Privacy policy

Crisis' commitment to your privacy and data protection

At Crisis we are committed to protecting your privacy and handling your information in the right way. Your trust matters to us because without your support we couldn’t do our vital work to end homelessness.

We only ask for, or collect your personal information, to help us run and improve our services and to talk to you about our work. You can change your mind about receiving marketing information and personal contact from us at any time.

  • We make sure your personal information is always secure and protected.
  • We are fair, clear and honest about how we use the personal information we hold about you. If you ever feel unsure about how we use your personal data, please always ask us to explain.

This policy explains:

We don’t want to know or collect every personal detail about you. But what we do collect helps support our work to help end homelessness.

We define your personal information as any information that could be used to identify you.

Find more about the types of personal information we collect about you. Please see our Supporters, Crisis Skylight Members, Volunteers or Children and Young People, or sections.

Like all organisations, we must have a lawful reason to collect and use your personal information. In the UK there are six legal reasons that allow your data to be collected and processed.

  1. We have your consent
  2. There is a contract with you
  3. We have a legal obligation to collect
  4. We have to protect the ‘vital interest of an individual
  5. It is in our organisation’s (or a third parties’) ‘legitimate interests
  6. It is in the ‘public interest

Sometimes, the law might stop us from doing as you ask. You might ask us to delete all information we have about you, but this might not be possible. For example, if you have Gift Aided a donation to us, HMRC requires that we keep Gift Aid and donation information for seven years.

A cookie is a small text file containing small amounts of information. When you visit our website, it passes to your computer and your other devices through your web browser so that our website can remember who you are. We also have third party cookies and pixels on many of our webpages. Third-party cookies collect information about the pages you view and may share them with other organisations (including Facebook / Meta) to present you with adverts when you are online.

Our website gives you control over the type of cookies you want to allow on the devices you use to access the internet. You can change your level of control at any time by visiting the ‘manage preferences’ box at the bottom of any page of our website.

For more details on our cookie policy and a description of the cookies we use please see our Remarketing and Cookie policy.

We want to be honest and transparent in everything we do, including how and when we collect personal information, where we keep it and how it’s kept safe and secure. We collect it in several different ways. For example, it could be information you share with us directly, or that we collect through email and our website.

Below are the varied reasons why we collect information. We might not use it for all the reasons below – it depends on your relationship with us. For example, whether you use our services, support our campaigns or events, donate money or your time as a volunteer.

Find more about the personal information we collect on our Crisis Supporters, Crisis Skylight Members, Crisis Volunteers or Children and Young People sections.

At Crisis, we want you to understand your rights around data protection and feel you are always in control of your personal information. We will do everything we can to help you. If you feel that anything we say about your rights is not clear, please get in touch. Our data protection officer at data.protection.crisis.org will be happy to help.

Under data protection law, you have the right to…

Know how your information will be used. This is your right to be informed.

You can request a copy of your information from our data protection team. We must reply within a month unless a case may be extended. This is your right of access.

Ask that we correct inaccurate or incomplete information, delete it (under certain circumstances) or request we only use it for certain purposes. These are your rights of rectification, erasure and restrictions of processing.

Stop your information being ‘processed’ – used – under certain circumstances, in both on and offline situations. These situations include direct mailing. This is your right to object.

Ask for your personal information and transfer it to different IT environments. The right of data portability means you can copy or transfer your information from one IT environment to another – for example, from one banking service to another, or from one utility provider to another. However, it is unlikely that you would ever need to use this right in your relationships with us.

To exercise any of these rights, please let us know on data.protection@crisis.org.uk

If you are:

a Crisis supporter

If you are a Crisis supporter, you can update your information about how you would like us to contact you through our contact preference centre. You can find the link to this on any direct marketing emails you get. You can also contact our supporter services team on 08000 38 48 38, or email: mydetails@crisis.org.uk.

a Crisis member

If you are a Crisis Skylight member, talk to your lead worker at your Crisis Skylight Centre

a Crisis volunteer

If you are a Crisis volunteer talk to your volunteer coordinator.

Your support is important to us, and we want you to feel you are always treated honestly, clearly and respectfully. If you feel this is not the case, please talk to us directly first so we can help resolve any problems or queries. Our supporter services team can help on 08000 38 48 38, or you can contact our data protection officer using this email address data.protection@crisis.org.uk.

