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Oxfam GB Privacy Policy

Introduction and general terms

Oxfam promises to take great care with your personal data, and we commit to protecting any personal information we obtain about you, whether you are visiting our website as a supporter, shopper, volunteer or campaigner.

This Privacy Policy sets out how and why we obtain, use and protect personal information and contains the following sections:

  • Who we are

    Oxfam is a registered charity in England and Wales (charity number 202918) and in Scotland (charity number SC039042). We are also a company limited by guarantee (company number 612172), and have a wholly-owned trading subsidiary (Oxfam Activities Limited, company number 00830341).

    This Privacy Policy applies to all the above entities.

    Oxfam's registered address is Oxfam House, John Smith Drive, Cowley, Oxford, OX4 2JY.

    This Privacy Policy relates to information which is obtained by Oxfam and for which Oxfam is the Data Controller.

  • Oxfam’s Purpose

    Oxfam's purpose and overall mission is to overcome poverty. We provide humanitarian aid in times of crisis, fund long term community development programmes and conduct research and campaign for long term solutions to poverty.

    Our supporters help us to achieve this in a variety of ways, primarily by:

    1. Fundraising, donating money, and donating or purchasing goods for sale in Oxfam shops in order to support our programme of work
    2. Campaigning for change, through signing petitions, writing letters, and taking part in other campaigning actions
    3. Volunteering, including in Oxfam shops, at events and in our offices

    We take active steps to make sure that our supporters are aware of the ways in which they can help us achieve our overall purpose. 

  • Why we hold and process supporters’ personal data

    We hold and process supporters' personal data for a number of reasons:

    • To keep a record of donations made and actions taken by our supporters and our communications with them
    • To claim gift aid on donations
    • To send our supporters marketing information about our projects, fundraising activities and appeals where we have their consent or are otherwise allowed to
    • To fulfil contractual obligations entered into with supporters e.g. on line purchases
    • To support volunteers, whether in shops, at festivals or participating in fundraising events
    • To record campaigning actions by supporters
    • To support community based fundraising and campaigning
    • To ensure we do not send unwanted information to supporters or members of the public who have informed us they do not wish to be contacted
  • When and why we will send you personalised marketing communications

    Oxfam will only contact you for marketing purposes - for example keep you up to date on our work, or let you know of ways in which you can support that work - where we have your consent or we are otherwise allowed to do so (see section 5 for details). 

    We will make it easy for you to tell us if you would like to receive marketing communications from us and hear more about our work and the ways in which you would like to receive this information (post, email, SMS and phone).  We will not send you marketing material if you tell us that you do not wish to receive it.  There are a variety of ways you can do this, please see section 11 for details.

    Where you give us your consent to send marketing information, we will wherever possible let you know how long this consent will last. Unless we have grounds for believing that a longer period is reasonable and have explained this to you, we will understand your consent to last for 24 months. After this time, in order for us to continue to update you, we will need your refreshed consent. You can update or withdraw your consent at any time, for individual channels of communication, or for all channels. See section 11 for details on how to do this.

    Consent lasting more than 24 months

    We will generally treat any marketing consent you give us as lasting for 24 months, but will apply the following exceptions (but only where we inform you of this at the time you give consent):

    • Where you have committed to giving us a regular donation (usually monthly).
      In this situation, and unless you withdraw your consent, we will treat consent as enduring until you cancel your donation, at which point your consent will expire 24 months after the last donation. This is to enable us to keep you up to date with the impact of your gifts, and to ask whether alternative means of support would be of interest.
    • Where you have indicated that you only want to hear from us about emergency appeals.
      As it is not possible to predict when the next emergency situation will arise, we define emergency appeal consent as lasting for 5 years, which is the longest interval between emergencies that we are aware of.
    • Where you have notified us that you will be leaving a legacy to Oxfam.
      This is a lifetime commitment and although we will provide you with regular opportunities to shape and control your communication from Oxfam we will treat your consent as ongoing.
  • Other circumstances in which you may receive marketing information from Oxfam

    "Soft opt in"

    This allows organisations to send marketing communications by email and SMS to individuals who have previously purchased similar goods and services, provided they were given the opportunity to opt out at the time of purchase. In Oxfam's case, this allows us to send marketing emails and SMS to previous customers of the Oxfam online shop.  We apply a 24-month time limit, and only communicate on this basis where you have made a purchase within this period. We may also send you marketing communications by email and SMS in relation to our lottery if you are a current or past player (within the last 24 months). We will not use the "soft opt in" option if you have opted out of receiving email and/or SMS, whether direct to Oxfam or via the Fundraising Preference Service.

