Social media and web advertising

Custom audiences

We occasionally use a “custom audience” program  which enables us to display adverts to our existing supporters and volunteers on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. We provide personal information like your email address, and they match this to your account. You will then be presented with an advert which we think you may be interested in – for example if you are a London Marathon participant, we may present you with some top tips to reach your training goal. Your data is sent in an encrypted format which is deleted by the social media platform if it does not match an account.


We sometimes share with a social media platform (e.g. Facebook) the email addresses of people who have registered on one of our events, donated or volunteered with us. The emails are used by the platform to find people who are similar (in profile) to that audience. This is an effective way for us to raise funds and find more people who might like to partner with us in the fight against poverty. Your data is sent in an encrypted format and will only be used for this purpose.


VSO have cookies on some pages of our website, which allows us to collect information about the pages you’ve visited on our website. This may for example include where you’ve visited our volunteer application page, but haven’t submitted your application. You may then be presented with adverts on a social media feed, or when you visit another website.

When you first visit the VSO website, you can choose to not consent to Cookies being used for this purpose.

Read our cookie policy for more information. 

Opting out

There are a few ways you can prevent the use of your data for building look-a-like audiences, or for targeted adverts.

At any point, you can contact our Supporter Care team on the contact details below. Alternatively, you can do this directly with the social media platform:


Updating your preferences with VSO will not guarantee that you never see VSO content on social media, since the social media site may select you based on other criteria, and without your data being provided by us (for example interest targeting).

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