner’s Office to find out more about types of personal information, its usage and your rights, or to report a concern.

Your rights

You have the right to:

  • Ask for a copy of the personal data that we hold about you (your right to access)
  • Request that we delete personal data held on you, where we no longer have any legal reason to retain it (your right to be forgotten)
  • Change how you hear from us, opt out of marketing communications and opt out of us holding your personal data if we have no legitimate reasons to do so (your right to object)
  • Ask us to restrict processing of data – which means that we would need to secure and retain your data for our benefit but not otherwise us it (your right to restrict processing)
  • Ask us to supply you with some of the personal data we hold about you in a machine-readable format to another organisation (your right to data portability).

If you wish to exercise any of these rights; just get in touch with our Supporter Care team on the details below:

Supporter Care
VSO
100 London Road
Kingston upon Thames
KT2 6QJ

enquiry@vsoint.org

+44 (0)20 8780 7500