Privacy policy

The Campaigns and Alumni Relations (CAR) department exists to maintain and grow a lifelong, mutually beneficial relationship between the University and its alumni, supporters and friends.

Firth Court building

This privacy policy sets out how we manage and use your data to enable us to keep you informed about the University and provide opportunities for you to continue to be involved in the life and activities of the University.

This includes providing you with services you have requested, for administration purposes, and to further our charitable and educational aims including fundraising, volunteering and other activities. Your data is stored securely and in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). We never sell your information to third parties.

This privacy policy is supplementary to the University's privacy policy and applies specifically to information held about alumni, supporters and friends of the University of Sheffield by the Campaigns and Alumni Relations (CAR) department.

Our lawful basis for processing

Campaigns and Alumni Relations uses legitimate interest as the primary lawful basis for processing data relating to our alumni and supporters. We also use legitimate interest as the primary lawful basis for processing data when we have good reason to believe that potential supporters may be interested in becoming more involved with the University. We are aware that legitimate interest is only valid where the privacy and rights of individuals are not compromised. 

Our reasons for using legitimate interest as the primary lawful basis are:

  • It is necessary to ensure alumni and supporters are kept informed of opportunities to engage with, and support, the University in order to fulfil our educational and charitable aims. The processing of personal information is necessary to be able to achieve these aims.
  • Our alumni and supporters have a connection with the University, they reasonably expect to hear from us and are unlikely to object to processing. This is evident from our very low rate of opt-out requests.
  • Our potential activity has a limited impact on the privacy of alumni and of current and potential supporters. We have balanced our legitimate interest against the freedom and rights of our supporters and we are confident that they don’t override their interests.

We may use an alternative lawful basis where it is appropriate:

  • On the basis of public interest the University holds personal data in order to maintain appropriate University records. 
  • We may process data on the basis of consent, where consent has been given.

We are careful to ensure that all information which supporters receive from the University is relevant and the contact we maintain with them is what they would reasonably expect.

What data is stored and processed by us


At the point of graduation, your name, degree, basic biographical information and contact details from the University's student system are used to create a record for you on the supporter database.

Where available, we may add information about your student interests from the Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR), scholarships and prizes you received, and employment information from the Graduate Outcomes survey. 

The majority of information we hold will have been provided by yourself. For example, we update our records when you enquire about our services, register for activities, make a donation, complete an Update your details form, take part in our alumni survey or contact us directly. 

We may update your alumni record on the supporter database with changes to your name or title, contact details, employment information and social media links that you provide in Sheffield Connect. If you provide us with a new email address in Sheffield Connect, we will check that this is your preferred email before using it for alumni communications.

We may also update your record with information that is publicly available or that you have provided to another University department and that you would reasonably expect to be shared with us.

Donors and supporters

If you make a donation, volunteer with us, attend one of our events or any other form of engagement with us, we will create a record for you on our supporter database. The record will include any information you have given to us and any engagement you have with us.

Prospective supporters

If our research shows that you are likely to be interested in engaging with us, we may get in touch with you using publicly available contact details. We will always make it clear why we are getting in touch and ask for your consent to continue our contact with you. If you are interested in working with us, we will store your contact details and any other data you have shared with us on our supporter database. The record will also contain publicly available information from sources listed above. 

Information may include:

  • Biographical information including names, titles, gender, date of birth, contact details.
  • Education history from your time at Sheffield and information about activities you were involved in e.g. clubs and societies, prizes, scholarships.
  • Registration, booking details and attendance at events.
  • Volunteering activity you have taken part in for the University.
  • Employment details, employment history and biographies.
  • Income bracket.
  • Partner/spouse, family and other relationships.
  • Current social and recreational interests.
  • Philanthropic interests.
  • Our assessment of your ability and willingness to make donations, including information about your wealth and business.
  • Record of communications with and from the University.
  • Communication preferences.
  • Donation history to the University, fundraising appeals and proposals.
  • Bank or CAF details and gift aid information for donation processing.
  • Appended information from publicly available sources and extracts from media stories.
  • Information you have chosen to share publicly via social media, for example LinkedIn.
  • Information you have chosen to share with us via external fundraising platforms, for example Just Giving.
  • Photographs submitted to us for use in alumni relations activities, such as reunion events, alumni publications, social media and other promotional materials.
  • Knighthoods and honours.

We aim to keep your data up to date and accurate and we welcome any updates to your details you may wish to provide.

How long is data retained by us 

We keep under regular review the length of time we retain information in our supporter database. The decision on how long to retain particular information is guided by legitimate interest, as the primary lawful basis, and by the contact preferences of individual alumni and supporters.

Data collected by our websites and emails

The University web server automatically collects standard information, including your IP address, browser type, operating system and access times when you visit our websites.

We may use cookies to monitor visitor traffic and to customise web page content based on your browser type, IP address or other anonymous information. Cookies are text files that identify your computer to our server; cookies in themselves do not identify the individual user, just the computer used.

The link below contains information about the University’s use of cookies and gives information on how you can opt out.


Our website uses Google Analytics to analyse how users use the site. The link below contains information about Google Analytics and gives information on how you can opt out.

Google Analytics - Safeguarding your data

We may display links to external websites to provide you with offers and services, these sites are not controlled by the University and we cannot be held responsible for the content or accuracy of these external links.

To help monitor and improve our communications we can track 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.

Why and how we use your data


We use your information to keep you informed about the University, and to provide opportunities for you to continue to be involved in the life and activities of the University. This includes providing you with services you have requested, for administration purposes, processing and recognising your donations and to further our charitable and educational aims including fundraising, volunteering, event invitations and newsletters.

If you provide us with contact details for a particular method of communication we may update your record and communicate with you using this method of communication unless you tell us otherwise.  

