Development and Alumni

How we use the information we hold

We process personal data about you in order to deliver and improve the opportunities and services we provide in a personalised manner, to ensure each individual receives timely and relevant information, and to ensure we use resources in the most efficient and effective way.

Personal data is processed by us to:

  • maintain a register of General Council members and keep members up to date with activities;
  • provide you with any services or information you have requested;
  • inform you about news, activities, programmes, events, opportunities, services or fundraising that we believe would be of interest to you;
  • understand how we can improve services, impact and outcomes for you, the University and its members;
  • further our aims, including for a range of student support, teaching, research, capital and local community projects, through the use of mail, email, telephone, events and face-to-face meetings;
  • administer any donation you make to the University;
  • support any fundraising activity you undertake on behalf of the University;
  • comply with charitable and other regulations and policies that we are subject to, including OSCR and HMRC regulatory purposes, money laundering regulations and University fundraising policies.

General Council register

Under the Universities (Scotland) Act, the University must maintain a register of General Council members. The General Council was constituted in 1858 and consists of graduates, honorary graduates, academic staff and members of the supreme governing body of the University, the University Court. It has a statutory right to comment on matters which affect the well-being and prosperity of the University, with the aim of ensuring that graduates have a continuing voice in the management of its affairs.

The General Council


From time to time we undertake alumni or supporter consultations in the form of a survey, census, questionnaire or feedback, that provide us with the information we need to maintain and use accurate information about you, and improve our services, impact and outcomes for you, the University and its members.

Publishing information

If you have previously studied at the University and choose to submit an alumni profile, or otherwise choose to support or engage with the University in its activities or with its services, we will not publish this information on our website, publications, donor boards (or other forms of donor recognition), or in our communications unless you have consented to this.

Due diligence prior to accepting donations

We carry out due diligence on current and potential donors to consider whether the sources and purposes of prospective donations, fundraising and other funded activities are legally and ethically acceptable. This is carried out in line with the University’s Income Due Diligence Group procedures.

The University’s Income Due Diligence Group

Analysing information

We analyse website visits and use tools, such as Google Analytics to help us understand what is of interest to people and to improve people’s experience when visiting our website. This data is anonymised and we cannot identify individuals.

Google Analytics (external link)

The University's website terms and conditions of use

We may analyse the data we hold to help us improve the effectiveness of our communications, including analysing whether emails we send are opened and which links are clicked on.

Categories of recipients of personal data

We may pass your personal data to other parties who process data on our behalf. Where we do this, a written contract will be put in place between the University and the service provider to set out the purposes for which the information can be used and the security measures that must be in place. This contract will ensure that the service provider agrees never to use your data for any additional purpose not set out in the agreement with the University.

Categories of recipients of personal data include:

  • Mailing houses to send our publications and fundraising appeals;
  • Alumni clubs who are arranging reunions or other events on behalf of the University;
  • University of Edinburgh Regional teams, such as the North American Office – University of Edinburgh Inc., our office in the USA that has an independent 501(c)(3) status in the United States;
  • Volunteers including, but not limited to, reunion organisers who are volunteering on behalf of the University;
  • Payment providers for the processing and collection of donations;
  • Providers of our software and platforms used to provide our services and bulk email communications;
  • From time to time, we may use an external service provider to supply a new address, telephone or email address for individuals with whom we have lost contact, or verify existing contact information;
  • From time to time, we may use an external service provider to supply additional research capability.

IT systems

The University is made up of many services and departments who collect, process and store your data in a variety of sub-systems to deliver their services. These local systems are part of a corporately supported IT architecture which maintains a live service as well as copies of the live systems used for software development, testing and training. These systems will also contain your data and respect the retention periods of the live systems. It is in the legitimate interest of the university to use your data in this way to ensure that the services you interact with are secure and provide the best experience we can deliver.

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