You can also register with the Fundraising Preference Service (FPS). This service is run by the Fundraising Regulator and allows you to stop email, telephone, addressed post, and/or text messages from us or any other selected charities. Or call them on 0300 303 3517. Once you have made a request through the FPS, we will ensure that your new preferences take effect within 28 days.

You also have the right to contact the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) if you have any concerns about how your information has been handled. You can use the link above or call them on 0303 123 1113.

Read more about our privacy policy if you are:

Crisis supporters

1.1 If you visit one of our shops, cafes or Crisis Skylight Centres 
1.2 If you shop with us online 
1.3 If you purchase furniture at our shops or online via Ebay 
1.4 If you donate with a credit or debit card 
1.5 If you donate by text  
1.6 If you add Gift Aid to your donation or when you give us goods to sell in our shops 
1.7 If you contact our Supporter Helpline 
1.8 Collecting information for our Christmas and all-year round appeals 

Anyone who volunteers, fundraises, campaigns, shops with and donates to Crisis is a Crisis supporter. If you fall into one or more of these categories, thank you very much for everything you do for us in ending homelessness. This is the information we will collect about you:

  • Your name
  • Your postal address
  • Your email address
  • Any phone numbers you provide
  • Details of any donations or transactions you make with us
  • A record of our communications with you

Most of the identifiable information we hold about you, you give us directly via:

  • Email
  • Mail
  • Post
  • Our website
  • Shopping with Crisis
  • Registering for an event
  • Fundraising
  • Online and offline forms (including surveys, raffles, questionnaires)
  • Donations
    • We may also receive your information when you donate to us through third party services like JustGiving.com, Tiltify and payroll giving agencies

You can decide not to provide certain information, and under certain circumstances you can ask that any information you have previously shared is removed.

In some situations, we may update your information through other agencies. For example, we might check that we have a valid postal address with the Royal Mail – using their change of address list. We might also check whether you are registered on the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) or Fundraising Preference Service (FPS).

1.1 If you visit one of our shops, cafes or Crisis Skylight Centres

  • Your visit may be recorded on CCTV
    • We use CCTV in all our premises to protect the safety and security of our staff, members, and volunteers who work there. It is also used to support any investigations of any criminal activity in or around our premises. Images are kept for a maximum of 30 days, but the retention periods vary from site to site according to CCTV systems used.

1.2 If you shop with us online

We sell donated apparel through online marketplaces including Shopify and Depop.

Shopify processes your information on our behalf in Ireland under the EU–UK Adequacy Decision made after the UK left the EU. Shopify may transfer your information to the USA and Canada under their approved international ‘Binding Corporate Rules’. For more information about how Shopify transfers your information please see https://help.shopify.com/pdf/cross-border-whitepaper.pdf

Depop only stores information about you needed to send you your order.

1.3 If you purchase furniture at our shops or online via Ebay

We have an ethical furniture range assembled by our members at our Crisis Skylight Merseyside. If you buy a piece of furniture, your information is collected to process the purchase and deliver the furniture where you have asked us to do so. We do not use this information for marketing purposes without your permission.

If you donate using a credit or debit card, your card details are processed through Worldpay – our payment processing partner. The processing is in accordance with the Payment Card Industry Security Standards. We also accept payments through Paypal, GooglePay, and ApplePay and will soon be accepting donations through Amazon Pay including Amazon Alexa-enabled devices. You may be contacted by Crisis through your Amazon email address for refund purposes. Your user agreement details with Amazon Pay can be found here.

We also accept contactless donations using Liberty Pay where Allied Irish provide merchant bank services. In these instances, your card details may be transferred outside the European Economic Area (EEA) by the service provider. Please check their websites for further details.

At pop-up events and in our shops, we use Izettle for card transactions.

1.5 If you donate by text

  • If you are an existing supporter, we’ll match your mobile number to the information we already have about you where we can.
  • If we are unable to match a donation to a mobile number, we create a record to store the gift information and any available Gift Aid and consent data.
  • For details of our ‘text-to-donate’ terms and conditions please see Terms and conditions | Crisis UK | Together we will end homelessness

1.6 If you add Gift Aid to your donation or when you give us goods to sell in our shops

  • We must record the fact that you are a UK taxpayer.
  • HMRC requires that we maintain a record of that Gift Aid for seven years after your last donation to us.

