Privacy Notice

Read about how we process personal data and find out about your rights.


This notice outlines the University’s processing activities relating to the University’s Development & Alumni Relations Office and covers the following:

  • Overview
  • The basis for processing your personal data
  • Personal data we collect about you and how we use it
  • Disclosure of personal data
  • Retention of personal data
  • Your rights including access to your data
  • How to contact us


The University of Sussex is registered as a data controller with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Our registration reference is Z6428144.

You can refer to the University’s Data Protection Policy for more information about our commitment to processing personal data in a way that is compliant with data protection legislation. This includes the Data Protection Act 2018, the UK General Data Protection Regulation (‘UK GDPR’) (as implemented by the Data Protection Act 2018), and the EU General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679.

The Data Protection Officer for the University of Sussex is Alexandra Elliott, Head of Information Management and Compliance. If you have any queries concerning your personal data and how it is processed, you can contact the Data Protection Officer at

The University of Sussex Development & Alumni Relations Office (“we”) is committed to respecting any personal data you share with us, or that we get from other organisations, and keeping it safe. We aim to be clear and transparent when we collect your data and not do anything that you would not reasonably expect.

Reference to “information” in the remainder of this document means personal data.

Your information may be used to send you details of products or services that we offer that we have identified as likely to be of interest to you, but you will only be contacted according to the preferences you submit when providing your information. If you would like to change these preferences (for example opt out of receiving some communications or change channels used for contact) at any point, you can:

  • Use the link on the bottom of the last email you received from our Development & Alumni Relations team
  • Use Study/Sussex Direct to update your preferences if you are a current student
  • Contact us on +44 (0)1273 678258 or

The basis for processing your information

We process your information in connection with our development and alumni relations activity largely on the basis that we have legitimate interests to fulfil our mission (to advance learning and knowledge by teaching and research to the benefit of the wider community) as set out in our Royal Charter. We carefully balance our legitimate interests against your data protection rights, and we use your information in ways that you would reasonably expect with a minimal privacy impact.

The legitimate interests of the University are to:

  • Preserve and promote relationships with former students (“alumni”), supporters and friends of a leading teaching and research university with the purpose of serving an increasingly global society
  • Reach our goal of nurturing life-long mutually beneficial relationships between the University and our alumni, supporters and friends
  • Fulfil our responsibility, as a charity and as required under 10(8) of our Royal Charter, to fundraise from philanthropic individuals and organisations, while making judicious use of the University’s limited fundraising resources
  • Elicit non-financial support, such as careers advice to students and help with student recruitment
  • Advertise and promote alumni and supporter events and reunions
  • Distribute University mailings, e.g. magazines, alumni newsletters, annual reports, and message forwarding (without unlawfully disclosing your information)
  • Promote benefits and services available to alumni from the University or selected third parties

Where we collect information about you from

We collect information in the following ways:

When you leave a course of study at the University of Sussex, the Institute of Development Studies or the Brighton and Sussex Medical School

Your information may be transferred to the Development & Alumni Relations Office database (“alumni database”), from the University’s Student Records system, after you complete or leave your course of study. At that point, the alumni database becomes the primary record of your ongoing relationship with the University, unless and until you commence another course of study at Sussex.

When you give it to us directly

You may give us your information in order to sign up for one of our events, register as a user of our Online Alumni Portal (previously known as SussexSphere), make a donation, complete one of our forms or surveys, or communicate with us. Sometimes when you support us, your information is collected by an organisation working for us (for example a fundraising agency), but we are responsible for your data at all times.

When you give it to us indirectly

It is likely that photographs will be taken at our public and alumni events. Any resulting images taken of you attending an event may be included in future publications or on the University's website. Notices will be posted at events and information made available if you do not wish to be included in any of these images. You can also opt out by contacting the Corporate and Alumni Events Team at

Your information may be shared with us by independent event organisers, for example, the Brighton Marathon or fundraising sites like JustGiving or Hubbub. These independent third parties will only share your data with us when you have indicated that you wish to support the University of Sussex and with your explicit and informed consent. You should check their privacy notice when you provide your information to understand fully how they will process your data.

When you give permission to other organisations to share or it is available publicly

We combine information you provide to us with information available from external sources. This is known as data- or tele-appending and enables us to contact you in the event that you change your address or phone number, or didn’t provide it to us. We also use this information to ensure that our communications reach our alumni and supporters and maximise the efficiency of our activities.

