Alumni privacy policy

Birkbeck’s Development and Alumni Department is committed to making sure that our communications with you are secure, considered and welcome. We take the privacy and data security of our alumni, friends, supporters and staff seriously and we promise to respect any personal data you share with us and to keep it safe.

All personal data is held and processed in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998. This privacy policy is in addition to the College's Data Protection Policy and applies specifically to information held about alumni, donors and other individuals and organisations with links to the College. This policy describes how the Development and Alumni Office collects, manages and uses personal information collected about individuals on our database. 

Who we are

  • The purpose of the Development and Alumni Department is to keep alumni, as well as any other stakeholders, connected to Birkbeck and to each other. It is our aim to ensure that all of our activities contribute towards the advancement of the College while also enhancing Birkbeck’s reputation. 
  • Apart from sending updates with the latest news from around the College, we: 
    • run events for former students and stakeholders 
    • offer volunteering opportunities that support our students but also give those who volunteer a sense of belonging, community and goodwill 
    • offer opportunities for you to support current students financially, or to fund some of the College's world-leading research. 

What information we collect

  • Personal data held and processed by the Development and Alumni Department may include: 
    • biographical information, including your name, title, gender and date of birth 
    • contact details, including your address, email address and phone numbers 
    • education history from your time at Birkbeck and from other institutions you have attended 
    • information about your time at the College (eg clubs and societies, prizes, scholarships) 
    • employment details, including income, employment history, professional activities and biographies 
    • partner/spouse, family and other relationships 
    • relationships with other alumni, supporters and friends 
    • current interests, activities and affiliations 
    • donation history and wealth assessment information 
    • responses to fundraising appeals and proposals 
    • Gift Aid status, where applicable (as required by HMRC) 
    • appended information from publicly available sources and extracts from media stories 
    • the information you have publicly shared on social media, including services such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter 
    • records of communications from, and interactions with, Birkbeck 
    • attendance of events and meetings with Birkbeck staff 
    • volunteering activities 
    • communication preferences. 
  • Please note that we do not collect or store: 
    • credit/debit card details 
    • ‘sensitive’ information, such as racial/ethnic origin, political beliefs, religious/similar beliefs, Trade Union membership; physical/mental health condition, sexual orientation/activities; commission or alleged commission of an offence and any proceedings such as a court sentence. 
  • Any personal data stored in our database is held on the College’s secure servers, with access restricted to authorised personnel only. 

How we collect information

  • All student names, degree-related information and contact details are copied from Birkbeck’s student database and used to create a record on the Development and Alumni database. We also hold records on non-alumni, friends of Birkbeck, organisations linked to Birkbeck, donors and potential donors. 
  • We update our records when you enquire about our services, register for events or volunteering opportunities, make a donation, complete an Update Your Details form or provide us with other information. As such, most information that we hold will have been obtained directly from you. 
  • We may also receive information about you from external service providers or from a friend who wants us to tell you about our activities. We use service providers to gather information from publicly available sources, such as the Post Office’s National Change of Address database, to keep contact details up to date and accurate. 
  • Internally, we will also gather other information that is published publically, such as employment and links to organisations, and append it to your record. Depending on your privacy settings and interaction with us on social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, we may also cross-check your data to ensure that it is robust and up to date. 

How we process the information

  • We use your data to keep you informed about the College and to provide opportunities for you to continue to be involved in the life and activities of the College. This includes providing you with services you have requested, for administration purposes and to further our charitable and educational aims, including fundraising, volunteering, event invitations and newsletters. 
  • We will communicate with you only in the ways that adhere to your chosen communication preferences, whether by email, post, telephone or face to face. To ensure that our communications are relevant to you and your interests, we may segment our communications based on demographic, geographical and education information. 
  • Digital tools may be used to monitor and improve our communications, such as tracking when an email we send is opened and how many links are clicked within the message. We may use this information to personalise the way our websites and emails are presented to you and improve the content of our communications. We also track website visits and use analytical tools, such as Google Analytics, to use this information to improve our website. 
  • For the purpose of fundraising and to help us better understand your interests, preferences and the type and level of donation you may be interested in giving, we may use additional information, such as measures of affluence and interest in charitable causes, where available from external sources. This allows us to make appropriate requests to our supporters and prospective supporters, helping us raise more money, more cost effectively, and more respectfully than we otherwise could. 
  • Where necessary, we will undertake due diligence for potential donors in line with the College’s Donation Acceptance Policy.

Disclosing information to service providers

  • Birkbeck does not disclose data to external organisations other than those acting as agents for the College and with whom the College has data sharing agreements. We always make sure the data is exchanged in a secure manner and that it is not used for the purposes other than those agreed by the College. We never sell any of your personal information to a third party. 
  • Examples of external providers whose services we use: 
    • email services to send emails and newsletters 
    • mailing house to send out postal letters and magazines 
    • Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) to process Direct Debits 
    • companies to screen names and addresses to help keep addresses up to date, provide demographic and publicly available updates of addresses and to check data against preference services, such as TPS and MPS 
    • companies to conduct wealth screening. 
  • We may also need to disclose your information if required by law (for example, to government bodies and law enforcement agencies). 
  • We will not share your details with any individuals looking to contact you, in personal or professional capacity. All correspondence will be conducted through us unless you give us explicit permission to share your contact details. 

Your rights

  • You may opt out of receiving our communications, change the way we communicate with you or change the type of communications you receive at any time. Simply .  
  • You have a right to request copies of the information that we hold about you and to ask us to stop processing your personal data. We will, however, need to keep a brief record of your constituent ID, name and education to ensure that your data is not used for further processing.  

Changes to Data Protection

  • We may amend this Privacy Policy from time to time. Any significant changes to this Policy or to the way we treat your data will be communicated via the College website or by contacting you directly. 
  • If you are concerned about how your information is used, please continue to check this page periodically. 
  • If your personal details change, please help us to keep your information up to date by updating your details online or