1.7 If you contact our supporter helpline

  • All calls to the Crisis Supporter Helpline are recorded.
  • All calls to our out-of-hours service provided by Angel Fulfilment Services are recorded.
  • Recordings will be stored for thirty days and may be used for quality and training purposes.

1.8 Collecting information for our Christmas and year-round appeals

For our fundraising work we use external agencies to help us attract new supporters. These data brokers collect the contact details of people who have expressed an interest in the work of charitable organisations and who have not objected to receiving communications. This information is shared with us, and we contact these potential new supporters asking them to support our appeals.

We do not retain the details of everyone who receives a letter from us and only hold the information of those people who kindly donate to us.

2.1 Social media 
2.2 Telemarketing 
2.3 Christmas appeal 
2.4 Business-to-business marketing  
2.5 Research and surveys 
2.6 Wealth screening and financial profiling   
2.7 Trusts and Foundations 
2.8 Shopping 
2.9 How long do we keep your personal information? 
2.10 What information does Crisis share with third parties? 

Our main purpose is to run services and campaigns to end homelessness. We can only do so by raising funds and getting support from people who share our values and goals.

To achieve this, we use a range of fundraising and marketing activities. These include direct marketing e.g., direct mail, email, telephone, events, raffles, online shopping, campaigns and appeals.

We use your information to help make sure you only hear about the areas of our work that you are interested in and support.

2.1 Social media

We use our social media channels to increase awareness of our work and identify and reach out to new audiences.

Marketing online and via social media platforms

You may see Crisis naturally through your own social media networks on Facebook (or on its other sites Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger) or Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn.

You might also be presented with a targeted advert from us. We use targeted advertising on Facebook and other social media sites to inform, educate and attract potential supporters.

We use Facebook tools and a Facebook pixel – a code from Facebook that we have inserted on our website and our Facebook Page. It allows Facebook to identify people with similar interests and demographics to our existing supporters and then sends them a Crisis advert. We also use a Facebook API which helps power ad personalisation, optimisation and measurement on Facebook so that our adverts are shown to people who are more likely to be interested in them.

The Facebook ‘conversion’ tool then helps us measure our advert’s success – for example if a donation to Crisis is made. The conversion tool also helps us assess the effectiveness of our social media campaigns and ensures we spend our advertising budget to gain new supporters appropriately.

We also measure the effectiveness of our online advertising through Shopify which shares data with Facebook when someone shops with Crisis.

Crisis will keep under review the ongoing debate about “joint” responsibility for personal data shared with Facebook”

‘Remarketing’ and you

We use the Facebook pixel to help us analyse the success of our advertising campaigns and ‘remarketing’. Remarketing means serving targeted ads to people who have already visited our website or responded to calls to action on it.

How we remarket is shared in detail in our Remarketing and Cookies Policy. Information about pages you have visited on our website and your IP address is shared with Facebook. Facebook then presents you with adverts about Crisis based on this information.

2.2 Telemarketing

We like to telephone our supporters to update them on our latest activities and appeals. To do this we use Ethicall – a company that conducts telemarketing. Before we start any telemarketing, we check our supporters’ names with the Telephone Preference and Fundraising Preference Services, this ensures only people who have not objected to being called, hear from us.

  • During a call Ethicall will check that you are content to continue to receive telemarketing calls.
  • All calls are recorded and sent securely to Crisis. We use these records to confirm that you gave oral consent to update your marketing preferences and to review the quality of the call.

You always have the right to say no to hearing from us and to object to our lawful processing of your information.

To tell us that you do not want to receive any more direct marketing please contact our supporter services team on 08000 38 48 38 or by email on mydetails@crisis.org.uk. You can also let Ethicall know when they telephone you.

2.3 Christmas appeal

Our Christmas appeal is so important to us. It is our biggest fundraising appeal of our year. We rely heavily on contacting existing and new supporters to raise the vital funds needed to help thousands of people not only at Christmas but throughout the year.

We do not keep anyone’s details after this one-time usage unless someone supports us with a donation.

2.4 Business-to-business marketing

Throughout the year and especially at Christmas we contact businesses, schools and churches for help. We may ask if they would like to support us by donating used or new goods, by helping to fundraise for us, or simply by raising awareness of our cause.