If you register with Sheffield Connect, we may email you through Sheffield Connect with relevant newsletters, event and group notifications unless you tell us otherwise.

If you request to be added to our What’s App groups we will do so with the mobile number you have provided for this purpose.

If you are registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) but provide us with a telephone number, we may call you on this number unless you tell us otherwise.

Fundraising and engagement 

Alumni, friends and supporters are of great importance to the University. We value the generous support of those who are committed to helping us promote our teaching and research, supporting the life of our students and building our global reputation. The University was founded with philanthropic support and we are proud to continue this tradition in ways that are appropriate and likely to generate the most positive impact. This includes projects that supporters may volunteer their time towards, helping to support areas such as student experience, employability, student recruitment and governance.

There are a number of data processing activities we may undertake in this context to help us to understand you better. This will help us:

  • Ensure our communications are relevant to you and your interests.
  • Assess your potential interest in - and ability to - make donations to the University.
  • Identify alumni volunteering opportunities you may be interested in.
  • Avoid sending you inappropriate or unwelcome communications.


To understand our supporters and potential supporters better, we may use information from publicly available sources to carry out more in depth research. This will help indicate whether an individual or organisation has the capacity and/or the inclination to give.

The information we use in our research comes from publicly available sources, for example, LinkedIn, Companies House, Charity Commission and other relevant websites which may come up in search engine results. 

We may work with external companies to obtain information about your wealth from publicly available sources (sometimes referred to as wealth screening). This is often a more efficient way of completing the work than in-house. As with any work completed with third parties, the such companies would work within the terms set in the University’s Data Processing Agreement - see 'Sharing your data' below.

These processes help us to better understand your interests, preferences and the type and level of donation you may be interested in giving. This allows us to make appropriate requests to our supporters, helping us raise more money, more cost effectively, and more respectfully than we otherwise could.

Due diligence

We may undertake due diligence for prospective donors, volunteers and honorary degree recipients in line with the University’s Donation Acceptance Policy. 

The purpose of the due diligence is to identify any potential ethical and reputational risks associated with philanthropic support from an individual, trust, foundation or corporation.

Fundraising activities

Our fundraising activities are managed in-house and may include direct mail (both postal and electronic), social media, telephone and face-to-face visits. 

Our telephone fundraising is managed by CAR staff and employs current students to contact alumni and friends of the University. This provides paid employment opportunities for our students as well as valuable work experience. All of our staff and student workers are well trained and are taught to respond sensitively and appropriately to anyone who may appear vulnerable. We are proud that none of our staff are paid commission on donations they raise. We do not use external fundraising agencies or external professional fundraisers to ask for donations on our behalf.

Recognising your support

We are very grateful for the support of our donors and we like to recognise this support, to both show our gratitude and to encourage others to donate. If you donate to the University and do not wish your donation to be publicly recognised, you can choose to give anonymously. This means we will record your donation on our systems, but will not publicly acknowledge or publish your name on donor lists or other materials both online and in written publications. 

We sometimes publish fundraising and volunteering case studies online, on social media and in our magazines. We will always ask for permission from those involved before publication.

If you wish to opt out of any of the data processing listed above, contact:

Campaigns and Alumni Relations
40 Victoria Street
S10 2TN 
+44 (0)114 222 1071 

For more information see 'Your rights' below.
Sharing your data

We only share information with third parties in the following circumstances:

  • If we are required by law to disclose your information.
  • If we have obtained your permission to do so.
  • To send out postal mailings and emails.
  • To screen names and addresses to help keep addresses up to date.
  • To screen telephone numbers to ensure they clean and to check against the TPS register.
  • To collect details about your wealth from publicly available sources.
  • To obtain business information and relationships from publicly available sources.

We may use external service providers based in countries or jurisdictions outside of the UK. These countries may not provide the same level of data protection as the UK. If we do use these services, we will put appropriate controls in place to ensure your information is protected.

We will never sell your information to a third party.

We always make sure there are appropriate controls in place regarding how they handle your data and to ensure they never use the data for non-University of Sheffield purposes.

All companies whom we share data with will be required to work within the terms of The University of Sheffield Data Processing Agreement.

Future changes

From time to time, we may use your information for new, unanticipated uses not previously disclosed in our privacy policy. If our information practices change at some time in the future, we will post the policy changes on this page.

If you are concerned about how your information is used, you should check this page periodically. We will only use data collected from the time of the policy change onwards for these new purposes.

Your rights

You have rights under data protection legislation, including the rights to:

  • Update the information we hold about you by completing our Update your details form.
  • Change the way we contact you by updating your Contact preferences.
  • Opt out to any of our data processing.
  • Remove your data from our records.
  • Make a complaint.

You also have the right to:

  • Request confirmation as to whether your personal data is being processed.
  • Request access to your personal data. 
  • Request other supplementary information about the processing of your personal data.

A request can be made by submitting a Subject Access form or contacting our Data Protection Department on +44 (0)114 222 1117 or 

If you would like to action any of the above or have any other questions, please contact us at:

Campaigns and Alumni Relations
40 Victoria Street
S10 2TN 
+44 (0) 114 222 1071

Find out more about Data Protection at the University of Sheffield. 

If you wish to contact the University's Data Protection Officer, their details are as follows:

Luke Thompson
Head of Data Protection & Legal Services
University of Sheffield
First Floor
Arts Tower
12 Bolsover Street
S3 7NA
+44 (0)114 222 1117

If you wish to contact the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), their details are as follows:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
+44 (0)303 123 1113

Updated January 2023

A global reputation

Sheffield is a research university with a global reputation for excellence. We're a member of the Russell Group: one of the 24 leading UK universities for research and teaching.