Privacy Policy

Read up on the RSPB's privacy policy

Visitor, sat on a bench, looking towards a golden sunset over purple heathland.

RSPB Privacy Policy

If you are a volunteer, please see our specific privacy policy for volunteers.

1. Introduction

The RSPB is committed to protecting your privacy and security. This policy explains how and why we use your personal data, to ensure you remain informed and in control of your information.

The General Data Protection Regulation and the UK Data Protection Act 2018 have changed the rules which govern how we can communicate with you. As a result, we chose to rely on you giving us your consent about how we can contact you in connection to marketing. Today we remain fully committed to this approach which gives you the opportunity to choose whether you want to receive communications from us and select how you want to receive them (email, phone, SMS or post). We may use other lawful grounds for processing your personal data, depending on the relationship we have with you (please see Section 4 on How We Use Your Information).

You can decide not to receive communications or change how we contact you at any time. If you wish to do so please contact Supporter Services by emailing, writing to RSPB Supporter Services, The Lodge, Sandy Bedfordshire SG19 2DL or telephoning 01767 693680 (Lines open 9am – 5pm, Mon – Fri).

We will never sell your personal data.


Any questions you have in relation to this policy or how we use your personal data should be sent to or addressed to The Data Protection Officer, The RSPB, The Lodge, Potton Road, Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 2DL.

2. About us

Your personal data (i.e. any information which identifies you, or which can be identified as relating to you personally) will be collected and used by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (charity no. 207076 in England and SC037654 in Scotland with data controller number Z5794583) and the RSPB Sales Limited (which usually trades as the RSPB Shop), a private limited company with registration number 2693778 and data controller number Z5539068.

Both RSPB and RSPB Shop (together referred to as “RSPB”) are based at The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 2DL. For the purposes of data protection law, RSPB will be the controller.

3. What information we collect

Personal data you provide

We collect data you provide to us. This includes information you give when joining or registering, placing an order or communicating with us. For example: personal details (name, date of birth, email, address, telephone etc.) when you join as a member or supporter or apply for a job or to volunteer with us; financial information (payment information such as credit/debit card or direct debit details, and whether donations are gift-aided. Please see section 9 for more information on payment security); and details of your interests and preferences (such as campaigns, the ways you support us or types of wildlife you enjoy).

If you purchase RSPB membership as a gift for someone, join as a family or are the parent of one of our youth supporters, your details will be recorded (as will the recipients) and you relationship to that person will be recorded.

Information created by your involvement with RSPB

Your activities and involvement with RSPB will result in personal data being created. This could include details of how you’ve helped us by volunteering or being involved with our campaigns and activities, as well as when you engage in our social media or digital advertising.

If you decide to donate to us then we will keep records of when and how much you give to a particular cause.

Information we generate

We conduct research and analysis on the information we hold, which can in turn generate personal data. For example, by analysing your interests and involvement with our work we may be able to build a profile which helps us decide which of our communications are likely to interest you. Section 7 (Research and profiling) contains more information about how we use information for profiling and targeted advertising. We use this information to identify ways in which you could support the RSPB and invite you do to so if appropriate. This analysis may be carried out by us or by third party organisations working for us.

We may also host encrypted personal data on third party websites (for example, social media platforms) to ensure you only see relevant, personalised and interesting content from those organisations.

We may generate personal data regarding possible wildlife crime.

Information from third parties

We sometimes receive personal data about individuals from third parties (more information can be found under Section 7 – Research and Profiling below). For example, if we are partnering with another organisation (e.g. you provide your information to another charity we’re collaborating with on a conservation project). Also, as explained in Section 12 (Cookies and links to other sites), we may use third parties to help us conduct research and analysis on personal data (and this can result in new personal data being created).

Occasionally, we may collect information about certain supporters (e.g. particularly well known or influential people) from public sources. This could include public databases (such as Companies House), news or other media. We don’t do this to everyone, and it is the exception not the rule.

Sensitive personal data

We do not normally collect or store sensitive personal data (such as information relating to health, beliefs or political affiliation) about supporters and members. However, there are some situations where this will occur (e.g. if you volunteer with us, if you have an accident on one of our reserves or indicate that you wish to leave us a legacy). If this does occur, we’ll take extra care to ensure your privacy rights are protected.

Accidents or incidents

If an accident or incident occurs on our property, at one of our events or involving one of our staff (including volunteers) then we’ll keep a record of this (which may include personal data and sensitive personal data).


