Privacy policy

At WaterAid we take your privacy very seriously and are committed to protecting your personal information. Please read this policy, along with our website terms and conditions carefully to understand how we collect, use and store your personal information.

Who we are

WaterAid, a UK charity, aims to transform lives by improving access to clear water, decent toilets and good hygiene available in the world’s poorest communities.

WaterAid (registered company number 1787329 and registered charity numbers 288701 (England and Wales) and SC039479 (Scotland)) also operates a wholly owned trading subsidiary, WaterAid Trading Limited (registered company number 2362892).

WaterAid is the ‘controller’ of your personal information and is responsible for it. This privacy policy explains how we, WaterAid, and WaterAid Trading may collect and use the information you give us.

WaterAid International

WaterAid operates globally, and is established in a number of countries across the world. It may be the case that other WaterAid countries may be best placed to manage your relationship and provide you with any necessary support. More information about the WaterAid federation and each Member can be found on our website

At the date of publication of this privacy policy, this includes:

  • WaterAid America
  • WaterAid Australia
  • WaterAid Canada
  • WaterAid Japan
  • WaterAid Sweden
  • WaterAid India

We may share your personal information with the “WaterAid Group”, only in accordance with data privacy law, and where we have put in place appropriate safeguards. We only transfer personal information using safe and secure methods to limit the risk it is compromised.

Contact details

Our Data Protection Officer is Robin Butterworth.

If you have any questions regarding our Privacy Policy, please write to:

The Data Protection Officer
6th floor, 20 Canada Square
London E14 5NN

Email: [email protected]

Or call our Supporter Care team: 0207 793 4594

This policy includes:

  • How we collect personal information
  • What categories of personal information we collect
  • How we will use your personal information
  • Communicating with you
  • Supporter analysis
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Children’s data
  • Our use of cookies
  • How we keep your personal information safe and who has access to it
  • Who we share your personal data with
  • How we keep your information up-to-date
  • How long we keep your information for
  • Our legal basis for processing your information
  • Your rights
  • Complaints
  • Changes to this Privacy Policy

How we collect personal information

We collect personal information in the following ways:

When you provide it directly

For example, when you:

  • enquire about our activities or services
  • visit our website
  • make a donation
  • sign up to receive updates from us
  • create or update a profile
  • post content to our website or via our social media (including Facebook)
  • meet with us
  • take part in one of our events, campaign or fundraise for us
  • communicate with us (either online, by email, phone, SMS or post)

When you provide it indirectly

For example, when it is shared with us by third parties such as professional fundraisers, partners, or subcontractors acting on our behalf, or through fundraising sites such as JustGiving or Virgin Money. These organisations will have their own privacy policies, and/or statements so please do ensure you check when providing your personal information to them.

When you have given other organisations permission to share it

You may have provided your details to another organisation that works with WaterAid. For example, in order to sign up to a third party event, or if you purchased a product via Shopify on Shop for Life. When working with other organisations, we work to ensure it’s completely clear to you that your information will be shared with WaterAid. The information we get from these third parties depends on your settings and the permissions and choices you have provided, so you should regularly check what you have agreed that these third party organisations may share with us or with others.

Via social media

Depending on your settings and the relevant policies and terms of service, when using social media and messaging services like Facebook and Twitter, you might give us permission to access information about you from those accounts or services.

When we collect information when you are using our website

Upon visiting our website, information about your visit is recorded and stored. See the section below on the use of cookies for more details.

Via Fempowered

Fempowered is a registered trademark licensed to WaterAid Trading Limited selling sustainable period products and promoting female empowerment. Fempowered will collect your personal information in order to take payment for ordered products and ship these to you. If you have requested to hear more about the work of Fempowered and its products then Fempowered will use your contact details to send you these updates. Fempowered will only send communications relating to Fempowered services and products and will not send you any communications regarding the work and fundraising appeals of WaterAid. Fempowered will only process your personal data for the services you have requested from Fempowered and in accordance with this Privacy Policy.

When your information is available from public sources

We may collect personal information about you from the public domain, such as from open social networks (e.g. LinkedIn and Twitter), company websites, political and property registers, news archives, the Charity Commission, Companies House and Bloomberg

Guessing e-mail addresses

Where we have legitimate interest and feel that an organisation would want to hear from us about supporting WaterAid, we may source information from third parties that will help us to contact individuals in relevant roles acting on behalf of those organisations.

To administer legacies

In the course of administering legacies gifted to WaterAid we may obtain the personal information of, for example, other beneficiaries to the will. We also work with third party probate specialists who provide us with this information, and sometimes obtain it from other charities who are named in the will.

What categories of personal information we collect

The types of personal information we collect depends on how we intend to use it.

