Privacy Policy

About this Policy

  1. At Humanists UK we are committed to putting humanism into practice. Through our ceremonies, pastoral support, education services, campaigning work, and the support we provide through Faith to Faithless,  we advance free thinking and freedom of choice so everyone can live in a fair and equal society.
  2. When doing this, we process personal data about people who receive advice, guidance, or support services from us – or provide us with support through campaigns, donations, booking on training courses, or volunteering. We are committed to protecting your privacy and take this responsibility very seriously. We therefore take care to safeguard it. This notice outlines what data we collect, how we may use it, how we protect your data and your rights, and how you can exercise those rights.
  3. References to ‘we’ or ‘us’ are to Humanists UK (including Humanist Ceremonies, Northern Ireland Humanists, Wales Humanists, Channel Island Humanists, Faith to Faithless, LGBT Humanists, Humanist Students, Young Humanists, Defence Humanists, the London Humanist Choir, and any local branches, all of which are part of Humanists UK), registered charity no: 285987 (England & Wales); 39 Moreland Street, EC1V 8BB
  4. We regularly check this notice to ensure we provide you with the most up-to-date information regarding our data processing activities. We strongly advise you to read this page from time to time to ensure you are happy with any changes that might be made.
  5. This privacy policy was prepared to be as comprehensive as possible, but it does not include an exhaustive list of every aspect of our collection and use of personal information. We are happy to provide any further information or explanation about our practices on request.
  6. If you have any questions about this policy, please contact us using the details in the ‘Contact us’ section below.
  7. This privacy policy was last updated on 18 September 2023.

Why we collect your data

  1. We collect personal data for many reasons, including to provide you with services, communicate with you, and send you information you have requested, and administer campaigns, membership, and donations. Depending on how you interact with us, we may process data for the following reasons:
    1. to provide you with advice, support, or information about Humanists UK, humanism, or Humanists UK-related activities that you have requested.
    2. To provide you with direct support, advice, signposting, and referrals to other support organisations and agencies
    3. to administer your membership
    4. to communicate with you about our work, fundraising, and campaigning activities
    5. to process job applications or volunteer placements
    6. to process applications to join, and membership of, the Humanist Ceremonies network
    7. to process personal details required for the administration of training courses you have booked or expressed an interest in
    8. to provide you with information about and to administer events, including mass participation events where we may be present (such as festivals, public gatherings) 
    9. to process a purchase of items via our shop
    10. to record and contact you regarding payments you make to us
    11. to process donations and administer Gift Aid information for any donation you make to us
    12. to administer and send you information about our legacy programme
    13. for our own internal administrative purposes, and to keep a record of your relationship with us
    14. to manage your communication preferences
    15. to conduct surveys, research and gather feedback
    16. to obtain information to improve our services and supporter experiences
    17. to carry out research to find out more information about our supporters’ and prospective supporters’ backgrounds and interests
    18. to comply with applicable laws and regulations, and lawful requests from statutory agencies.

Information we collect

  1. We collect the following personal information:
    1. your name
    2. contact details – including your postal address, telephone number(s), and email address(es)
    3. date of birth
    4. details of relevant personal circumstances when providing you with advice and support
    5. details of family members if you choose a family membership.
    6. your bank details
    7. records of your correspondence and engagement with us
    8. details of your donations to us and Gift Aid details
    9. information you may enter via our websites 
    10. photographs, video or audio recordings
    11. occupation
    12. biographical information
    13. IP addresses (for analytics purposes, not stored with your profile or membership record)
    14. other information you share with us
  2. This information may be collected via:
    1. any paper forms you complete
    2. telephone conversations or face-to-face interactions
    3. digital forms completed via our websites, or online surveys
    4. third-party companies and websites such as JustGiving
    5. publicly available sources
    6. communication via social media
  3. We sometimes also collect sensitive, personal data about individuals. This includes information about health, religion or belief, sexual orientation, ethnicity, political and philosophical beliefs, and criminal records. We will normally only record this data where we have your explicit consent, unless we are permitted to do so in other circumstances under data protection law. For example, we may make a record that a person is in a vulnerable circumstance to comply with requirements under charity law and fundraising best practice, to ensure that we do not send fundraising communications to them.