If you are a volunteer (whether for specifically RSPB, or if you are helping us for other reasons - for example you work for another organisation which is running an event with us) then we may collect extra information about you (e.g. references, criminal records checks, details of emergency contacts, medical conditions etc.). This information will be retained for legal reasons, to protect us (including in the event of an insurance or legal claim) and for safeguarding purposes. You may also receive communications from us providing you with information about your duties as a volunteer, including your local group duties.

4. How we use information

We only ever use your personal data with your consent, or where it is necessary in order to:

  • enter into, or perform, a contract with you;
  • where you have given us your consent to do so, to keep you informed about: visiting our places, volunteering with us, membership, events, conservation work, fundraising, our shops and reserves;
  • comply with a legal duty;
  • protect your vital interests;
  • to enable trusted partner organisations to perform services on our behalf or to help us understand our supporters more effectively;
  • to better understand how we can improve our services for you.
  • for our own (or a third party’s) lawful interests, provided your rights don’t override these.
  • We use barcodes on our membership cards to collect information on your visits. This data includes the properties you have visited, the date that you went and your membership number. We use this information to understand our supporters’ visiting trends. We also use this information to make our communications to you more relevant.

In any event, we’ll only use your information for the purpose or purposes it was collected for (or else for closely related purposes):


We use personal data to communicate with people, to promote the RSPB and to help with fundraising. This includes keeping you up to date with our news, updates, campaigns and fundraising information. For further information on this please see Section 6 (Marketing).


We use personal data for administrative purposes (i.e. to carry on our charity and conservation work). This includes:

  • receiving donations (e.g. direct debits or gift-aid instructions) or administering legacy gifts;
  • maintaining databases of our volunteers, members and supporters (including those who have indicated they wish to leave us a legacy);
  • performing our obligations under membership contracts or in accordance with the law;
  • fulfilling orders for goods or services (whether placed online, over the phone or in person);
  • helping us respect your choices and preferences (e.g. if you ask not to receive marketing material, we’ll keep a record of this).

Internal research and analysis

We carry out research and analysis on our supporters, donors and volunteers, to determine the success of campaigns and appeals, better understand behaviour and responses and identify patterns and trends. This helps inform our approach towards campaigning and make RSPB a stronger and more effective organisation. Understanding our supporters, their interests and what they care about also helps us provide a better experience (e.g. through more relevant communications).

Supporter research and profiling

We evaluate, categorise and profile personal data in order to tailor materials, services and communications (including targeted advertising) and prevent unwanted material from filling up your inbox. This also helps us understand our supporters, improve our organisation and carry out research. Further information on profiling can be found in Section 7 (Research and profiling).

We may process personal data for certain legitimate business purposes, which include some or all of the following:

  • where the processing enables us to enhance, modify, personalise or otherwise improve our activities / communications in furtherance of our charitable objectives, for example to improve the experience of young people of learning about saving nature through their engagement with our website and usage of social media;
  • to engage with third parties, whether to advance the RSPB’s charitable objectives, [for example, by helping to put nature at the heart of farming or in acting on feedback about our reserves or the general enquiries we receive], or otherwise to support our work [for example, in dealing with individual representatives at a governmental and international level to campaign to save nature, or in applying for grant funding (by ourselves and/or together with others), or with those who represent our corporate partners and business contacts];
  • to ensure our compliance with best practice, for example with fundraising standards, by monitoring calls made by third parties on our behalf;
  • to identify and prevent fraud; and
  • to enhance the security of our network and information systems.

Whenever we process data for these purposes, we will ensure that we always keep your personal data rights in high regard and take account of these rights at all times.

When we process your personal data for our legitimate interests, we will make sure that we consider and balance any potential impact on you (both positive and negative), and your rights under data protection laws. Our legitimate business interests do not automatically override your interests – we will not use your personal data for activities where our interests are overridden by the impact on you (unless we have your consent or are otherwise required or permitted to by law).

You have the right to object to this processing if you wish, and if you wish to do so, then please contact Please bear in mind that if you object this may affect our ability to carry out tasks above for your benefit.

5. Disclosing and sharing data

We will never sell your personal data. If you have opted-in to marketing, we may contact you with information about our partners, or third party products and services, but these communications will always come from RSPB and are usually incorporated into our own marketing materials (e.g. advertisements in magazines or newsletters).