  • How and when we collect information about you:

    Oxfam may collect your personal data in the following circumstances: 

    1. When you give it to us DIRECTLY

    You may give us your personal data directly when you make a donation, sign up for one of our events, purchase products from the Oxfam on-line shop, when you communicate with us, or when you download the MyOxfam app.

    1. When you give it to us INDIRECTLY

    You may give us your information indirectly when you sign up to events such as the London Marathon, or contribute to Oxfam via fundraising sites like Just Giving or Virgin Money Giving.  These independent third parties will pass your data to Oxfam where you have indicated that you wish to support Oxfam and have given your consent or it is a necessary part of completing a contract with you.

    Sometimes your personal data is collected by an organisation working on our behalf (for example a professional fundraising agency) but as they are acting on our behalf we are the "data controller" and responsible for the security and proper processing of that data.

    1. When you access Oxfam's Social Media

    We might also obtain your personal data through your use of social media such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter or LinkedIn, depending on your settings or the privacy policies of these social media and messaging services. To change your settings on these services, please refer to their privacy notices, which will tell you how to do this.

    1. When the information is publicly available

    We might also obtain personal data about individuals who may be interested in giving major gifts to charities or organisations like Oxfam.  In this scenario, Oxfam may seek to find out more about these individuals, their interests and motivations for giving through publicly available information. This information may include newspaper or other media coverage, open postings on social media sites such as LinkedIn, and data from Companies House. Oxfam will not retain publicly available data relating to major donors without their consent, which will be sought at the earliest practical opportunity. 

    1. When we use cookies

    Cookies are a useful way for us to understand how supporters use our web site and/or use an Oxfam app. When you visit our web site or use an Oxfam app we will collect data from your computer or other device such as a smart phone or tablet through the use of "cookies".  Cookies are created by your web browser when you visit our website. Every time you go back to the Oxfam website, your browser will send the cookie file back to the website's server. They improve your experience of using our website, for example, by remembering your preference settings so that you are presented with information likely to be most relevant to you, and by measuring your use of the website to enable us to continuously improve our website to ensure that it meets your needs. Cookies can also be used to show you relevant Oxfam content on social media services such as Facebook - these are known as 'retargeting' or 'advertising' cookies. For information on the types of cookies we use, how we use them and how you can control your cookie preferences, see Oxfam's cookie policy

    If you visit our website as an anonymous visitor (e.g. you switch off cookies), Oxfam may still collect certain information from your browser, such as the IP address (an IP address is a number that can uniquely identify a computer or other internet device).

    The Oxfam website contains hyperlinks to websites owned and operated by other organisations. These include other media organisations (such as the BBC), research organisations and think tanks (such as the Overseas Development Institute), our festival partners (such as Glastonbury), other related charities (such as Save the Children), and Oxfam affiliates in other countries. These third-party websites have their own privacy policies, including policies on their use of cookies, and we urge you to review them. They will govern the use of personal information you submit or which is collected by cookies whilst visiting these websites. We cannot accept any responsibility or liability for the privacy practices of such third-party websites and your use of such websites is at your own risk.

  • What information might Oxfam collect about you?

    We only collect personal data relevant to the type of transactions you have with Oxfam.

    For example, when you contact Oxfam to make a donation, purchase an item online, support our "Tag your Bag" gift aid scheme, take a campaign action, or sign up to any of Oxfam's activities or online content, such as newsletters, competitions, or message boards, or you telephone, email, write to or text Oxfam, or engage with Oxfam via social media channels, we may receive and retain personal information about you.

    The information we collect is relevant to the type of transaction you are entering into with details such as your name, email address, postal address, telephone or mobile number, bank account details to process donations and whether or not you are a tax payer so that we can claim Gift Aid. 

    Sensitive Personal Data

    We do not collect "sensitive personal data" about our supporters, e.g. health status, unless there is a clear reason for doing so - such as participation in a marathon or similar fundraising event where we need this to ensure that we provide appropriate facilities or support to enable you to participate in the event. Clear notices will be provided on application forms for such events so that it is clear what information we need and why we need it.

    Should you support Oxfam in a substantial way, we may provide an account manager to help you tailor your relationship to suit your interests. If this is the case we may collect sensitive personal data where relevant to our relationship, such as your political or religious views. Should you disclose information to us about your health or your family, this may also be recorded, so that we can communicate with you in a considerate and appropriate manner.

    All sensitive personal data is stored on a secure database, to which only a limited number of relevant staff have access. It is deleted when no longer relevant, is never shared with third parties, and is available to you at any point should you wish to see it.

  • How will Oxfam use your personal data?

