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Making our work more unique to you

Making our work more unique to you

We endeavour to provide our supporters with a great experience and communicate with them in the best and most cost-effective way possible to enable us to divert more funds to our vital animal welfare work.

In order to ensure we send communications to you that are relevant to your interests, in line with your preferences and level of potential donations, we may carry out prospect research to ensure we deliver relevant and timely communications to you that you want to receive.

Prospect research involves the gathering of information about an individual or a group of individuals and analysing their characteristics or behaviour patterns in order to understand them, their interests or likely behaviour. It enables the RSPCA to inform the relevance of its fundraising activities and helps us to identify possible new supporters. There are lots of ways that prospect research can be carried out; we use data matching, segmentation and high value donor analysis.


The RSPCA, like many other charities, undertakes research and screening techniques in order to engage with suitable high value donors. We do that by reviewing publicly available information to create a profile of your interests, preferences and your ability to support us, including the amount or level of potential donation or legacy you may be able to give. That research may be undertaken for both existing and prospective high value donors. 

We undertake this research so we can contact you in the most appropriate way and with the most relevant information, which enables us to raise funds sooner and more cost-effectively. This individual approach helps us to provide the best possible donor experience that is aligned with your interests and capacity to give, and it enables us to be more efficient with our resources. We may also use prospect research to exclude people who may be vulnerable from marketing.

We identify potential high value donors in a number of ways:-

  • By carrying out research on donors who have given £1000 or more.
  • By asking our existing high value donors to give again.
  • By inviting potential high value donors to attend our supporter events as a way of engaging them with the work that we do. We also identify potential new donors by researching event attendees who were previously unknown to us.
  • By researching people who have not given to the RSPCA in the past but who we believe may have a connection to our cause and have the capacity to give significantly.
  • By asking our donors and influencers to open up their networks to us.
  • By asking our donors and influencers to introduce us to potential donors we have identified through our research and that they have a link to.

We compile information from a number of sources such as public registers (e.g. listed Directorships and trusteeships on the Companies House and the Charity Commission websites), public LinkedIn and social media profiles, Who's Who, newspaper and online articles. The type of information we collect can include a career overview, gift capacity, areas of interest, history of giving to the RSPCA and others, and public information on any philanthropic activities. We may sometimes use third parties to capture some of our data, but only where we are confident that the third party will treat your data securely, in accordance with our terms and in line with the requirements set out in the UK GDPR. We would then inform you of the processing we undertake when we first contact you and then at further regular intervals throughout the lifetime of our contact with you.

We might also ask existing supporters or volunteers whether they would be prepared to open their networks up to us, and if we discover that someone in our network knows a potential donor that we have identified, we might ask them to facilitate an introduction. Here, we would advise our existing supporters about our data responsibilities and ask them to ensure that the individual in question is happy for an introduction to take place. Following the introduction, we would direct the individual to this privacy notice and confirm their marketing and communication preferences.

Our Philanthropy and Partnerships team foster long term relationships with our existing and potential donors. However, we are committed to ensuring any information collated is not excessive or intrusive, and is sourced reliably and appropriately. We are also committed to only keeping data on individuals with whom we have an active relationship. Where we decide not to make contact, we will delete all personal data obtained, other than basic contact details, to which we will apply a suppression flag to ensure we do not make contact in the future.

Please let us know if you would prefer us not to process your data in this way.

Postcode analysis

We may use the Mosaic, postcode-based segmentation tool from Experian Ltd to understand the demographic make-up of geographical areas of the UK. We use the tool by matching anonymised information for existing supporters to Mosaic. This allows us to get a better understanding of those individuals and how we can best, and most effectively, target our fundraising to reach new supporters and maximise the use of our charitable funds. We also use the demographic information we have learnt to segment our supporter database and this enables us to tailor our marketing communications.

Facebook custom audience advertising

The RSPCA uses social media and other internet platforms to communicate with people and share information about the vital work that we do for animal welfare.

We also use Facebook custom audiences to place targeted adverts in news feeds. This is done by encrypting the personal data of our existing supporters to create an audience; that audience is then linked to Facebook, which will determine if you have an account and if you do, you will be served digital advertising campaigns. For example, if you have previously purchased a ticket for the RSPCA Lottery, we may seek to place an advert promoting the purchase of additional tickets for the latest draw in your Facebook feed.