We may share personal data with subcontractors or suppliers who provide us with services. For example, if you order something from the RSPB Shop, your name and address will be shared with the delivery company. However, these activities will be carried out under a contract which imposes strict requirements on our supplier to keep your information confidential and secure.

Occasionally, where we partner with other organisations, we may also share information with them (for example, if you register to attend an event being jointly organised by us and another charity). We’ll only share information when necessary and we’ll make sure to notify you first.

We may provide your personal information (such as name, email address or phone number) to digital advertising or social media companies who work on our behalf (such as Facebook and Instagram). This is so you and others like you are shown only relevant advertisements relating to the RSPB. We will also ensure you are not presented with unnecessary marketing communications from us. If you choose not to see RSPB advertisements, you can manage your preferences by using your social/digital advertising platform settings. You can also contact us with any queries at the details provided in Section 1.

6. Marketing

Since 2 October 2017, RSPB has asked its supporters to “opt-in” for most communications. This includes all our marketing communications (the term “marketing” is broadly defined and, for instance, covers information about conservation and the RSPB).

This means you have the choice as to whether you want to receive these messages and are able to select how you want to receive them (post, phone, email, text).

You can decide not to receive communications or change how we contact you at any time. If you wish to do so please contact Supporter Services by emailing, writing to RSPB Supporter Services, The Lodge, Sandy Bedfordshire SG19 2DL or telephoning 01767 693680 (Lines open 9am – 5pm, Mon – Fri).

What does ‘marketing’ mean?

Marketing does not just mean offering things for sale, but also includes news and information about:

  • our charity, campaigns and conservation work;
  • our role in educating the public in conservation of the natural environment;
  • RSPB benefits and offers;
  • volunteering opportunities and how you can help save nature;
  • appeals and fundraising (including donations and also competitions, raffles etc.);
  • our events and activities;
  • products, services and offers (our own, and those of third parties which may interest you);
  • leaving a legacy;
  • taking part in projects (e.g. the Big Garden Birdwatch); and
  • ideas for giving nature a home in your garden.

When you receive a communication, we may collect information about how you respond to or interact with that communication, and this may affect how we communicate with you in future.

Newsletters and magazines

Membership magazines, including Nature’s Home (together with local RSPB news supplements), are provided as a benefit to our members. We send these out to all our members (unless you specifically ask us not to) and you can choose to unsubscribe from general marketing communications without giving up your subscription to Nature’s Home. However, please be aware that member magazines do include advertisements, competitions and fundraising information.

If you are a member of an RSPB local group, you can unsubscribe from general marketing but continue to receive your local group’s newsletter if you wish.

If you are a volunteer, we will still be communicating with you about your duties, including your local group duties, even if you choose not to receive general marketing from us.


As a charity, we rely on donations and support from others to continue our conservation work. From time to time, we will contact members and supporters with fundraising material and communications. This might be about an appeal, a competition we’re running, or to suggest ways you can raise funds (e.g. a sponsored event or activity, or even buying a product if RSPB will receive some of the proceeds).

As with other marketing communications, we’ll only contact you specifically about fundraising if you’ve opted into to receiving marketing from us (and you can, of course, unsubscribe at any time).

Some of our fundraising (including face to face recruitment) is carried out by RSPB Fundraising Direct (a division of RSPB Sales Limited). We may use third parties (known as affiliate marketers) to carry out fundraising on our behalf. For example, we may use an affiliate to call supporters (who have agreed to be contacted by phone) about a campaign or appeal.

Loyalty cards

RSPB Sales Limited (trading as the RSPB Shop) operates a loyalty card scheme which allows you to earn loyalty points when you shop (online or in person) with the RSPB. We will collect information on purchases in order to provide you with loyalty points. If you have opted-in to marketing, we might use this information to contact you about similar products and services that may be of interest to you. Our loyalty card terms can be found at

RSPB also operates a loyalty scheme in its cafes. If you join this then your information will be used to run your membership of the scheme and, with your consent, it may also be used for marketing.

7. Research and profiling

This section explains how and why we use personal data to undertake research and build profiles which enable us to understand our supporters, improve our relationship with them, and provide a better supporter experience.

Profiling to help us understand our supporters

Profiling is gathering information about individuals or groups of individuals and understanding their characteristics or behaviours to learn more about their interests or likely behaviour.