The information we get from other organisations may depend on your privacy settings or the responses you give, so you should regularly check them. This information comes from the following sources:

Third party organisations

You may have provided permission for a company or other organisation to share your information with the University specifically or with ‘other organisations’ more generally. This could be when you buy a product or service (for example post redirection service) or sign up with a networking site (for example LinkedIn, Graduway/”Sussex Connect”).

Social Media

Depending on your settings or the privacy policies for social media and messaging services like Facebook or X (formerly Twitter), you might give us permission to access information from those accounts or services.

Information available publicly

This may include information found in places such as Companies House, the Electoral Register, company websites, rich lists, social networks such as LinkedIn, political and property registers, and news archives.

Information we collect about you

The information we collect includes:

  • Biographical information
  • Your gender
  • Contact details
  • Information about your time at the University, and other education history
  • Your views on, and affinity and engagement with the University
  • Your photograph
  • Your professional activities
  • Membership of groups, such as the Suss-ex Club and the Buzz Club
  • Current interests and activities, which may include extracts from related media stories
  • Family and spouse/partner details, and whether they are also Sussex alumni
  • Relationships to other alumni, donors and friends
  • Donor status, research and fundraising reports/briefings and wealth assessment information, indicators of your interest in giving, ethical and reputational risk analysis (commonly known as due diligence)
  • Records of communications, meetings and marketing activities by the University
  • Volunteering by you on behalf of the University
  • Registration and attendance at events, and any additional information you provide to facilitate event attendance (e.g. dietary requirements, access/mobility needs)
  • Donation details if you express an interest in supporting, or make a donation to the University. 

The way we use your information

Building profiles of supporters and targeting communications

We use profiling and screening techniques to ensure communications are relevant and timely, and to provide an improved experience for our alumni and supporters. Profiling also allows us to target our resources effectively, which donors consistently tell us is a key priority for them. We do this because it allows us to understand the background of the people who support us and helps us to make appropriate requests to supporters who may be able and willing to give more than they already do. Importantly, it enables us to raise more funds, sooner, and more cost-effectively, than we otherwise would.

When building a profile we analyse geographic, demographic and other information relating to you in order to better understand your interests and preferences and contact you with the most relevant communications. In doing this, we use additional information from third party sources when it is available. Such information is compiled using publicly available data about you, for example addresses, listed Directorships or typical earnings in a given field.

Fundraising, supporter research and wealth screening

As a fundraising organisation, we undertake in-house research and from time to time engage trusted third-party specialist agencies to gather information about you from publicly available sources. We carry out research using publicly available information to identify individuals who may have an affinity to our cause but with whom we are not already in touch. This includes people connected to our current major supporters, trustees, or other lead volunteers. We also use publicly available sources to carry out due diligence on donors in line with our Donations Policy and to meet anti-money laundering regulations.

This research helps up to understand more about you so that we can focus conversations we have with you about fundraising and volunteering in the most effective way and ensure that we provide you with an experience which is appropriate for you.

We believe that collecting this type of information is in the reasonable expectation of our alumni or supporters, and is in the public interest or for the wider benefit of society. If you prefer we don’t use your information in this way, please contact us on +44 (0)1273 678258 or

If you make a donation to the University, you have the option of deciding whether your name can be used on donor lists or other stewardship materials.

Direct marketing

Through our marketing communications we will let you know about news of the University, our students, staff and alumni, make you aware of opportunities to attend events and take part in different activities, as well as to ask for donations or other support (such as volunteering). Under UK and EU data protection legislation, these communications are considered to be ‘Direct Marketing’.

We make it easy for you to tell us how you want us to communicate, in a way that suits you. Our forms have clear marketing preference questions and we include information on how to opt out when we send you communications. If you don’t want to hear from us, let us know at the point when you provide your information or you can contact us on +44 (0)1273 678258 or

Sharing your story

Some people choose to tell us about their experiences while studying at Sussex or as a Sussex supporter, for the purposes of advancing the University in its mission. They may take on a role as an Alumni Consul or Volunteer Speaker, sit on Advisory Boards or act as an informal advisor or advocate for the University.

We use some of the information provided to invite you to become involved in relevant opportunities.

If we have your explicit and informed consent to share your story, this information may be made public in University publications, marketing or communications, or at events.