We only carry out this activity if you have already consented to us sending you marketing via email and we will only serve you content that we think may be of interest to you. Your personal data is also deleted from any applications used to undertake this activity as soon as it is no longer needed for that purpose.

If you do not want your information to be used by us in this way, you can change your marketing communication preferences at any time. You can also manage the targeted advertising you receive from us on Facebook by referring to the instructions provided by Facebook.

Legal basis for processing

The law requires us to only process personal data where we have a valid legal basis for doing so. We only process your information in accordance with the law.

What are the legal grounds for processing personal data?

There are six different legal grounds for processing personal data (plus additional conditions where sensitive personal data is used). The legal basis that we rely on for processing your data will depend upon the circumstances in which that data is being collected and used, but will in most cases fall into one of the following categories:

  • where you have provided your consent to allow us to use your information in a certain way - for example using your image to publicise an event, forwarding your details to one of our branches, or sending you fundraising communications by email or, text;
  • where the processing is necessary for the performance of a contract with you - for example, we will need to process your name, address and other details in order to rehome an animal to you, provide veterinary services or consider an application to work or volunteer with us;
  • where the processing is necessary in order for us to comply with a legal obligation - for example, providing information to HMRC for tax purposes or to police forces for the prevention or detection of crime; or 
  • where it is in our legitimate interests to process your data and our use of that information does not unfairly impact on your rights and freedoms - for example, communicating with you in line with your interests as a supporter by post or phone (including fundraising, unless you opt out, and carrying out research and analysis on the demographics, interests and behaviour of our supporters or those with an affinity with animal welfare to better understand your interests and motivations, based on postcode areas.
  • where the processing is necessary in order to protect someone's life - for example, where we are investigating an animal welfare complaint and an individual connected with the incident raises concerns that we feel should be communicated with the police in order to protect individuals.
  • where the processing is required in order to carry out a task that is in the public interest - for example, this legal basis is relevant to our investigation and prosecutions work, where we are seeking to enforce animal welfare legislation.

Where we process sensitive personal data, the RSPCA will only do so in accordance with one of the additional lawful conditions for processing that type of data. For example, when we have your explicit consent.

What are the RSPCA's legitimate interests?

Personal data may be legally collected and used if it is necessary for a legitimate interest of the organisation using the data, as long as its use is fair and does not adversely impact the rights of the individual concerned.

When we use your personal information, we will always consider if it is fair and balanced to do so and if it is within your reasonable expectations. We will balance your rights and our legitimate interests to ensure that we use your personal information in ways that are not unduly intrusive or unfair.

Examples of the RSPCA's legitimate interests include:-

Our interests: Providing animal welfare services for the benefit of the public.

Data Processing activities: Admitting an animal into our care and/or recording a potential release site, checking and amending microchip details, logging incidents in our database at the National Call Centre, responding to concerns about an animal, updating witnesses of case outcomes and 'Home for Life' placements.

Our interests: Communicating and interacting with our supporters and members of the public.

Data Processing activities: Making supporters aware of our vital work caring for animals and the need for funds to support it, renewals of membership-based services, dealing with complaints, maintaining communication suppressions, facilitating awards based ceremonies, logging calls to our National Call Centre received from the general public relating to potential incidents and checking (and where necessary, updating) the microchip details for animals that have come into our care, sending you campaign emails and inviting you to events.

Our interests: Undertaking research and analysis in order to better understand and communicate with our supporter base and to reach new supporters.

Data Processing activities: Market research, surveys and data analysis in order to understand more about some of our current supporters.

Our interests: Administering and governing the charity.

Data Processing activities: Seeking professional advice and retaining data for historical, scientific or statistical purposes.

Our interests: Managing our operations.

Data Processing activities: Receiving information about job applicants and those applying for volunteer positions and administering supporters' estates and/or gifts in Wills where the RSPCA has been named as beneficiary or executor.

Our interests: Undertaking research on current and prospective supporters

Data Processing activities: In order to understand our supporters better, we may undertake processing activities, including analysis, segmentation and prospect research, using publicly available sources and data tools, to customise the supporter experience. This may involve creating profiles of our individual supporters and we may sometimes use third parties to capture some of our data on our behalf. You can read more about making our work more unique to you.

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