Supporter FAQs

How your money is spent

How much of each £1 donated is spent on fundraising?

We know it is important to all of our generous donors that every penny donated to us counts. For every £1 raised through donations, 71p goes directly to survivors of torture. The remaining 29p goes toward the maintenance of our five National centres and raising more funds.

For every £1 we spend on fundraising, we raise £3.58

How much do you spend on appeals?

Thank you for being so thoughtful about our work. We plan every fundraising appeal to our supporters very carefully, so on average each appeal to our current supporters generates 3.5 times in donations as we spend on the cost of the mailings.  These funds go straight to work helping survivors of torture. We quite understand that not all our donors will feel able to respond every time, but we send the appeals and newsletters so you can also keep up to date with our work and so survivors of torture have a platform to tell their stories.

Why is The Survivor the size that it is?

The Survivor is an A4 send-out because many of our supporters have said they do not have the best eyesight. We want to make it as easy as possible to highlight the work that we do, with photos and stories of survivors, and we have found that having an A4 newsletter is the best way to do this.

Why do you send thank you letters?

Freedom from Torture supporters have proven to be generous, passionate, and above all selfless. Whilst we appreciate you do not give your support in order to be thanked, we want to ensure you feel appreciated and have a receipt of your donation for your own records. You are such an important part of the organisation and you deserve our thanks. Many supporters like to have a record of their gift and much of the time, the thanks you receive is on behalf of our clients. They want to express their gratitude, and they are able to do that through the thank you letters we send.

Communications methods

Why do you call supporters by phone?

We will be contacting supporters who have indicated they would be happy to hear from us by phone once a year. We will only contact you if you have given explicit consent to do so, to tell you about how you have helped, how you can further help survivors or to update communication or gift aid details.

We run all our supporters’ phone numbers through the telephone preference service (TPS), so if you have signed up to TPS, we will not call you for marketing reasons unless you have opted in to hear from us by phone as your opt-in overrides the TPS registration. Since 25 May 2018, when data regulations changed, we do not call any Freedom from Torture supporters for marketing reasons unless we have your consent.

For our telemarketing campaigns, we have chosen to work with a company called Return Fundraising. We have chosen Return Fundraising very carefully. Their fundraisers have met our staff, clients and have come in to our London centre to learn all about our charity. They are very invested and local to us (only 1 mile away!) They are members of the Institute of Fundraising and are registered with The Fundraising Regulator. This is the Return Fundraising Promise. We listen in on their calls regularly to make sure we are happy with the way they are speaking with supporters and follow up any queries immediately.

Why do you mail supporters?

Our biggest source of income is mainly small donations from individual people and we receive much more in voluntary donations from individuals than trusts or grants. We plan every fundraising appeal to our supporters very carefully, so on average each appeal to our current supporters generates 3.5 times in donations as we spend on the cost of the mailings. These funds go straight to work helping survivors of torture.

We quite understand that not all our donors will feel able to respond to each of the appeals and newsletters we send out, but as each appeal features real stories about the people you help, they are a great way to keep up to date with our work and read stories from survivors themselves.

Two or three times a year, we also send a mailing to people who may not have heard of Freedom from Torture before. This is a larger, crucial investment as each year Freedom from Torture naturally loses supporters as they pass away or can no longer afford to donate. These mail outs to people who have not heard of us before mean we can gain new supporters each year to make sure that Freedom from Torture’s voluntary funds do not drop and we can continue to fund services that help people who have been tortured.

Why do you email supporters?

Emailing supporters is the most cost-effective way of staying in touch, and allows us to link to our website and social media pages to ensure supporters have all the latest updates.

Why do you use ‘face to face’ fundraisers?

One of the ways we raise money is by meeting supporters at retail outlets, festivals and events. This kind of fundraising is really important to us – it provides a cost-effective way of increasing the number of regular givers to Freedom from Torture so we can help people who have been tortured. This year we are working with a professional fundraising company called One Sixty who have experience working with some great charities like Practical Action, Action Aid and Unicef. We personally train all face-to-face fundraisers and are committed to the highest standards of fundraising practice. All One Sixty staff will wear official ID badges with our phone number on so you can call us to check. This year we will be fundraising at various retail outlets in London and surrounding areas.

Why do you use third-party agencies for fundraising?