We profile supporters in terms of financial, political and practical support. For example, we keep track of the amount, frequency and value of each person’s support. This information helps us to ensure communications are relevant and timely and improve the experience our supporters receive. It also helps us identify individuals or groups of individuals who might be willing to provide more support in our fight to save nature and we may contact them to see if they wish to do so.

We combine information about supporters with external information. The information is from a variety of sources including publicly available data such as the UK Census and the Land Registry or derived from surveys and questionnaires held on private databases. We do this to enhance and fill in any gaps so that we can understand our supporters better and send the most relevant communications and target our resources effectively. Examples of the external information we’ll use includes socio demographic data based on postcode to improve understanding of different types of people and communities across the UK. We also use lifestyle and affluence information which includes information about your financial status, what other charities you may support, your shopping habits and your interests. A lot of the external data we use is aggregated or anonymised which means that it cannot be used to identify an individual. Although publicly available registers are used to collect data, this is done in accordance with the GDPR requirements.

On occasion, we may also combine information about particular supporters with external information (such as directorships listed on Companies House, professional profiles, search engine and public social media results; resources such as the Charity Commission, third-party publications or news about an individual which has featured in the media) in order to create a more detailed profile about a particular individual. We don’t do this for everyone, and it is the exception not the rule. You can opt out of having your personal information profiled in this way by contacting us (see Section 1).

We sometimes collect information on preferences and interests (e.g. whether you are a bird enthusiast or a nature enthusiast) so that we know what communications you are mostly likely to be interested in.

Analysis, grouping and segmentation

We analyse our supporters to identify shared characteristics and preferences. We do this by assessing various types of information including behaviour (e.g. previous responses) or demographic information (e.g. age or location) or lifestyle information (e.g. your interests, places visited and your affluence).

By grouping people together on the basis of common characteristics, we can ensure that groups are provided with communications, products, and information which is most important to them. This helps prevent your inbox from filling up, and means we aren’t wasting resources on contacting people with information which isn’t relevant to them.

Anonymised data

We may aggregate and anonymise personal data so that it can no longer be linked to any particular person. This information can be used for a variety of purposes, such as recruiting new supporters, or to identify trends or patterns within our existing supporter base. This information helps inform our actions and improve our campaigns, products/services and materials.

8. Young people

Photographs, pictures, stories and competitions in our magazines

We want young people to join in saving nature, and there are opportunities in our youth magazines for readers to share their photos, stories and pictures. If we publish your child’s picture, photo or story, we’ll usually include their first name and age with it. If they write an article or story for us, we might also include their surname alongside it.

If your child enters a competition and is one of the lucky winners or runners-up, we’ll publish their name and winning entry alongside the other winners.

Parental permission: If your child is under 18 then we’ll need permission from you as their parent or guardian for them to enter one of our competitions or to share a picture, photo or story with us.

Information for parents

We take great care to protect and respect the rights of individuals in relation to their personal data, especially in the case of children. If your child is under 18, we’ll only use his or her personal data with your consent. This means that, for example, if your child wants to have his or her name or picture featured in one of our youth magazines, we’ll need you to confirm you’re happy for us to do so.

Marketing and fundraising

We won’t send marketing emails, letters, calls or messages to under 18 year-olds and, in order to donate to RSPB or order things from us online, you need to be an adult.

Our youth magazines sometimes include competitions or ideas about how to raise money (e.g. sponsored activities), but they are mostly just about wildlife and conservation, the RSPB, and ideas for things to do.

Youth membership and young people’s information

RSPB adult membership is available to individuals aged 18 and over. Under 18s can have RSPB youth membership purchased for them by an adult. Young people are divided by age into Wildlife Explorers (for those aged 12 and under) or RSPB Phoenix (for those aged 13 to 18).

We won’t use young people’s personal data for marketing purposes and we won’t profile it. If a youth member turns 19 and wishes to join the RSPB as an adult, some of the personal data we hold about that individual (e.g. youth membership history) will be carried over to their member profile.

9. How we protect data

We employ a variety of physical and technical measures to keep your data safe and to prevent unauthorised access to, or use or disclosure of your personal information.

Electronic data and databases are stored on secure computer systems and we control who has access to information (using both physical and electronic means). Our staff receive data protection training and we have a set of detailed data protection procedures which personnel are required to follow when handling personal data.

Payment security

All electronic RSPB forms that request financial data will use the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol to encrypt the data between your browser and our servers.