We collect, store and use the following kinds of personal information:

  • Identity data, including your name, username, date of birth (for example, if you make a donation, volunteer, or sign up for an event).
  • Contact data, including your email address, postal address, and phone number (for example, if you sign up to receive updates from us).
  • Financial data, including bank or payment card details (for example, if you make a donation).
  • Transaction data, including details of your giving.
  • Technical data such as your IP address, when you browse our website.
  • Marketing data such as your preferences for receiving communications from us.
  • Any other information you provide us as above (see “How we collect personal information”).
  • For people we identify as having the potential to support WaterAid in a greater capacity, we may collect job title(s), affiliated organisation(s), previous charity affiliations, education, career history, relevant interests and information that helps us identify any family ties.

Where it is appropriate, we may ask for your reason for giving and your specific interests relating to WaterAid’s work. This is because we want to ensure our communications with you are relevant and appropriate.

To achieve this, we carry out targeted fundraising activity to ensure we provide the best experience for our supporters and the most efficient and effective use of our charitable resources. In doing so, we may supplement information you provide us with information we collect from third party sources. This is to help us better understand your background and ensure any requests for additional support are tailored to you and how you might support us. This also helps us reduce irrelevant or inappropriate communications to our supporters, so that we can operate as cost effectively as possible. This information may include:

  • Your parliamentary constituency
  • An estimate of your age based on publically available sources
  • An estimate of the size and composition of your household
  • Information about your interests including shopping preferences, TV subscriptions and hobbies

Sensitive personal information

Data protection law identifies certain categories of personal information as sensitive and therefore requiring more protection. For example, information about health or ethnicity. Where appropriate we may also collect/use this information, but normally only where we have your explicit consent or data protection law allows it, such as to protect the life of an individual participating in a fundraising event. We only aim to collect this type of information when we feel it is necessary in relation to your relationship with us.

Network mapping

We are grateful for the opportunity to work with individuals, trusts, foundations and companies that can support WaterAid’s work through partnerships, introductions to networks and higher-level contributions (usually around £10,000 or more). We use profiling to identify other individuals who may also be able to give at the level of our current high-level supporters and who may be willing to develop mutually beneficial relationships.

How we will use your personal information

We will use your personal information in a number of ways depending on the purposes for which it has been collected, including for the following purposes:

  • To provide you with the services or any information you have requested
  • To update you about any changes to our services
  • To communicate with you as set out in this policy below (including administrative communications as well as communications about our work, services, fundraising and events)
  • To administer payments such as donations, including Gift Aid processing
  • To display your profile or content on the website (if you have agreed to do so)
  • To administer our website and for internal operations, including troubleshooting, data analysis, testing, research, statistical and survey purposes.
  • To maintain our organisational records and ensure we have your most up-to-date details, including marketing preferences
  • To help us improve our services, campaigns or information-offering, and improve your interactions with our website (including via cookies)
  • To enable you to participate in interactive features on our website
  • To enable you to participate in voluntary surveys or research
  • To analyse your website behaviour
  • To tailor advertising that is presented to you on the internet according to your interests, preferences and other characteristics, and to measure or understand the effectiveness of advertising we serve to you and others, and to deliver relevant advertising to you
  • To administer your volunteering or employment application
  • To assist in your voluntary or fundraising work, or to run our events
  • To deal with enquiries and/or complaints made by or about you
  • To audit and/or administer our accounts
  • To help us work with third parties to ensure that we send you targeted communications (see “What categories of personal information do we collect?” above)
  • To contact you where you have been identified as a contact person for an organisation, such as a school
  • To identify relevant networks and other suitable partners for WaterAid.

We always want you to get the most out of our website, so if you do experience any issues with our online forms we may follow up with you to find out how our team can best support you with any problems experienced.

Communicating with you

Administrative communications

We will communicate with you using the contact details you have provided for essential administrative purposes, such as to administer a donation or provide you with information regarding a fundraising event you have asked to take part in.

Marketing communications

We love to keep our supporters up to date with our fundraising, marketing and campaign activity.

If you have given us your consent to do so, we will contact you for marketing purposes by email, SMS message and telephone calls. We may also send you communications by post, on the basis it is in our legitimate interests to do so, unless you ask us not to.

We currently send the following marketing materials:

(a) Updates about our work – including newsletters, magazines and other publications.

(b) Campaigns – information about our campaigning activities and their progress.

(c) Appeals and fundraising activities – including requests for donations, information about how you can leave us a gift in your will, and how you can take part in fundraising events or fundraise on our behalf, as well as the impact all of this has on our work.

(d) Events – including details of our challenge events and other sponsored activities. If you sign up to take part in an event we will also send you administrative communications about how you can take part.