Using your personal data

Humanists UK Services and Information provision

  1. In the case of advice provided via Faith to Faithless we will keep all your information – including notes, letters and information given to us about you – in a confidential record that is specific to you. We use a customer relationship management system (CRM) to support our advice, guidance and support. This means that we can keep the information you provide us, so we are able to see the history and relevant details of your case(s). This ensures that we provide appropriate and accurate advice or support. We take information security very seriously. No one is allowed access to our Faith to Faithless files unless they need this to provide the service to you, or one of the other purposes discussed in this notice.
  2. If you call our Faith to Faithless helpline, your call may be recorded. This is used for training purposes, quality assurance, complaint investigations, and to make further improvements to the service we provide to you. You are informed of the recording before any data collection occurs.
  3. Information you provide in order to get advice, guidance, or support in other areas (including that provided by our Public Affairs & Policy team in casework on matters such as asylum or schools or discrimination) will be treated as confidential unless you give us permission to share it. It is stored in secure files and no one is allowed access to our system or files unless they need this to provide the advice, guidance, or support to you, or one of the other purposes discussed in this notice.
  4. To ensure that our services meet a high standard of quality, files are sometimes checked by our quality assurance staff. Files may also be checked by external auditors if the work we do is funded by another organisation, such as a local authority. All auditors are bound by confidentiality policies.
  5. We may use your data for statistical reports. These statistics will not include any information that could be used to identify any individual.

Fundraising/campaigning/direct marketing

  1. We want to keep you up to date with our fundraising, marketing, and campaign activity.
  2. We use a range of marketing activities and channels to contact our supporters – including our website, email, face-to-face fundraising, direct mail, social media, and telephone.
  3. We will always obtain consent to contact you by email and text message for marketing purposes. We will also obtain consent from all new members to make marketing calls.
  4. We will sometimes send marketing by post, on the basis of it being within our legitimate interests to do so, unless you opt out. See section 10 (‘Our legal basis for processing data’) for more information about our use of legitimate interests. We will also contact existing supporters by phone on this basis (unless they are registered with the Telephone Preference Service or have opted out of receiving marketing communications from us).
  5. We send the following marketing materials:
    1. updates about  our work – including email and paper newsletters and other publications informing you about our work
    2. information about our campaigning activities, including how you can support such campaigns (for example by lobbying influential figures or signing a petition), and updates about the progress of our campaigns
    3. fundraising appeals, including requests for donations, information about how you can leave us a gift in your will, how you can raise money on our behalf, attend or take part in a fundraising event, communications relating to auctions and raffles, and updates on the impact that your fundraising activities have had on our work
    4. details of events, including details of our Convention and Lecture Series plus events held in aid of Humanists UK. Please note that if you sign up to a Humanists UK event we will also send you administrative communications about how you can take part. We will also send you a reminder about similar events in future years, in case you want to participate again
    5. information about products offered by our online shop 
    6. information about how you can help support Humanists UK by giving your time as a volunteer or using your influence to progress our aims, along with updates on the impact of your work
    7. details of the professional services that Humanists UK offers, such as training and publications
  6. We will never share or sell your personal data to a third-party organisation for its marketing, fundraising, or campaigning purposes.
  7. You can withdraw your consent and unsubscribe from or update your marketing preferences at any point using the details in the ‘Contact us’ section below.
  8. Any ‘mass’ electronic communications, such as emails, will have a link to unsubscribe from future electronic communications, so you can manage your own communication preferences.
  9. If you make any changes to your consent, we will update your record as soon as we possibly can. It may take up to 30 days for our systems to update and stop any postal communications from being sent to you. Email communications will be stopped within a week and usually immediately. If you tell us you do not wish to receive marketing, fundraising or campaign communications, you may still receive transactional and service-based communications confirming and servicing other relationships you have with us (as described below). You can also opt out of receiving marketing communications from us by signing up to the Fundraising Preference Service.
  10. Where possible, we cleanse and remove out-of-date data. This helps us to improve the delivery rate of our mailings and minimise wasted expenditure.