Using third-party agencies enables us to get the specialist help we need, but cannot afford to keep year-round internally. The benefits of using third parties are that we are able to work with specialists and experts for a set time. We are a small charity (compared to many), working right here from our London centre along with therapists and clients. We do not have internal telemarketing teams or fundraising designers in-house so using a third party means we can dip in and out – only paying for these services when they are needed. By accessing, and paying for, expert advice or services on specific projects we can use funds more effectively, covering what is needed at that time, rather than a year-round internal resource.

Communications preferences

What is GDPR?

GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation. It is a law that we must abide by to make sure supporters personal details are safe, and only used in a way they would expect.

On 25 May 2018 data protection law (GDPR) changed to make sure people have more control over the post, telephone calls and emails they receive.

Freedom from Torture has sent a number of postal campaigns, emails and checked in with supporters by phone to update their communication preferences. It is important that we get up to date preferences from all supporters – or we might lose touch.

The only instance where we will continue to contact supporters without a communication update (consent) is by post to people who have made two positive actions towards Freedom from Torture, one of which is in the past two years.  These two positive actions indicate to us that you are still interested hearing about our work. On interpretation of legitimate interest guidelines for postal communications, those could include:

  • Donating (including two regular gift donations)
  • Writing a message of support
  • Signing a petition
  • Taking part in an event
  • Updating communication preferences

For supporters to continue to receive emails, phone calls, or post (if they have not made a positive contribution in the past 24 months) they need to contact Freedom from Torture to ‘opt in’.

We will be contacting our supporters again in cycles, in order to ask for fresh and updated consent for phone calls and emails. However, if you would like to give this consent before then, please do get in touch with us so we can contact you by these means again.

If you would like more information about GDPR and your rights, please get in touch with our Supporter Care Team on 020 7697 7788 or [email protected]

Making donations

I’d like to change my regular gift/start a regular gift

If you would like to make a change to your regular gift, please contact our Supporter Care Team on 020 7697 7788 or [email protected]. We just need to know the new amount you would like to give and the date you would like this to be effective from. We can also help with setting up a new regular gift; your chosen amount can be taken at the beginning, middle or end of the month. It can be monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or annually.

Can I make an oral Gift Aid declaration?

We understand in some cases it is easier for donors to provide a Gift Aid declaration verbally, e.g. when making a donation over the phone. Verbal declarations include the same information as hand-written or online declarations. We will send or give you a written confirmation of a verbal declaration. This will include the same information as hand-written or online declarations.

I would like to make a donation via bank transfer

Thank you so much for your support. If you would like to send us your funds via a bank transfer (BACs), just provide your bank our bank details below:

Bank:   NatWest          

Huntingdon Branch

92 High Street


PE29 3DT

Sort code: 60-11-30

Account number: 04877608

So that we can track your transfer and thank you for your support, please include your name and post code as payment reference. Alternatively, you can email us on [email protected] and inform us of when you made the donation.

Recycling for Freedom from Torture

Can I send you my old phone/printer/etc. to recycle?

Thank you so much for thinking of us. Unfortunately, we do not arrange mobile phone recycling, as we would have to send a bulk sack of phones (more than 10kg) and there is not that much demand. We currently send jewellery and foreign coins to Recycling for Good Causes.

However, Recycling for Good Causes also have a collection service, which allows you to recycle a wider range of items. They can provide you with a free collection sack and collection leaflets in which you can place Jewellery, Currency, Stamps, Mobile Phones, Sat Navs, Video/Film/Digital Cameras, Game Consoles, iPods, MP3 players and Laptops and Tablets.

This includes broken or damaged items and provides an excellent option for those looking to have a clear out or raise funds in the wider community. All that is required is a simple phone call or email to request a sack, and another when your sack is between 10-30kg and is ready for collection.

Perhaps you could get your local school, place of worship or community centre involved in raising funds for Freedom from Torture! Call Recycling for Good Causes on 0800 633 5323 or email: [email protected] to find out more.

Recycling for Freedom from Torture

You can donate all your broken and unwanted jewellery to raise money for Freedom from Torture. If you have any gold, silver, odd earrings, broken chains, costume jewellery and watches, you can recycle them at no cost to you whilst making money for Freedom from Torture.

Can I send in games, old books, and clothes for torture survivors to use?