    Oxfam will use your personal information for the following purposes:

    1. For administrative reasons, including:
    • "service administration", which means that Oxfam may contact you for reasons related to administering any donations you have made, your tax status with regard to Gift Aid if claimed, the completion of commercial or other transactions you have entered into with Oxfam or the activity or online content you have signed up for;
    • to confirm receipt of donations (unless you have asked us not to do this), and to say thank you and provide details of how your donation might be used for example if you donate via text you will receive a "bounce back" text message.
    • in relation to correspondence you have entered into with us whether by letter, email, text, social media, message board or any other means, and to contact you about any content you provide;
    • for internal record keeping so as to keep a record of your relationship with us;
    • to fulfil sales contracts you have entered into with Oxfam, such as the Tag Your Bag (Gift Aid) scheme, under which we are required to notify you of the proceeds from sale of items you have donated to Oxfam shops;
    • to keep your data up to date - for instance we use the Royal Mail's data on postal address changes to ensure that we can maintain contact with you where we believe you are happy to be contacted by post, we also use services which notify us of the recently deceased to avoid any distress that continued communications would cause;
    • to implement any instructions you give us to with regard to withdrawing consent to send marketing information or informing us through the Fundraising Preference Service that you do not wish to receive any marketing information;
    • to use IP addresses to identify the location of users, to block disruptive use and to establish the number of visits from different countries.
    1. For marketing and fundraising reasons (see section 4 for details).
    1. For market research
    • to invite you to participate in surveys or research about Oxfam or our work (participation is always voluntary);
    • to analyse and improve the activities and content offered by the Oxfam website to provide you with the most user-friendly navigation experience. We may also use and disclose information in aggregate (so that no individuals are identified) for marketing and strategic development purposes.
  • Will Oxfam share your personal information with anyone else?

    We will only use your information within Oxfam for the purposes for which it was obtained. Oxfam will not, under any circumstances, share or sell your personal data with any third party for their own marketing purposes, and you will not receive marketing from any other companies, charities or other organisations as a result of giving your details to us.

    Oxfam's suppliers

    We may need to share your information with service providers who help us to deliver our projects, fundraising activities and appeals, for instance through handling responses to our emergency appeals. These "data processors" will only act under our instruction and are subject to pre-contract scrutiny and contractual obligations containing strict data protection clauses. We do not allow these organisations to use your data for their own purposes or disclose it to other third parties without our consent and we will take all reasonable care to ensure that they keep your data secure.

    Facebook and other Social Media Sites

    We may also use your email address and phone number to match to your account on Facebook or other social media sites in order to show you Oxfam content while using these services. We only do this where you have opted in to marketing emails or phone calls and we keep your data secure by encrypting it. No data we hold about you is retained by the third party.

    In addition, we may also use your email address and phone number to link to Facebook or other social media sites in order to identify other users of these sites whom we believe would be interested in Oxfam, and we may then show them Oxfam content. No data we hold about you is retained by the third party.

    There are two ways to prevent this use of your data, you can either update your preferences at Oxfam by opting out of the relevant channel of communication or you can do this via the social media site:


    Updating your preferences with Oxfam will not guarantee that you never see Oxfam content on social media, since the social media site may select you based on other criteria and without your data having been provided by Oxfam.

    Where legally required

    We will also comply with legal requests where disclosure is required or permitted by law (for example to government bodies for tax purposes or law enforcement agencies for the prevention and detection of crime, subject to such bodies providing us with a relevant request in writing).

    Your data is only processed outside the EU where Oxfam has verified that appropriate standards and safeguards are in place.

  • How long will Oxfam keep your personal information?

    We will hold your personal information on our systems for as long as is necessary for the relevant activity, for example we will keep a record of donations subject to gift aid for at least seven years to comply with HMRC rules. 

    If you request that we stop sending you marketing materials we will keep a record of your contact details and appropriate information to enable us to comply with your request not to be contacted by us. 

    Legacy income is vital to the running of the charity. We may keep data you provide to us indefinitely, to carry out legacy administration and communicate effectively with the families of people leaving us legacies. This also enables us to identify and analyse the source of legacy income we receive.

    Where you contribute material to us, e.g. user generated content or in response to a particular campaign we will only keep your content for as long as is reasonably required for the purpose(s) for which it was submitted unless otherwise stated at the point of generation.

  • How to control what we send you or request we update your personal information?

    The accuracy of your information is really important to us. We want to ensure that we are able to communicate with you in ways that you are happy with, and to provide you with information that is of interest.

    If you wish to change how we communicate with you, or update the information we hold, then please contact us:

    Additionally you can opt out of email and SMS separately:

    • Email -  You can opt out of marketing emails at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in any marketing email from Oxfam.
    •  SMS - You can also opt out of SMS messages by texting NOINFO to 70066, this is charged at your standard text rate.

    How long will it take for these changes to be effective?