Administrative communications to members and supporters

  1. In addition to the fundraising and marketing communications that you receive from Humanists UK, we will also communicate with you by post, telephone, and email in relation to administrative and transactional matters. For example, we may call you after you have set up a Direct Debit to confirm your details, and will contact you upon cancellation to check this was your intention. There may be other occasions where we need to contact you about your contribution – for example, if there is a problem with a payment or in relation to your Gift Aid declaration.
  2. As mentioned above, we may still need to communicate with you for administrative purposes even where you have opted out of marketing communications from us. For example, members will be contacted about membership renewal and governance aspects of membership such as the AGM.

Member and Supporter research and analysis

  1. We may use profiling and database segmentation to analyse your personal information, and create a profile of your interests, preferences, and ability to donate. This allows us to ensure communications are relevant and timely, to provide an improved experience for our supporters. It also helps us understand the background of our members and supporters so that we can make appropriate requests to those who may be willing and able to donate more than they already do, or leave a gift in their will. This enables us to raise funds quicker and in the most cost-effective way.
  2. Our Communications and Development team uses information that is already in the public domain (information that has been published in print or online) to identify high net worth individuals who may be interested in supporting our work with a major gift. These publicly available sources of information include Companies House, the Charity Commission’s Register of Charities, Who’s Who, LinkedIn, company annual reports, and articles in reputable newspapers and magazines. We do not use publicly available sources which we consider would be intrusive for this purpose, such as online planning applications. We also carry out research to identify existing supporters who may be able to join our major donor programme. This is based both on publicly available information, and information our supporters have given us voluntarily (e.g. where a person lives, who they bank with, what their occupation is, and their age).
  3. Under data protection legislation, you have the right to object to your data being processed in this way. If you wish to opt out of potentially being identified as a high net worth individual, please inform us by emailing:
  4. We are legally required to carry out checks on individuals who give us large donations, to comply with our duties in respect of anti-money laundering legislation and the prevention of fraud.

Humanists UK Shop and Online Purchases

  1. When you purchase an item from our website (including event tickets and products from the shop) we may collect certain information from you – including your name, address, phone number, email address, Gift Aid status, marketing preferences, and payment details – so that we can process your purchase or contact you if we have any queries regarding your purchase.
  2. Where you have purchased something from us we may contact you again about similar products or services. We will always give you the opportunity to opt out of receiving further communications of this nature.
  3. Depending upon the communication preferences you select when registering your details, we may then also contact you for fundraising and marketing purposes, about the activities listed in the fundraising and marketing communications section of this policy.