(e) Shop products – including information about products offered by our online shop.

(f) Volunteering – information about how you can get involved with volunteering for WaterAid.

You are in control of how we use your personal information for marketing and fundraising purposes, and can update your preferences at any time. If you would like to contact us about your marketing preferences, please write to WaterAid, 6th floor, 20 Canada Square, London E14 5NN, email [email protected] or call us on 0207 793 4594 – our Supporter Care Team will be happy to answer any queries you may have. If you do ask us to stop sending marketing communications, please note that we will continue to send you administrative communications as needed.

If you ask us to 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.

Supporter Analysis

We may analyse your personal information to create a profile about you, your interests and preferences. In doing this, we may combine information that you have given us with other information about you when it is available (for example, from public records or social media). This may include any of the information listed above (for example, an estimate of your age). This provides background information about our supporters and helps us to tailor appropriate communications to them as well as helping us to improve the quality of our supporters’ experience with us. We may use third party suppliers to undertake these activities on our behalf and share your data with them only to the extent required (usually full name and post code). Please rest assured that our suppliers will not share this information with any other organisation and it will only be used for the purposes set out above. Additionally, we may use and disclose information in aggregate (so that no individuals are identified) for marketing and strategic development purposes.

You can opt out of your data being used in this way by calling our Supporter Care Team on 0207 793 4594 or by emailing [email protected]

Social Media Marketing

We ask for your consent to display marketing content to you on social media websites. If you provide us with this consent then we may share your personal data to social media platforms so that they can determine whether you are a registered account holder with them (please see list of these platforms below). Our adverts may then appear when you access these sites (e.g. you may see our adverts on Facebook, or Gmail).

Your data is sent to social media platforms in an encrypted format that is deleted by the social media platform if it does not match with an account on their systems. The data we send could include your name, email address, telephone number, and postal address to social media platforms.

Please find a list of Social Media platforms we currently use for this activity:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Gmail

Please note, we may update this list as new online platforms emerge without further notification provided we assess any new online platform as having similar functioning to those already listed here, as well as having the required privacy standards and protocols in place to handle this data securely.

Please also note that there are other ways you may see WaterAid advertisements on social media or other websites. This may happen if you consent to receive Cookies in accordance with our Cookies Policy, or it may happen randomly as WaterAid will buy general website advertising space to help promote our message.

We may also use your data to create ‘lookalike’ audiences on Social Media. This means that a platform like Facebook will match interests, behaviour and demographics of WaterAid supporters to identify other users who closely match their interests. Facebook would then service adverts to these people promoting WaterAid’s work. We may also participate in Facebook’s audience preference services. This remembers supporters who have responded in the past to WaterAid fundraising and marketing requests. If you wish to prevent this use of your data then please consult the “your rights” section of this policy or adjust your settings via the social media site:

Using online platforms in this way is the most efficient way for us to reach more people who are likely to take an interest in our work, meaning we use our funds most effectively.

Children’s data

While we do not actively collect information from children (under-18s), we appreciate that our supporters are of all ages. Where appropriate, we will always ask for consent from a parent or guardian to collect information about children. All WaterAid events will have clear rules on whether or not children can take part and the collection of data will be managed in accordance with each individual event, with appropriate safeguards in place.

Our use of cookies

'Cookies' are small pieces of information stored on your computer or mobile device when you visit our website, to collect information and identify you. Read our cookies policy.

How we keep your data safe and who has access to it

We place great importance on the security of your personal information and always take appropriate precautions to protect it.

We ensure that there are security measures in place to protect your personal data. For example, we use encryption technology on our websites and carry out regular security reviews on our network.

We only allow authorised personnel to have access to your information i.e. WaterAid staff, volunteers or contractors and ensure that they are appropriately trained.

Payment details (such as credit or debit cards) we receive through our website are passed securely to our payment processing providers who meet the required Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards. We do not store your card details, when donations are made in this way.

Despite all of our precautions no data transmission over the internet can be guaranteed to be 100% secure.

Who we share your personal data with

Sometimes, we use external organisations to process personal data on our behalf – for example suppliers and subcontractors, payment providers, mailing houses, legacy administrators and external fundraising entities and platforms. Before working with these companies we perform rigorous checks to ensure they provide appropriate safeguards in respect of your personal data and treat it in accordance with the law. We always ensure we have a contract in place with these third party suppliers, and those contracts include robust data protection requirements.

Financial or technical considerations may occasionally lead us to use the services of a supplier based outside the European Economic Area (EEA), which in turn might lead to your personal information being transferred, processed and stored outside of the EEA. Where necessary, we take steps to provide suitable safeguards to protect your personal information, so that these transfers are compliant with data protection laws. If you would like to receive further information about this, please contact our Data Protection Officer

We may share your personal information with our trading subsidiary, or with other organisations in the WaterAid Group (see “Who we are” above) so they can contact you where this is legitimate reason and/or is appropriate.

