Privacy and Cookies Policy

The privacy of our children and donors is very important to us, as is being transparent in our approach to these matters. This page explains our privacy policy in a way which we hope is detailed yet easy to understand.

Short version

  • We protect the privacy of our children by not giving too much personal information or using their real names in public documents. We only use photos which we feel are appropriate and where we have the relevant permission.
  • We protect the privacy of our donors by respecting their communications preferences, taking great care to ensure their information is secure, and never sharing this information without express permission.
  • We automatically collect statistics about visitors to our websites and recipients of our emails. This helps us run our websites efficiently and improve how they work.
  • We never share data with third parties except to help us deliver our own services.

These are just the key points, keep reading for more detail.

Detailed version

Protection of children

As a child charity we try to protect the privacy of our children and avoid giving too much information on individual children in our general publications. We have a clearance process for the use of photos and in general avoid using the children's real names (except for the personal information sent to child sponsors). We only use photos where we have relevant permission. Some photos used on our website are of children who have since grown up, and are no longer recognisable.

Charity data protection policy

We only send mail, whether by post or electronically, to people who have indicated that they are happy to hear from us. We give everyone an opportunity to state their preferences on our use of their details and strictly respect those preferences. Please contact us if you would like to change your preferences.

Personal data that SOS Children collects is not distributed, shared, rented or sold to companies or organisations that are not a part of SOS Children's organisational structure except for organisations involved in the technical delivery of our IT services.

We also try to avoid sending emotive or "negative" messages or images to people (and especially never send "Chate" or Charity "Hate mail"). We receive plenty of very sad stories in our office from field workers dealing with African Aids orphans etc but we feel that most people are aware that there are cases of desperate need, and find "in your face" appeals intrusive. We try to ensure that people receive good news about some of the positive progress being made for vulnerable children by SOS Children.

Information collected automatically

We automatically collect information about your visit to our site. This information is used to make your visit to our site more efficient, and to help us follow browsing preferences on our site so that we can make regular improvements. We may also automatically log your IP address, a unique identifier for your computer or other access device.

Our email distributor, MailChimp, includes an image in our emails to help monitor what proportion of people read them. If your email client is configured to load images automatically, or you choose to load images for our emails, then when you open the email a request is sent to their server that identifies that you have opened that email.  We use these statistics to help judge the success of our emails and improve future communications.

Use of cookies on our website

What is a cookie?

A cookie is a small file containing a string of characters that is sent to your computer when you visit a website. When you visit the website again, the cookie allows that site to recognise your browser. Cookies may store user preferences and other information.

How do we use cookies?

Our online donation forms use cookies to uniquely identify visitors and to record preferences such as the country in which a donation should be used, or the village in which a sponsor would like to support a child. Cookies are also used to record the webpage which referred each visitor to us.

Our cookies don't store sensitive information such as names, addresses or payment details. Any visitor can block our cookies by changing the settings within their browser. Each browser is different, so we recommend consulting for more details and browser-specific instructions.

Pages featuring videos may store Flash local shared objects, which are similar to cookies, to remember user preferences and to provide usage statistics.

Do any third parties set cookies on our websites?

Some third party applications used on our websites may set cookies on certain pages so that we can use their services to improve our websites or offer additional functionality to our users.
Partner name What their cookies are used for
 Google Analytics To help us analyse how visitors use our site, and enable us to show adverts to people who have previously visited our site. These cookies are specific to our websites and visitors are not tracked across websites belonging to other Google Analytics users. 
 'Share' tools - Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Google+ If visitors share our content on social networks using the 'Share' tools on our pages then they may be sent cookies from these websites. We don't control the setting of these cookies and recommend visitors check their social network website for more information about their cookies.
 Youtube Some of our pages feature videos embedded from YouTube, a video hosting service from Google, which uses cookies to remember user preferences and provide analytics on videos usage.
 MailChimp Our mailing list archives are provided by MailChimp, our email distributor, and these pages set cookies for analytics and to remember which MailChimp server is hosting the archive in question.

In addition to the cookies used on our website we undertake a limited amount of advertising through Google Adwords, an advertising platform provided by Google, which makes use of cookies. Advertisements are displayed alongside Google search results and a cookie is set when someone clicks on an advertisement. We do not set these cookies but do make use of them in analysing which adverts are most successful.

Managing cookies

Our cookie policy was framed in view of the widespread acceptance of cookies across the internet, the ability of any individual surfer to set their PC to refuse cookies and the fact that it allows us to further reduce our fundraising and administration costs. 

For further information about cookies and for an explanation of how you can restrict or block them please visit

We are open to any comments on this policy, please do not hesitate to get in touch with your views about it.


Make a difference to an ongoing emergency or when a new disaster hits by making a donation to SOS Children’s emergency relief projects.