Social media/digital

  1. When someone visits we collect standard logging information and details of visitor behaviour – such as which pages are visited, and how long is spent on each one. We do this to find out things such as the number of visitors to the various parts of the site, and how people are using our site. These website statistics and data are collected by Google Analytics and Hotjar. Google’s system also provides us with non-personally-identifiable ‘Interest’ and ‘Demographics’ data, which is collected using the widely-used Google Advertising Network DoubleClick cookie (see here for more information on this cookie, including how to opt-out). Humanists UK collects this data so that we can find out the kinds of people visiting our site, and we use this data to help us deliver our messages as effectively as possible. See below for more information about cookies, and here for a way to opt out of Google Analytics on all websites you visit.
  2. Our website also uses web beacons or pixels through third-party service providers that allow us to track activity on our website – as well as generating advertisements that appear on Meta (henceforth referred to as ‘Facebook’ or ‘Instagram’), Reddit, X (henceforth referred to as ‘Twitter’), for you and other potential users.
  3. We also track whether you respond to an advert on these services, or whether you engage with us having seen an advert. This is known as ‘conversion tracking’, and uses ‘cookies’ on your machine. We do not provide these third-parties with identifiable information. However, if you have an account on these services it will be possible for them to match up your account to the visit to our site, and as such they may use this to inform future advertising on those services.
  4. If you are logged in to your Reddit/Twitter/Facebook/Instagram account and visit a page on our site, one way or another this will be tracked and these sites will know about it and may use this data to inform their advertising algorithms. We will update this page if we add more organisations. You can opt-out of this kind of tracking. On Twitter you can do this here. You can manage your Facebook settings here. You can manage your Instagram settings here. You can manage your Reddit settings here. Your web browser allows control of most cookies through the browser settings. 
  5. Depending on your settings or the privacy policies for social media messaging services like Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you may receive targeted advertisements through our use of social media audience tools. For example, Facebook’s ‘Custom’ and ‘Lookalike’ Audiences’ programmes enable us to display adverts to our existing supporters when they visit Facebook, or other people who have similar interests or characteristics to our supporters. We may provide your data (including your email address) to Facebook, so it can determine whether you are a registered account holder with them, or so that Facebook create a ‘lookalike’ audience or to exclude you from receiving ads. Our adverts may then appear when you access Facebook. We only work with social media networks that provide a facility for secure and encrypted upload of data, and who immediately delete any records not matching with their own user base. For more information, or to manage your social media ad preferences, please see Facebook’s ‘About Custom Audiences’ guide and its Data Policy.
  6. We use ‘cookies’ to collect data from your browser when you visit our website. A cookie is a small text file that is stored on your computer via your web browser. This file allows us to temporarily store information about your website usage. For example, a cookie is created when you login, so that as you continue to navigate the website we can understand who you are and show you the appropriate content. Cookies are also created whenever you click ‘Remember me’ on a website. Next time you visit that website, it checks to see if there is a cookie in place – if there is, you don’t have to login next time. Cookies can also be used by third-parties, and sites such as Facebook can use them to see which websites you have visited. Our site has various cookies in place – see the rest of this policy for details of the organisations we work with, and how we ensure that your data is secure. To find out more about cookies, including how to see what cookies have been set and how to manage and delete them, visit
  7. If you receive an email and you open it, or don’t open it, or click a link in it, we collect this information to ensure that the information we send to people is received and relevant.

Applying for a job or volunteer position at Humanists UK, or membership of one of our professional networks such as Humanist Ceremonies™

  1. When you apply for a job or volunteer position with us, or to join the Humanist Ceremonies™ network, your personal data will be collated to monitor the progression of your application, and the effectiveness of the recruitment process through the statistics collected. Where we need to share your data – such as for gathering references or obtaining a Disclosure and Barring Services check you will be informed beforehand. These checks are only done after a position has been offered to the successful candidate. On the application form, you are asked to complete the referee details, and by providing them are giving Humanists UK permission to contact the referee. If you provide referee details, once offered a role, we will automatically send out reference requests. If you specifically request it, we will contact you for permission first.
  2. Personal data about unsuccessful applicants are held for 6 months after the recruitment exercise is complete for that position. You, as an applicant, can ask us to remove your data before this time if you do not want us to hold it. If we feel there is another suitable position available, we may share anonymised application details with the relevant senior manager before deciding whether to contact the applicant.
  3. Once you have taken up your role with Humanists UK, we will compile a file relating to your employment, volunteer position, or membership of the Humanist Ceremonies™ network. The information contained in this will be kept secure and will only be used for purposes directly relevant to that role. Once your employment, volunteer, or celebrant relationship with us has ended, we will retain the file in accordance with the requirements of our retention schedule and then delete it from our files.

Professional contacts

  1. We may collect data about professional contacts and partners with whom we work, or to whom we provide professional services – such as training, publications, or volunteer placement. Personal data collected in this way will be processed in accordance with data protection legislation and this policy.
  2. We may send our professional partners information and updates about our work (primarily by email). Such contacts can opt out of receiving this information at any time.
  3. We maintain a record of information related to MPs and other holders of public office, to enable us to undertake our campaigning activity in furtherance of our charitable aims. This will include keeping a record of contact details such as address, telephone number, and email address as well as publicly available voting records and committee and group memberships.

