This policy sets out how Autistica uses and protects your personal information, including data from your use of our website.


Autistica is the Data Controller for personal data about supporters, event attendees, grant applicants, volunteers and newsletter subscribers. For the purpose of this document we will use the group term ‘supporters’ to describe any one of these groups.  Our ICO registration number is Z8884467.

We do not trade personal data for commercial purposes and will only disclose it if required by law, if it is necessary to arrange your event attendance, or if it is with your consent. Autistica uses providers based in the European Economic Area to process supporter data.

This policy was updated in March 2018 to show that we are adhering to the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into force in May 2018.

Use the Contact Us form for any data protection queries.

Read more about the data we process and store:

Email subscribers and Discover members

If you subscribe to our mailing list or join our Discover network, you will be automatically be subscribed to receive email updates. You will only receive information that you have opted in to receive. 

Depending on your preferences, we will contact you for the following reasons:

- Research updates
- Opportunities to take part in research
- Autistica campaigns and events

We will give you the option to disclose whether you are autistic or a parent to an autistic child when you register. This is important so that we can send you the most relevant information. You can choose to not tell us this information if you wish.

We use Mailchimp to manage our email marketing. Mailchimp store their data in the US although they comply with the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework and the Swiss – U.S. Privacy Shield Framework. They do share data with third parties. We are in the process of moving to Dotmailer - a UK-hosted email service who will secure, and keep private all data.

We transfer all contacts to our own database, Raisers Edge which is UK hosted. This system is kept updated with your marketing preferences.

You can change your email marketing preferences at any time, by clicking ‘unsubscribe’ or ‘manage preferences’ on any of our emails or by contacting: info@autistica.org.uk

Survey responders

If you take part in a survey run by Autistica you will use service within our email provider - Dotmailer. They hold data in the UK, and are signed up to the EU-US Privacy Shield. They will not share survey data with any third parties.

See Dotmailer’s privacy policy.

If you prefer to submit responses to these surveys in another format, please contact info@autistica.org.uk

We will only re-contact you following a survey if you have expressed consent.

Donors, volunteers and fundraisers

As we get to know you, we will collect the following types of information:

- Name, title/s and full postal address

- Bank, credit card and payment details

- Contact details such as email addresses, social media links and telephone numbers

- Your date of birth

- Information relating to events you may organise such as the event date, the donation collection method, records of the money raised

- Information relating to your health - for example if you are taking part in a high risk event

- How you heard about us

- What kind of connection you have with our charity

- Why you have decided to donate to us - we will never make this question mandatory, and fully understand if you are not comfortable telling us

- Your motivations

- Your feedback from our services or dealings with us

- Contact notes relating to your involvement with the charity or are considering having with our cause

How much of this information we collect depends on the type of relationship you have and the information we build in the course of your relationship with us. 

We do not store sensitive personal information that you share with us unless there is a clear and valid reason for doing so.

We will use your information to:

- Provide you with the services, products or information you asked for

- Administer your contact details and give you the opportunity to change your preferences as well as amend errors and update your data
- Manage donations (including processing Gift Aid)

- Support your fundraising activities

- Help with your activities online Keep a record of your relationship with us (including your feedback)

- Ensure we know how you prefer to be contacted

- Understand how we can improve our services, products or information

- Screen and analyse our supporters against a demographic database for the purpose of segmentation, so that we can efficiently and cost-effectively fundraise, and ensure the most suitable level of marketing is carried out across our entire supporter base

- Flag your data record– for example if you request to be removed from certain mailing lists, opt out of any specific data processing, or if you have special requirements

- Conduct surveys so that we can be sure our customer care and services are maintained to a high standard


We may also use your personal information to detect and reduce fraud and credit risk, or for due diligence purposes. 

We need to keep the details of financial transactions for 7 years after the financial year of a donors last gift, in the event of a tax or banking enquiry. We will only contact you to thank you. If you say that you would like to hear from us, you will be added to our email subscriber list and will receive regular updates and fundraising asks. You can change your preferences on these updates at any time.

If you make a personal one-off gift of £500 or more, we will treat you as a major donor. Read our Major Donor Privacy Policy.

Contact form users

If you get in touch with us via the contact form on the website, we may save the details you share with us on our database. This way, if you get in touch with you in future we can refer to our previous conversations. We will not contact you or share your details without asking for your consent.

Website visitors

We use Google Analytics (GA) to track site user interaction. We have GA code installed on our site which creates one or more text files on your computer (called a “cookie”). The cookies contain an ID number which is used to uniquely identify your browser and track each site you visit that has GA enabled.

