Data Protection Statement

Data protection statement for alumni and supporters

At the University of Cambridge, philanthropy has driven impact for more than 800 years. The University and Colleges have a responsibility to serve an increasingly global society. Since the University was founded in 1209 the work of Cambridge scholars has had a profound effect upon the world. Cambridge scholars pioneered new interpretations of scripture, identified the building blocks of life, the origins of the universe and the origins of man. They invented the computer and the web cam, the rules of football and the jet engine. The impact of all of these things ancient and modern continues to resound around the world, just as our current work in clean energy, transport and food security will touch the lives of millions for generations yet to come.

Cambridge in America advances the mission of the University of Cambridge and its thirty-one member Colleges by providing expertise in fundraising and alumni relations and by growing the base of support for Collegiate Cambridge among alumni and friends in North America.

This statement explains how Cambridge in America ("we" and "our") handles and uses the personal data we collect about Cambridge alumni and our past, current and future supporters, whether donors, volunteers or participants in membership groups that we run ("you" and "your"). Developing a better understanding of our alumni and supporters allows us to keep in touch with you, to keep you apprised of our activities and developments, to provide services to you, and to identify ways in which you can support us, through donations or other forms of financial and non-financial support.

We are committed to protecting your personal information and being transparent about what information we hold. This statement sets out how we use your personal data for fundraising and alumni relations purposes.

Personal data held by Cambridge in America

We may hold information relating to you from a number of sources. Some of the information we hold on alumni is that which you provide to us (for example, you may give us information by filling in forms on our website, or by corresponding with us by telephone, email or otherwise).

Most records contain:

  • details of your education (e.g. your College(s), the courses you have completed, dates of study)
  • unique personal identifiers and biographical information (e.g. student number, date of birth)
  • your contact details (and we update these whenever you let us know that they have changed)
  • details of your interactions with the University and Colleges, including:
    • your membership of clubs, societies, and alumni groups
    • your attendance at College or University events
    • other contact with us or our partners (as listed below)
    • details of benefits and services provided to you
    • your relationships with other alumni or supporters of the University and Colleges
  • details about your family (e.g. your marital status, the name of your partner or spouse)
  • personal data provided by you for a specific purposes (e.g. disability and dietary preferences for event management purposes)
  • your communication preferences, to help us provide tailored and relevant communications. We also record, where applicable, based on information which you provide to us and, in some cases, publicly available information and information from our partners (as listed below):
  • financial information relating to you and your family, including:
    • your history of donations made to the University and Colleges
    • your ability and willingness to make donations, including our assessment of your income and whether particular donations or funding appeals may be of interest to you
    • your philanthropy and other giving, including donations to other organisations and other support that you provide (e.g. details of volunteering roles)
  • your career highlights and other life achievements
  • information about your areas of interest and extra-curricular activities

We augment the data we hold from the University and the Colleges with data from our partners (as listed below) and publicly available data.

We use targeted internet searches and may search the following websites (either directly or using search engines), where relevant in order to obtain and maintain the accuracy of the data listed above:

  • Public sources for companies (in order to find personal data of those companies' employees, etc.):
    • Companies House and other business-related resources (free and subscription) for UK companies
    • US Securities and Exchange Commission for US companies
    • Company websites
  • Public sources for charities, foundations or trusts (in order to find personal data of those charities' employees, trustees, etc., and to find information about donations and support):
    • Charity Commission and other internet sources for UK non-profits
    • GuideStar US for US non-profits
    • NOZA (subscription) data on individual charitable contributions
    • Foundation Directory/Corporate Giving Online (subscription) data on charitable giving by foundations, trusts and corporations
  • Public sources for individuals:
    • Other rich lists, including Forbes Magazine’s international rich lists
    • Property websites
    • National change of address services
    • LinkedIn, to check business details
    • WealthEngine FindWealth 8 (subscription) wealth indicators derived from a collection of publicly available sources
  • Press sources:
    • Inside Philanthropy (subscription) industry publication covering grantmaking sector
    • Factiva (subscription) for international press
    • Lexis Nexis Development Professional (subscription) a collection of databases that contains property records, stock holdings, campaign contributions, corporate records, and court (federal & state) filings, company affiliations a directors, bios, news and periodical sources (both US and international)
  • Government Sources:
    • Secretary of State Corporation/Business Entity Government sites locate information on business and not-for-profit corporations (including tax-exempt), limited partnerships, limited liability companies and limited liability partnerships, as well as other miscellaneous businesses registered with the state.
    • Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) the largest independent regulator for all securities firms doing business in the United States. Includes a searchable database of brokers and brokerage firms registered with FINRA.
    • FAA: Federal Aviation Administration website includes a searchable registry of aircraft and its owners. Another source of possible wealth when researching prospects.
    • State Tax Assessor Databases: Many states and municipalities have online accessible searchable databases of property assessments.

How your data is used by Cambridge in America

Your data is used by us for a number of interdependent purposes in support of alumni relations, supporter communications and fundraising. These include:

  • sending you publications (e.g. alumni magazines and updates about the University and Colleges)
  • conducting surveys, including research on when and whether particular donations or funding appeals may be of interest to you
  • sending you tailored proposals, appeals and requests for donations
  • sending you details of volunteering opportunities
  • inviting you to alumni and other events
  • wealth analysis and research in order to improve our understanding of our alumni and supporters, inform our fundraising strategy and target our communications more effectively
  • internal record keeping, including the management of any feedback or complaints
  • administrative purposes (e.g. in order to process a donation you have made or to administer an event you have registered for or attended)

Before seeking or accepting major donations we are required to conduct due diligence, including reviewing publicly available personal data relating to the donor's criminal convictions and offences.

Communications to you may be sent by post, telephone or electronic means (principally by email), depending on the contact details we hold and the preferences expressed by you about the types of communications you wish to receive.

If you have concerns or queries about any of these purposes, or how we communicate with you, please contact us using the details listed below.

We may use automated or manual analyses to link data together to help us identify your potential for supporting the University and Colleges, to provide you with an improved experience, to send you communications which are relevant and timely, to identify volunteering opportunities or opportunities for providing support which may be of interest to you, and to avoid approaching you with opportunities which are not of interest. All of this enables us to raise more funds, sooner, and more cost-effectively, in support of the strategic research and teaching objectives of the University and Colleges. We always seek to ensure that any opportunities we present are aligned with your interests, based on the research we conduct.

We will always respect a request by you to stop processing your personal data, and in addition your statutory rights are set out below.

When we share your data with others (our partners)

We share the above categories of data with the University and Colleges. We work closely with the University and Colleges to provide our shared alumni and supporters with a coordinated approach. Cambridge in America and the Colleges have access to the University’s database, and we maintain other electronic and paper records. Any transmission of data to or from the University and Colleges is managed through agreed processes that comply with relevant data protection legislation. The University and each College has its own data protection statement and procedures.

Additionally, we share data on a considered and confidential basis, where appropriate, with:

  • affiliated organisations and individuals which support and provide services to alumni and supporters, such as:
    • volunteer partners closely related to us (e.g. development and advisory board members, alumni societies and alumni group representatives)
  • third parties engaged by us to provide fundraising related services, such as:
    • third party agencies who provide us with data about alumni and supporters
    • consultants advising us on individuals’ capacity to donate
    • other contractors providing services to you on our behalf or services to us
  • selected companies who provide mailing services for the organization

How we protect your data

We ensure we have appropriate data sharing agreements in place before sharing your personal data.

We do not sell your personal data to third parties under any circumstances, or permit third parties to sell on the data we have shared with them.

We also facilitate communication between individual alumni, but in doing so we do not release personal contact details without prior permission.

Any transfers of your data overseas (outside of the European Economic Area), for example to an international alumni organisation, as set out above, are protected either by an 'adequacy decision' by the European Commission (declaring the recipient country as a 'safe' territory for personal data) or by standard contractual clauses adopted by the European Commission (which give obligations for the recipient to safeguard the data) or, before 25th May 2018, based on our self-assessment of the risks involved with the transfer and its determination that the data will be adequately protected during and after the transfer. Further information about the measures we use to protect data when being transferred internationally is available from us (contact details are set out below).

Your rights

You have the right to:

  • ask us for access to, or rectification or erasure of your data
  • restrict processing (pending correction or deletion)
  • object to communications or direct marketing
  • ask for the transfer of your data electronically to a third party (data portability)

Further information

The legal basis for processing your personal data for the interdependent purposes set out above is that it is necessary for the pursuit of our legitimate interests. We always handle your personal data securely and minimise its use, and there is no overriding prejudice to you by using your personal information for these purposes. In addition, there is no statutory or contractual requirement for you to provide us with any personal data.

The controller for your personal data is Cambridge in America, and we can be contacted at

Please contact us at if you have any concerns or questions about the above information or you wish to ask us not to process your personal data for particular purposes. Where you have specific requests relating to how we manage your data, we will endeavour to resolve these, but please note that there may be circumstances where we cannot comply with specific requests.

We will retain your data indefinitely in support of your lifelong relationship with the University and Colleges or until you request us to do otherwise. We will publish on our website any changes we make to this data protection statement and notify you by other communication channels where appropriate.

Where you exercise your right to erasure, we will continue to maintain a core set of personal data (name, subject(s), matriculation and graduation details, unique University identification number and date of birth) to ensure we do not contact you inadvertently in future, and to maintain your academic record for archive purposes. We may also need to retain some financial records about you for statutory purposes (e.g. Gift Aid, anti-fraud and accounting matters).

If you have any concerns about your personal data held by the University or your College, you will need to contact them separately.