    We endeavour to meet the following service levels where supporters request we do not send them marketing information:

    • Email - 24 hours from receipt of email
    • SMS - 24 hours from receipt of SMS
    • Telephone - 24 hours from receipt of request to opt out
    • Mail - 28 days from receipt of 'do not mail' request. This period is longer than for other channels due to the production times for mailing campaigns, and in most cases we would expect the change to be effective much more quickly.

    Under the Data Protection Act you have the right to request a copy of the personal information we hold about you and to have any inaccuracies corrected (in line with standard guidelines for these requests we charge £10 for information requests and require you to prove your identity with two pieces of approved identification).

    Please address requests and questions about this Privacy Policy to the Data Protection Officer, Oxfam House, John Smith Drive, Cowley, Oxford, OX4 2JY.

  • How Oxfam keeps your data safe

    We ensure that there are appropriate technical controls in place to protect your personal details.  For example our online forms are always encrypted and our network is protected and routinely monitored. 

    We undertake regular reviews of who has access to information that we hold to ensure that your information is only accessible by appropriately trained staff, volunteers and contractors.

    We use external companies to collect or process personal data on our behalf. We do comprehensive checks on these companies before we work with them, and put a contract in place that sets out our expectations and requirements, especially regarding how they manage the personal data they collect on our behalf, or have access to.  We have a robust partner monitoring framework to ensure these contractual obligations are met.

  • Oxfam’s use of cookies

    For information on the types of cookies we use, how we use them and how you can control your cookie preferences, see Oxfam's cookie policy. A brief summary of our approach is provided in section 6 of this privacy notice.

  • How to make complaints about this policy or raise privacy concerns

    If you would like more information, or have any questions about this policy, please contact our supporter relations team by email at or write to us at: Supporter Relations, Oxfam GB, Oxfam House, John Smith Drive, Oxford, OX4 2JY, or call us on 0300 200 1300 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm).

    To make a formal complaint about Oxfam's approach to data protection or raise privacy concerns directly with our data protection team, please contact:

    The Data Protection Officer
    Oxfam GB
    Oxfam House
    OX4 2JY

    You also have the right to make a complaint direct to the UK's data protection authority, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). The ICO can be contacted at:

    Concerns can be also be logged via the ICO website

  • Changes to Oxfam's Privacy Policy

    This Privacy Policy may be updated from time to time so you may wish to check it each time you submit personal information to Oxfam. The date of the most recent revisions will appear on this page. If you do not agree to these changes, please do not continue to use the Oxfam website to submit personal information to Oxfam. If material changes are made to the Privacy Policy we will notify you by placing a prominent notice on the website.

  • Privacy FAQs

    Q. Does Oxfam obtain data from other organisations?

    A. Oxfam receives data from a limited number of Third Parties, including:

    • CACI Ltd - who provide summarised data at postcode level (this is typically 16 houses). This includes data such as age, income, house type, and the ages of children in the household.  We use this information to decide who to target for our marketing campaigns, so as to improve the effectiveness of our fundraising, and to ensure we do not send out marketing information which is unlikely to be of relevance.
    • UK changes - who provide data on house movers and the deceased so that we can keep our records up to date and make sure we only send marketing materials where appropriate. This data is only obtained where it is consistent with current data protection laws and Oxfam's Fundraising Policy, and where you have given permission for it to be shared for this purpose. 
    • From the following suppression services;

    Q. Does Oxfam use profiling as part of its marketing campaigns?  

    A.  How we target our marketing campaigns (profiling)

    Profiling is a common technique used in direct marketing and involves analysing data to improve the targeting of communications. Oxfam uses profiling techniques to help ensure our communications are relevant.  Profiling allows us to target our resources effectively, which donors consistently tell us is a key priority for them.  It enables us to raise more funds, sooner, and more cost-effectively, than we otherwise would. The data may have been provided to Oxfam by our supporters when responding to our marketing campaigns, or when using our website, or social media sites such as Facebook. It may also have been provided by external organisations as described below.

    When building a profile we may analyse geographic, demographic and other information relating to you, as well as your previous responses to our marketing campaigns. We do this in order to determine whether we believe a particular marketing campaign might be of interest. Some of the data is provided by external organisations and may be provided at an aggregate level (e.g. by postcode). Where it relates to you as an individual we check that you have provided your express consent to the relevant third party for this use of your data. This helps to maximise the effectiveness of our campaigns and to minimise the wastage that would result from sending marketing information where it is not of interest. 

Other relevant policies you might want to view can be found here:

Oxfam's fundraising policy
Oxfam's vulnerable people policy
Oxfam's complaints policy
Oxfam's cookies policy

Updated: 3 January 2018