We use this data to determine the number of people using our site and to better understand how they find and use our web pages. With this information we can continually improve the information that we provide on our site and the processes for actions such as contacting us and donating. We can also use it to increase the number of new people finding our site.

Google analytics stores the following data:

- Time of visit, pages visited, and time spent on each page of the webpages

- Interactions with site-specific widgets

- Referring site details (such as the URL a user came through to arrive at this site)

- Type of web browser

- Type of operating system (OS)

- Flash version, JavaScript support, screen resolution, and screen color processing ability

- Network location and IP address

- Document downloads

- Clicks on links leading to external websites

- Errors when users fill out forms

- Clicks on videos

- Scroll depth

Google also collects information about you from its Doubleclick tracking and profiling service, from ad-supported apps on your Android or iOS device, from your YouTube and Gmail activity and from your Google account. This data is put together and used to make inferences about your age, gender, interests, hobbies, shopping habits and living circumstances.  

Your rights
If you already have GA cookies, they will be updated with the latest information about your visit to the site.

As we cannot access any personal data about you ourselves, we are not the Data Controller for your Google Analytics or Doubleclick profile data. You would need to contact Google directly for this information.

You have the right to object to this tracking and to stop it happening.

If you would like more detail about the methods used however, please get in touch at info@autistica.org.uk.

How do I prevent being tracked by Google Analytics?

If you are uncomfortable with this tracking, you can take the following actions:

- Use a tracking-blocker, such as Privacy Badger

- Clear cookies after every browsing session

- Install the Google Analytics opt-out extension

Researchers who join Discover

If you join our Discover network, you will be automatically be subscribed to receive email updates. You will only receive information that you have opted in to receive. 

Depending on your preferences, we will contact you for the following reasons:

- Research updates

- Opportunities to take part in research

- Autistica campaigns and events

We will give you the option to disclose what stage your are at in your career. This is so that we can send you the most relevant information. You can choose to not tell us this information if you wish.

We use Mailchimp to manage our email marketing. Mailchimp store their data in the US although they comply with the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework and the Swiss – U.S. Privacy Shield Framework. They do share data with third parties. We are in the process of moving to a UK-hosted email service who will secure, and keep private all data.

We transfer all contacts to our own database, Raisers Edge which is UK hosted. This system is kept updated with your marketing preferences.

 You can change your email marketing preferences at any time, by clicking ‘unsubscribe’ or ‘manage preferences’ on any of our emails or by contacting: info@autistica.org.uk

Researchers who apply for funding

We store your data on a database called Salesforce. Salesforce comply with compliance with the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework.

We will only contact you regarding your application. If you wish to hear from us about future funding opportunities, you will need to join Discover.

Facebook users

You may come across Autistica naturally on Facebook through your own networks, or you may be presented with an ad from us. We target ads at audiences that look like they have an interest in autism. We do this to inform, educate and engage new potential supporters.  

Facebook is a hugely valuable tool for us and for the community that we serve, which is why we use the platform. Facebook however is a commercial company. We want to remind our users that formation that shared on timelines, on our page or  in private messages may be used or sold by Facebook for commercial purposes. 

Event attendees

When you attend an Autistica event, we will need your name, email address and in some cases your payment information. We will use this information solely for the purpose of administering the event. We delete event attendance data at the end of every year. We use Eventbrite to manage event registrations. They may contact you about other events that may be of interest to you, but only if you opt in when you register with them. Read Eventbrite's privacy policy

If you are a speaker at an Autistica event, we will publically promote your involvement via Twitter, LinkedIn and emails to our supporters. This data may continue to be processed by those platform providers after the event has ended.

Employees and job applicants

If you apply to work at Autistica, we will only use the information you give us to process your application and to monitor recruitment statistics. If we want to disclose information to someone outside Autistica - for example, if we need a reference, or need to get a ‘disclosure’ from the Criminal Records Bureau - we will make sure we tell you beforehand, unless we are required to disclose this information by law. 

If you are unsuccessful in your job application, we will hold your personal information for 12 months after we’ve finished recruiting the post you applied for. After this date we will destroy or delete your information. We keep de-personalised statistical information about applicants to develop our recruitment processes, but this does not contain any information that could be used to identify individual job applicants.

If you begin employment with us, we will put together a file about your employment. We keep the information in this file secure, and will only use it for matters that apply directly to your employment. 

Once you stop working for us, we will keep this file according to our record retention guidelines. You can contact us to find out more about this.

Your rights

As an individual whose personal data is processed by Autistica you have the following rights:

If you are not happy with the way we have handled your data, and are unable to resolve the issue with us personally, you can complain to the ICO.