To do this we may purchase data lists with generic contact details (emails) of your organisation (eg enquiries@xxschool.sch.uk). If you do not want to hear from us, it’s easy to unsubscribe from receiving these emails at any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email.

2.5 Research and surveys

Your views on the effectiveness of our services and our campaigns to end homelessness are really important in informing the way we work. So, we may occasionally use your contact details to invite your participation in on-line surveys and research.

To do this research, we share supporter information with trusted suppliers like DonorVoice who carry out and evaluate the surveys. Your information is always kept secure and is only used for specific survey and research projects.

Crisis also undertakes research to better understand homelessness. This means that we will decide how your personal information is, collected, used, shared, archived and deleted (processed). When we do this, we will ensure we collect only what is necessary for the project and that you have agreed to this. If any other organisation makes decisions about your information, this will be made clear in the participant information sheet provided to you. For more information, please read our research privacy notice.

Before any research, we will always explain its purpose to you and ask your consent to use your information. You can withdraw from our research projects at any time.

2.6 Wealth screening and financial profiling

Philanthropic supporters

If you are a philanthropist – someone able to make larger gifts to us – we will automatically opt you out of our general fundraising correspondence and organisation-wide mailings. This means all the contact you have with us is completely personalised to you and matches the level of involvement you would like. You can let us know how you’d like to be contacted by the philanthropy team by either calling 020 7036 2620 or emailing philanthropy@crisis.org.uk.

It is also important for us to be able to contact you by post to administer your gift and acknowledge your support. However, if you would rather not receive post, please let us know by either calling 020 7036 2620 or emailing philanthropy@crisis.org.uk.

We may create a profile of you that includes your interests, preferences and the likely level of future donations. We will always tell you if we are holding information about you that we have researched outside Crisis. We will always respect your right to have this information deleted.

We also use research companies. These include Factary, which researches how philanthropists give to other organisations, and FAME and Mouseprice which identify people, trusts or companies with a philanthropic interest in ending homelessness. We use the information gathered to help us shape our fundraising strategy.

2.7 Trusts and foundations

We apply to trusts and foundations for funding towards our services. We research each organisation thoroughly before applying and keep their contact details on our database.

If a trust or foundation rejects an application, we will keep their details and our application information in case we apply to them again. If any trust or foundation does not wish to be contacted by us, we remove them from our active list and delete all personal details.

2.8 Shopping

If you have agreed to be contacted by Crisis on our online shopping marketplaces (eBay, Depop, and Shopify), we will send you marketing information about our wider activities.

You may change your marketing preferences at any time on our ‘contact preference centre’. You can find this at the bottom of every marketing email we send. Our Shopify site may also share data with Facebook so that we can track the effectiveness of our online advertising.

2.9. How long do we keep your personal information?

We only keep your information for as long as necessary to use it for the reasons given in this privacy policy. As a supporter of Crisis this is for as long as your involvement with us, or seven years after your last financial transaction with us.

There are, however, two exceptions.

  1. Where someone has thoughtfully left Crisis a gift in their Will, we maintain our records of that pledge so we can carry out legacy administration and communicate effectively with the families of people leaving us a legacy.
  2. Where someone has kindly added Gift Aid to a donation to us we are required by HMRC to retain those details for seven years after the last donation. If you ask us to delete your details, we must retain a minimum level of information to support HMRC’s legal requirement.

2.10 What personal information does Crisis share with third parties?

Transferring personal information overseas

UK data protection law requires organisations transferring personal data outside the UK to assess whether the hosting country will protect individuals’ data.

UK-based organisations can use previous adequacy findings by the European Commission while waiting for UK government assessment.

Several Crisis contracted suppliers store information outside the EU. For example, when you fill in a data capture form on our website, the data is then transferred securely to our overseas contractors in either the USA or Canada for processing.

The EU has published a partial 'finding of adequacy' for Canada which does not include not-for profits. So, we use contracts to lawfully transfer information to our processor. We ensure that information is secure when being transferred and when stored with the supplier.

When we contract a third party to process data for us, we ensure only the highest standards are in place as part of our procurement processes.

And in the unlikely event of a security breach compromising our protection of personal information we will take immediate action and tell you about it.

Your marketing and communication preferences

We want to make sure the contact you have with us is personal, welcome and relevant. To enable this, we analyse geographic and demographic information and other information including on-line behaviours that relate to you. This analysis includes your previous responses to our marketing communications. Some analysis is based on the information you provide. Other analysis is provided by external organisations who use algorithms to analyse your online interaction with us and your social media use.

It’s vital you can control how we use your personal information for marketing and fundraising.

To update your information about how we contact you, how often and the types of communications you receive, simply log into our contact preference centre, or call our supporter service team on 08000 38 48 38, Alternatively, email mailto: mydetails@crisis.org.uk or use our website to contact us.

Crisis volunteers

1.1 If you visit one of our shops or our cafes

We collect a broad range of personal information from our volunteers including;

  • Your personal contact information (name, email address, phone numbers etc).
  • (Optional) Age, ability, gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

We collect and analyse this information to ensure that all of our volunteers have a positive experience volunteering with us and that Crisis volunteers represent the diversity of the society we support.

1.1 If you visit one of our shops or our cafes

Your visit may be recorded on CCTV. We use CCTV in all our premises for the safety and security of our staff, members, and volunteers. It is also used to support any investigation of criminal activity in or around our premises.

Images are kept for a maximum of 30 days, but retention periods vary from site to site according to what the CCTV system they use.

2.1 Volunteer management   
2.2 How long do we keep your information? 
2.3 What personal information does Crisis share with third parties? 

2.1 Volunteer management

Our volunteers support our Crisis Skylight Centre services all year round, help us fundraise through community and sporting events, and run our shops. Volunteers also make our Crisis at Christmas project an incredible success. Without them it would not have grown the way it has over the years.

We want all our volunteers to be safe and have the best possible time.

So, we use your information to:

  • match you to the correct volunteering opportunities
  • keep you updated through newsletters or dedicated emails

provide you with appropriate training for your volunteer role and to promote our work.

2.2 How long do we keep your information?

We keep volunteer information for four years after your last interaction with us.

If you support us by campaigning on our behalf, we will keep your information for five years after your last campaign activity. This is so we can keep you updated on campaign progress, or about our new campaigns.

If, as a volunteer, you take part in any of our research, we will always explain its purpose and ask for consent to use your information. You may withdraw from a research project at any time. Research will be anonymised and only held for as long it is relevant to our work.

2.3 What personal information does Crisis share with third parties?

We only share volunteer information in limited circumstances. For example, if there is a serious safeguarding issue relating to you as a volunteer – we must refer it to the Government’s Disclosure and Barring Service.

If you volunteer with Crisis, we will always ask for permission to process personal information.

Crisis members (clients)

If you are a Crisis member (client) please follow this link to your dedicated privacy notice where it is available in the most common languages that our members use.

Through Crisis at Christmas we offer our guests organised day centre support and activities, and accommodation where needed in hotels. If you join us as a guest, we will need to collect some personal information to share with hotels to ensure your safety and that of other guests.

During your time with us at Christmas you may receive health support from some of our professional healthcare volunteers. If you go on to work with Crisis after Christmas some health information shared with the healthcare professionals will be stored by Crisis. This is to help our Crisis Skylight services better understand and support you on your journey out of homelessness.

The paper records completed by the healthcare professionals are stored for eight years and then securely destroyed following NHS guidelines.

Crisis also undertakes research to better understand homelessness and improve our services. Crisis are usually the Data Controller for research studies. This means that we will decide how your personal information is created, collected, used, shared, archived and deleted (processed). When we do this, we will ensure that we collect only what is necessary for the project and that you have agreed to this. If any other organisation makes decisions about your information, this will be made clear in the participant information sheet provided to you. For more information, please read our research privacy notice.

Children and young people under 18

We do not knowingly deliberately market to children and young people under 18. However, this age group is increasingly angered by the injustice of homelessness and want to help us end homelessness and fundraise for us.

To celebrate those young people who dedicate their time to supporting us, we have launched the Birch Awards. The nomination process (i.e., where a young fundraisers details are passed to us as being nominated for an award) and assessment involve collecting each young person’s details and sharing them with the judges.

For more details of how we will use young peoples’ details in these awards please see https://www.crisis.org.uk/get-involved/fundraise/the-birch-awards/birch-awards-privacy-notice/