If you use a credit card to donate, purchase a membership or purchase something on-line we will pass your credit card details securely to our payment provider (Verifone). Other payment methods (e.g. ApplePay) are handled in a similar manner. RSPB complies with the payment card industry data security standard (PCI-DSS) published by the PCI Security Standards Council, and will never store card details.

Of course, we cannot guarantee the security of your home computer or the internet, and any online communications (e.g. information provided by email or our website) are at the user’s own risk.


Some of our premises have CCTV and you may be recorded when you visit them. CCTV is there to help provide security and to protect both you and the RSPB. CCTV will only be viewed when necessary (e.g. to detect or prevent crime) and footage is only stored temporarily. Unless it is flagged for review CCTV will be recorded over.

The RSPB complies with the Information Commissioner’s Office CCTV Code of Practice, and we put up notices so you know when CCTV is in use.

10. Storage

Where we store information

The RSPB’s operations are based in the UK and we store our data within the European Union. Some organisations which provide services to us may transfer personal data outside of the EEA, but we’ll only allow them to do if your data is adequately protected.

For example, some of our systems use Microsoft products. As a US company, it may be that using their products result in personal data being transferred to or accessible from the US. However, we’ll allow this as we are certain personal data will still be adequately protected (as Microsoft is certified under the USA’s Privacy Shield scheme).

How long we store information

We will only use and store information for so long as it is required for the purposes it was collected for. How long information will be stored for depends on the information in question and what it is being used for. For example, if you ask us not to send you marketing emails, we will stop storing your emails for marketing purposes (though we’ll keep a record of your preference not to be emailed).

We continually review what information we hold and delete what is no longer required. We never store payment card information.

11. Keeping you in control

We want to ensure you remain in control of your personal data. Part of this is making sure you understand your legal rights, which are as follows:

  • the right to confirmation as to whether or not we have your personal data and, if we do, to obtain a copy of the personal information we hold (this is known as subject access request);
  • the right to have your data erased (though this will not apply where it is necessary for us to continue to use the data for a lawful reason);
  • the right to have inaccurate data rectified;
  • the right to object to your data being used for marketing or profiling; and
  • where technically feasible, you have the right to personal data you have provided to us which we process automatically on the basis of your consent or the performance of a contract. This information will be provided in a common electronic format.

Please keep in mind that there are exceptions to the rights above and, though we will always try to respond to your satisfaction, there may be situations where we are unable to do so.

If you would like further information on your rights or wish to exercise them, please write to our Data Protection Officer at RSPB, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 2DL or email

We can provide you with a template subject access form which includes guidance on how to make your request (and will help us respond more quickly). Please contact us for a copy of this.

We have appointed EU Business Partners as our representatives in the EU for the purposes of Article 27 of the General Data Protection Regulation. You may contact our EU representative, as well as us directly, with any query that you may have in relation to your personal data. The contact details of our EU representative are as follows:

EU Business Partners

10 Ashe Street


Co. Cork

P85 E403


Point of contact: Flor McCarth



You can complain to the RSPB directly by contacting our data protection officer using the details set out above. If you wish to make a complaint (including a complaint about fundraising activity) which does not directly relate to your data protection and privacy rights, you can do so in accordance with our charity’s complaint policy.

If you are not happy with our response, or you believe that your data protection or privacy rights have been infringed, you can complain to the UK Information Commissioner’s Office which regulates and enforces data protection law in the UK. Details of how to do this can be found at


Our website uses local storage (such as cookies) to provide you with the best possible experience and to allow you to make use of certain functionality (such as being able to shop online). Further information can be found in our Cookies Policy at

Links to other sites

Our website contains hyperlinks to many other websites. We are not responsible for the content or functionality of any of those external websites (but please let us know if a link is not working by using the 'Contact us' link at the top of the page).

If an external website requests personal information from you (e.g. in connection with an order for goods or services), the information you provide will not be covered by the RSPB's Privacy Policy. We suggest you read the privacy policy of any website before providing any personal information.

When purchasing goods or services from any of the businesses that our site links to, you will be entering into a contract with them (agreeing to their terms and conditions) and not with RSPB.

13. Changes to this privacy policy

We’ll amend this Privacy Policy from time to time to ensure it remains up-to-date and accurately reflects how and why we use your personal data. The current version of our Privacy Policy will always be posted on our website.

This Privacy Policy was last updated on 24 October 2023.