Our legal basis for processing personal data

  1. We need a lawful basis to collect and use your personal data under data protection law. The law allows for six ways to process personal data (and additional ways for sensitive personal data). Four of these are relevant to the types of processing that we carry out. This includes information that is processed on the basis of:
    1. a person’s consent (for example, to send you direct marketing by email)
    2. a contractual relationship (for example, to provide you with goods or services that you have purchased from us or your membership)
    3. processing that is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation (for example to process a Gift Aid declaration, and carrying out due diligence on large donations)
    4. Humanists UK’s legitimate interests (please see below for more information)
  2. Personal data may be legally collected and used if it is necessary for a legitimate interest of the organisation using the data, if its use is fair and does not adversely impact the rights of the individual concerned.
  3. When we use your personal information, we will always consider if it is fair and balanced to do so and if it is within your reasonable expectations. We will balance your rights and our legitimate interests to ensure that we use your personal information in ways that are not unduly intrusive or unfair. Our legitimate interests include:
    1. Charity Governance: including delivery of our charitable purposes, statutory and financial reporting, and other regulatory compliance purposes
    2. Administration and operational management: including responding to solicited enquires, providing information and services, research, events management, the administration of volunteers and employment, and recruitment requirements
    3. Fundraising and Campaigning: including administering campaigns and donations, sending direct marketing by post (and in some cases making marketing calls), sending thank you letters, analysis, targeting and segmentation to develop communication strategies, and maintaining communication suppressions
  4. If you would like more information on our uses of legitimate interests, or to change our use of your personal data in this manner, please get in touch with us using the details in the ‘Contact us’ section below.

Disclosure of your personal data

  1. We will not share any of your personal data with any third party – except where:
    1. the transfer is to a secure data processor, which carries out data processing operations on our behalf (please see sections 58-63 for more information)
    2. we are required to do so by law, for example to law enforcement or regulatory bodies where this is required or allowed under the relevant legislation
    3. it is necessary to protect the vital interests of an individual, including where is it necessary to safeguard you or another individual
    4. we have obtained your consent, for example:
      1. with Government or Parliament as part of a petition,
      2. with a school or other institution to coordinate a volunteering activity,
      3. with the public seeking a celebrant.
  1. We will never share or sell your personal data to a third-party organisation for marketing, fundraising, or campaigning purposes.
  2. Humanists UK may also use personal information itself to contact people for marketing or administrative purposes. From time to time, we agree with other like-minded organisations to write to some of each other’s supporters, for the mutual benefit of both; in this case marketing materials are exchanged but not your data.

Security of your personal data

  1. We use appropriate technical and organisational measures and precautions to protect your personal data and to prevent the loss, misuse or alteration of your personal data.
  2. Unfortunately, the transmission of information via the internet cannot be guaranteed to be completely secure. Although we will do our best to protect your personal data, we cannot guarantee the security of your data transmitted to our website. Once we have received your information, we will use strict procedures and security features to try to prevent unauthorised access.
  3. We encourage you to review the privacy statements of websites you choose to link to from the Humanists UK website, so that you can understand how those sites collect, use and share your information. We are not responsible for the privacy statements, security, or other content on sites outside of our control.

Use of data processors

  1. We may use a third-party supplier to manage mailings for fundraising appeals, campaigns, conduct research surveys, server analysis, support needs, or storage of your personal information on our behalf. For example, we use MailChimp to send some of our emails, and as such we transfer lists of email addresses to their system. We also use Atlassian to manage support requests and similar, and Datadog for log analysis and server profiling. You can find out more about the suppliers that we use by getting in touch with us using the details in the ‘Contact us’ section below.
  2. We also use a range of contractors to provide training, mentoring and network support for our Celebrants, Pastoral Support and School Speaker programmes. They are only permitted to use the data in accordance with relevant data protection legislation, under strict instructions from us, and in accordance with a data processing agreement entered into between us and the supplier.
  3. We actively screen and monitor these companies and contractors to maximise the protection of your privacy and security. They are only permitted to use the data in accordance with relevant data protection legislation, under strict instructions from us, and in accordance with a data processing agreement entered into between us and them.