We might need to share your personal information with others if we are under a duty to do so or to comply with a legal obligation, or in order to protect the rights, property or safety of WaterAid, our employees, volunteers, supporters or others. This includes for example sharing details with the police or for regulatory reasons.

How we keep your information up-to-date

Where possible, we try to keep your records up to date; for example, using the Post Office’s National Change of Address database. However, we really appreciate it if you let us know if your contact details change.

How long we keep your information for

For some information we hold, there are legal requirements which determine how long we must keep it. For example, HMRC require us to retain details of Gift Aid for at least six years after the year in which the last donation was made.

Generally, we hold your personal information on our systems for as long as is necessary for the relevant activity, for example, in general we will only keep your contact information for as long as our interactions with you continue and for six years thereafter.

After such a period, within our database, we anonymise records so we can reference behavioural patterns in our data analytics, but the information is no longer personal to you.

Legacy income is vital to sustaining WaterAid’s work. We may keep some of your personal information if we receive a pledge, intention to pledge or enquiry into leaving a legacy for at least 6 years after we receive the full gift or longer in some circumstances, so that we can administer legacy gifts 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.

Our legal basis for processing your information

Data privacy law requires us to have one or more lawful grounds to process your personal information. The following grounds are relevant to our use of your information:

  • Consent. In many cases we will seek consent to process your personal information, for example to send you marketing and fundraising emails, and text messages. Where we do rely on consent, you are entitled to withdraw it at any time.
  • To protect your vital interests. For example to ensure you get urgent medical assistance if needed when competing in a fundraising event.
  • Where we have a contractual relationship with you. Though the majority of our relationships are voluntary, if we enter into a contract with you (such as when you purchase something from our shop) we will process information to administer that contract.
  • Legal obligations. We will sometimes pass on personal information to comply with legal obligations such as providing tax and gift aid information to HMRC.
  • “Legitimate Interests”. Where it is appropriate we rely on the processing being in our legitimate interests, provided we are confident that such processing is not likely to override your own legitimate interests or rights and freedoms. For example, sending you marketing and fundraising post, provided this is done in an unobtrusive manner.

WaterAid’s legitimate interests are ultimately in pursuit of our charitable objectives, including:

  • Governance and operational management, such as statutory reporting and intergroup transfers with our trading company, and employee and volunteer administration and management
  • Publicity and income generation, such as marketing and fundraising, events, and supporter analysis
  • Administration, such as Gift Aid
  • Financial management and control, such as processing donations

Your rights

You retain ultimate control of how we use your personal information.

You can always request details and copies of the information we hold about you.

Data privacy law gives you a number of additional rights. These include:

  • The right to rectification: To have personal information amended if it is inaccurate or incomplete. You can ask us to check the personal data that we hold about you if you are unsure.
  • The right to erasure: In some cases, to have your personal information erased (or anonymised), including when consent is withdrawn, your information is being unlawfully processed or it is no longer necessary for us to process it.
  • The right to data portability. Where we are processing your information on the basis of consent you can request it to be transferred from one service provider to another in a suitable format.
  • The right to object. You can ask us to stop processing your personal information in certain circumstances, including an absolute right to ask us to stop processing for direct marketing.
  • The right to restrict processing. If there is any disagreement about the accuracy or legitimate usage of your personal information, you can ask us to “hold” it but not use it further, whilst the issue is resolved.
  • You also have rights in relation to “automated decision making”. WaterAid does not currently undertake this activity, which involves complex computerised processes which produce legal effects.

If you want to enforce any of these rights in respect to your personal information, please contact: The Data Protection Officer, WaterAid, 6th floor, 20 Canada Square, London E14 5NN or email [email protected]

Please be aware that the above descriptions are necessarily brief and non-legal. You may only exercise some of these rights in limited circumstances and for more information on these rights please read the relevant guidance issued by the ICO, the regulatory body in the UK for data privacy.


If you would like to make a complaint about how we process your personal data, please contact our Data Protection Officer at [email protected].

You are entitled to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office at any time. However, we are grateful for the opportunity to address your concerns before you feel this step is necessary.

Please note that you can also register with the following services to stop receiving unsolicited marketing communications from a selected charity or charities:

Changes to this Privacy Policy

This policy may change from time to time. If we make any significant changes to this policy, we will publicise these changes clearly on our website or contact you directly with more information.

This Privacy Policy was last updated on 04 June 2021.

Please revisit this policy each time you consider giving your personal information to WaterAid.