For statutory, ranking and accreditation purposes

The University is required to disclose some information of graduates to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) for the purpose of a survey of new graduates. Details of how HESA processes your information and for what purposes, and your rights in relation to your information, please see HESA’s Data Protection Collection notices.

If you are a former student of the Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS), your alumni record will be held in our alumni database, where it is accessible to selected BSMS staff. If, when you enrolled at BSMS you were assigned to University of Brighton for HESA recording purposes we may share some of your data with University of Brighton, to enable them to fulfil their statutory obligations.

The University participates in national and international surveys for some of its programmes to rank the quality of its teaching, learning and research, for example the annual Financial Times Rankings or the annual QS Global Employer Survey. These rankings are important as they inform university league tables and rankings to illustrate and promote the value of our qualifications.

These surveys are important for us in promoting the reputation of the University’s research and programmes. In such instances your name and email address may be shared with the survey body in order to contact you for your opinion, or we may forward you a survey link directly to you. Your information will be shared with the survey body for this purpose only and we will email you before we share your details to provide you with an opportunity to manage your preferences and with a direct link to the survey provider’s privacy information. These rankings are important as they inform university league tables and rankings which help to illustrate and promote the value of our qualifications.

How we keep your data safe and who has access

We ensure that there are appropriate technical measures in place to protect your information. For example, our online forms are always encrypted and our network is protected and routinely monitored.

We undertake regular reviews of who has access to information that we hold to ensure that your information is only accessible by appropriately trained staff, volunteers and contractors.

We use selected external companies to collect or process information on our behalf for specific purposes – for example, our Raiser’s Edge database is hosted and supported by Blackbaud. We do comprehensive checks on these companies before we work with them, and put a contract in place that sets out our expectations and requirements, especially regarding how they manage the information they collect or have access to.

If you are a member of the alumni community of, or have donated to, the Institute for Development Studies (IDS), which is a charity in its own right and is separately registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office, your information held by the University will be shared with IDS under a Data Sharing Agreement which requires them to provide assurances of protection of your information. We have similar safeguards in place for members of the Suss-Ex Club (former staff society) and students, prospective students, parents, alumni and donors who have interactions with the Friends of the University of Sussex, which is an independent charitable organisation under section 501(c)(3) in the United States.

Whenever we use any third-party company which is based inside or outside of the UK, for example for mailing purposes, we make sure that the contractual arrangement with them meet all requirements of the UK data protection legislation, including appropriate security measures in place and your information only kept for as long as needed.

The Development & Alumni Relations Office regularly review its use of your information in relation to data protection legislation. This is with the aim of ensuring that adequate controls are in place. In addition to this, we never sell your data to third party organisations.

Keeping your information up to date

Where possible we use publicly available sources to keep your records up to date; for example, the Post Office’s National Change of Address database and information provided to us by other organisations as described above.

We really appreciate it if you let us know if your contact details change.

Retention of your information

We consider our relationship with alumni, donors and other stakeholders to be lifelong. This means that we will maintain a stakeholder record for you until such time as you tell us that you no longer wish us to keep in touch. In this instance we will delete the majority of your information we hold, but will maintain basic personal data to ensure that we do not inadvertently create a new record in the future.

Your rights including access to your information

You have a number of rights under the data protection legislation, including the right to:

  • Rectify inaccuracies in personal data that we hold about you
  • Have your data erased in some circumstances
  • Restrict the processing of your personal data in certain ways
  • Obtain a copy of your personal data
  • Object to certain processing of your personal data by us

You have a right to ask us to stop processing your information. If you do so, we will delete the majority of your information we hold if it’s not necessary for the purpose you provided it to us for (for example processing your donation or registering you for an event), but will maintain your education record (if you are an alumnus/a) and basic information to ensure that we do not inadvertently create a new record for you in the future.

Contact us on +44 (0)1273 678258 or if you would like to make any changes to the information we hold about you.

Changes to this privacy notice

We may update this Privacy notice from time to time. If we make any significant changes in the way we treat your information, we will make this clear on the Sussex website or by contacting you directly.

Further information can be found in the University’s Privacy notice.

How to contact us

If you have any questions about this Privacy notice or the information we hold about you at  Development & Alumni Relations Office, you can contact us on +44 (0)1273 678258 or You can also contact the University’s Data Protection Officer by email at or you can write to Alexandra Elliott, Data Protection Officer, University of Sussex, Sussex House, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9RH.

This policy was last updated in March 2024.

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