Transfers of data outside of the European Economic Area

  1. We endeavour to keep all personal data hosted within the EEA. If it is ever desirable to transfer your data outside of the EEA, as is the case with MailChimp, we look at this on a case-by-case basis to ensure that robust data-sharing agreements are in place. For example, MailChimp hosts its data in the US and is a member of the Privacy Shield scheme. This scheme has been declared by the EU to provide adequate protection for personal data, and as such we are happy to use it.
  2. We use Google products, which are multi-tenant cloud services, for our internal office use as well as for hosting of documents and other files. This means that internal documents and information generated by us are stored in cloud services hosted by Google outside of the EEA. Google is a member of the Privacy Shield scheme and we have extensive contracts in place with them to safeguard your data. We have a business-level account with Google, and personal data is never scanned for advertising purposes.
  3. In cases where we transfer your data outside the EEA, we will take reasonable steps to ensure that the recipient implements appropriate measures to protect your information, for example, by entering into a contract that includes prescribed clauses about the use of data and (if the company is based in the United States, checking that it is accredited under the EU-US Privacy Shield).

Retention of your data

  1. The length of time that your data will be kept may depend on the reasons for which we are processing the data and on the law or regulations that the information falls under, such as financial regulations, Limitations Act, Health and Safety regulation etc., or any contractual obligation we might have – such as with government contracts or if we have a business case, such as with research data. For business case data, we will anonymise the data so no individual is identifiable.
  2. Subject to the above, we will typically store data relating to donors and people who have taken campaign actions for seven years after their last donation or interaction, and people to whom we provide services to for seven years after completion of those services. Personal data about unsuccessful job applications are held for 12 months after the recruitment exercise is complete for that position.
  3. Once the retention period has expired, the information will be confidentially disposed of in the case of HR or Finance records, or sent to the Humanists UK archive at the Bishopsgate Institute. Bishopsgate securely holds such data for use in future historical research.
  4. If you request to receive no further contact from us, we will keep some basic information about you on our suppression list to avoid sending you unwanted materials in the future.

Your rights

  1. You have many rights under data protection legislation. These include:

Right of Access

  1. You have the right know what information we hold about you and to ask, in writing, to see your records.
  2. We will supply any information you ask for that we hold about you as soon as possible, but this may take up to 30 days. We will not charge you for this other than in exceptional circumstances. You will be asked for proof of identity, as the person dealing with your request may not be the staff member you have met before. We need to be sure we are only releasing your personal data to you.
  3. This is called a data subject access request, and can be made by:
    1. emailing
    2. writing to the Director of Operations, Humanists UK, 39 Moreland Street, London, EC1V 8BB

Right to be informed

  1. You have the right to be informed how your personal data will be used. This policy, as well as any additional information or notice that is provided to you either at the time you provided your details, or otherwise, is intended to provide you with this information.

Right to withdraw consent

  1. Where we process your data based on your consent (for example, to send you marketing texts or emails), you can withdraw that consent at any time. To do this, or to discuss this right further with us, please contact us using the details in the ‘Contact us’ section below.

Right to object

  1. You also have a right to object to us processing data where we are relying on it being within our legitimate interests to do so (for example, to send you direct marketing by post). To do this, or to discuss this right further with us, please contact us using the details in the ‘Contact us’ section below.

Right to restrict processing

  1. In certain situations, you have the right to ask for processing of your personal data to be restricted because there is some disagreement about its accuracy or legitimate usage.

Right of erasure

  1. In some cases, you have the right to be forgotten (i.e. to have your personal data deleted from our database). Where you have requested that we do not send you marketing materials, we will need to keep some limited information to ensure that you are not contacted in the future.

Right of rectification

  1. If you believe our records are inaccurate, you have the right to ask for those records concerning you to be updated. To update your records, please get in touch with us using the details in the ‘Contact us’ section below.

Right to data portability

  1. Where we are processing your personal data because you have given us your consent to do so, in some circumstances you have the right to request that the data is transferred to an equivalent organisation.


  1. If you have any complaints about the way in which we have used your data, please get in touch with us using the details in the ‘Contact us’ section below. We would be happy to help and discuss your concerns.
  2. In addition, you are also entitled to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Contact Us

  1. If you have any questions about this policy, would like more information, or want to exercise any of the rights set out in section 68 above, you can get in touch with us in the following ways:
    3. 020 7324 3060 
    4. Humanists UK, 39 Moreland Street, London, EC1V 8BB