That’s a kind offer, but we are a therapeutic organisation and do not have the capacity or space to store these type of items. We treat our clients equally, and believe it is not fair to distribute to some individuals and not others.

Your privacy

Do you share my data?

We do not share any data with third parties for marketing purposes. Our privacy policy can be found here.

What is the MPS?

The Mailing Preference Service (MPS) is a free service set up 20 years ago and funded by the direct mail industry to enable consumers to have their names and home addresses in the UK removed from lists used by the industry. It is actively supported by the Royal Mail and all directly involved trade associations and fully supported by The Information Commissioners Office.

What is the TPS?

The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) is a free service. It is the official central opt out register on which you can record your preference not to receive unsolicited sales or marketing calls. It is a legal requirement that companies do not make such calls to numbers registered on the TPS.

We do however contact our supporters if we have their consent to call them. This overrides the TPS register as our calls are solicited. If at any time you would like to change this, please let us know by getting in touch on 020 7697 7788 or [email protected]

Why do we buy data?

In order to continue our work, helping people who have been tortured, we need to contact new people who may not have heard of Freedom from Torture before to see if they would like to support us. Like any charity, each month we will lose some supporters as they find they can no longer financially support us, we lose contact or they sadly pass away.

Based on research about the people who support us, we choose to contact people who may be interested in helping Freedom from Torture due to their other interests and other charities they give to. Each person we contact has signed terms and conditions or a disclosure statement at some point in the past, which means their details, can be shared by a company or charity they have been in contact with. We never share our supporter’s data. We are only able to see 1 in 3 torture survivors that ask for our help so we want to share our work with more people and build on our support.


I’d like to volunteer

We have volunteering opportunities in our London office throughout the year to help us with one-off or peak activities, projects or events for which we could do with short-term support and expertise. If you are interested in volunteering with us, please keep an eye on our vacancies pages as we advertise these opportunities there when they are available. Our vacancies page can be found here.

Why don’t you just use volunteers?

We do have 122 volunteers and 170 paid staff, which is a very high volunteer to staff ratio. The average cost would be less if we were able to use all volunteer therapists but our experience has been that we need to work with a mix of paid and volunteer staff. This is because most volunteers are only able to contribute one day a week to Freedom from Torture and we need a core full-time staff to provide continuity to the professional teams.

About torture survivors

Where are most people from?

We have many torture survivors referred to Freedom from Torture. The most referrals received were from Sri Lanka; however, the following countries were also in the top 10 countries:

  • Iran
  • Afghanistan
  • Nigeria
  • DRC
  • Turkey
  • Iraq
  • Pakistan
  • Syria
  • Sudan

Where do child torture survivors live?

All the young people we help who are under 18 are in the care of the local authority (just like any child in the UK). So many are placed in foster care, other young people are housed in appropriate housing depending on their age. Many of the young people we help have social workers or foster parents who we work closely with, which is very important as we are the only charity in the UK caring for survivors of torture.

Do we support child survivors of torture too?

Yes, sadly, we do have dozens of unaccompanied children referred every year because they have either witnessed or suffered torture. We also help family groups that include children.

About our organisation

What is the difference between Freedom from Torture and other organisations that focus on issues related to torture?

At Freedom from Torture, (formerly the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture) we provide direct care for people who have survived torture through a range of therapies, medical assistance and practical help. There are six Freedom from Torture centres working with torture survivors across the UK. We also speak out against torture; report on what is really happening in other countries and campaign for the rights of survivors.

Can’t torture survivors get the help they need from the NHS and social services?

The NHS often refers survivors to us and other organisations because of the high level of specialist care and knowledge we can offer to meet such complex needs. Torture survivors need time – sometimes it takes weeks, or even months, for them to find the courage to talk about what has happened – we can be here for them. It has taken more than 30 years for us to amass the expert knowledge that we now share through training staff in other organisations and agencies, to improve care and support. Working with survivors of torture requires multi-cultural knowledge and appropriate training to address the complex and diverse needs of each individual. Because of the holistic services, we offer we are able to help each person as a whole, taking into account how their medical, emotional and practical needs are interlinked.

How many centres are there?

In the early 2000s, a change in government policy to disperse asylum seekers around the UK meant that Freedom from Torture needed to adapt by opening centres in key 'dispersal areas', in order to meet the needs of torture survivors. There are five centres spread across the nation. For more information, please see below: