Terms and conditions

Terms and conditions

  1. Members must agree with the general principles of the National Secular Society (NSS).
  2. All new memberships must be approved by the NSS Council of Management (Council), who may reject any membership application without giving a reason. Any fees paid will be refunded.
  3. Any person or organisation wishing to join the NSS must supply their name and address as well as any other information requested by Council.
  4. Members receive our newsletter, Bulletin, three times per year and our annual report. These are usually sent by post but members may choose to receive these by email or not at all. See our privacy policy for more information.
  5. Members outside the UK must pay additional postage costs if they wish to receive postal mailings.
  6. A person must be at least 16 years of age in order to become a member of the NSS.
  7. Joint membership is available to two members who share an address.
  8. Life membership is available only to members of a year's standing.
  9. A person ceases to be a member if they resign membership; fail to pay their subscription (subject to a grace period) or is asked to resign by Council.
  10. Council may not ask a member to resign without giving the member in question proper notice, informing them of the grounds upon which it is made and giving them the opportunity to attend a special meeting of Council convened to consider the matter. A member who is asked to resign may appeal the decision at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) provided they give notice within 28 days of the decision.
  11. Membership fees and donations can be cancelled and refunded in full within seven days of payment.
  12. The rights and privileges of membership are non-transferable.
  13. Members have the right to attend the AGM. Notice and materials are sent to members in advance.
  14. Each individual member has one vote at the AGM. Votes may be made by proxy. No individual may serve as proxy for more than one other person.
  15. Affiliated groups may send one authorised representative to vote at the AGM.
  16. In the event of the dissolution of the NSS, each member is liable for a maximum of £1 towards any outstanding debts or costs.

Any questions about membership and donations should be sent to membership@secularism.org.uk

Who we are

The National Secular Society is a membership and campaigning organisation dedicated to promoting secularism.

The National Secular Society is a data controller under the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). This policy sets out how the National Secular Society (NSS) uses the data it receives from members of the public.

The information we process is data on members, supporters and newsletter subscribers. It is used to process memberships, financial transactions and to gather data on members for internal monitoring and research. Email addresses are used to send newsletters to subscribers and for transactional communications. Postal addresses are used for some member communications.

Lawful bases for processing


One basis for storing data is consent. The information we store is freely given by members of the public. Our bulk email communications such as Newsline and Daily Media Roundup are only sent to those who have signed up to them. Anyone wishing to unsubscribe can use the link in the email or contact the NSS office and ask to be removed from the mailing list. Any person who has previously consented to processing may withdraw that consent and be removed from our database.

On occasion, we may send surveys to members or include survey links in our email newsletters. This is for internal research on members' views or demographic information. We accept that such data is potentially sensitive and it is not a requirement for membership. Those who provide us with this information do so voluntarily and therefore consent to processing. While we may report the overall results of such research, we will keep personal data confidential.


Membership of the NSS constitutes a contract between the member and the society. The NSS articles of association require that each member supplies their name and address. An email address is required for online transactions but this can later be deleted upon request. Members may opt out of mass mailings but we reserve the right to contact members regarding their membership. This may include membership reminders when membership expires.

Any member who wishes to opt out of all contact and/or be removed from our database must first resign their membership. Resignation must be provided in writing to membership@secularism.org.uk or by post to the NSS office.

Legal obligations

We are legally obliged to keep records of financial transactions for 6 years from the end of the financial year in which the transaction took place. We therefore cannot delete data contained within those records. This does not prevent a person who has financial transactions on their record being removed from our database.

Legitimate interests

Members receive our postal newsletter, Bulletin and AGM materials as a routine part of membership and members are presumed to have opted in unless they have requested not to receive mailings. Those who do not wish to receive these by post will receive the email version unless they have also opted out of email or not provided an email address. Anyone wishing to change their privacy settings should email membership@secularism.org.uk .

It is within the legitimate interests of our organisation to retain direct debit mandates indefinitely as proof that we were legally entitled to any money we collected. We also keep records of historic standing order instructions for the same reason (we no longer issue instructions to banks to start standing orders).

We use member's contact details for transactional and membership related communications. Members may opt out of any and all communication methods for most communication types. However, there may be times when we need to contact members about matters related to their personal membership or issues that affect all members, such as policy or fee changes. Such cases will override regular communication preferences.

We may store correspondence for our records.

Third parties

We will not pass your details to third parties for marketing purposes.

We may need to give our IT service providers access to your data in order to ensure the effective running of our systems. Members' data will be passed to a third party for membership postal mass mailings. These companies are GDPR compliant and have provided us with their data protection policies.

It is possible that we may be required by law to share some member data with government agencies, for example, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.

Your rights

Access to information

We can provide you with the information that we hold on you free of charge (although a charge may be made for excessive or repetitive requests). Requests should be made to membership@secularism.org.uk or by post to the NSS office. We will have to verify your identity before we can comply with the request.


We can correct any errors on your record upon request. Please send requests to membership@secularism.org.uk or contact the NSS office by telephone or by post. We may need to verify your identity before we can comply with your request.


You can request to have all or some of your data removed from our systems. We will comply within a month (or three months if requests are numerous or complex). Please note that we cannot delete the names and addresses of current members unless they also resign their memberships. We cannot delete records of financial transactions that are within the retention period required by law nor can we destroy instructions for standing orders, direct debits or any other transaction where we could still be required to demonstrate our legal right to funds.

If a person with financial transactions on their record wishes to be removed from our database, we can comply as soon as financial data is exported (within a month). Transaction details will be retained anonymously.



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Links to other websites

Our website may contain links to other websites of interest. However, once you have used these links to leave our site, you should note that we do not have any control over that other website. Therefore, we cannot be responsible for the protection and privacy of any information which you provide whilst visiting such sites and such sites are not governed by this privacy statement. You should exercise caution and look at the privacy statement applicable to the website in question.

Card payments are taken through our CiviCRM online forms and use WorldPay. For questions related to any payments please contact membership@secularism.org.uk

  • This Guarantee is offered by all banks and building societies that accept instructions to pay Direct Debits.
  • If there are any changes to the amount, date or frequency of your Direct Debit the National Secular Society will notify you 10 working days in advance of your account being debited or as otherwise agreed. If you request the National Secular Society to collect a payment, confirmation of the amount and date will be given to you at the time of the request.
  • If an error is made in the payment of your Direct Debit, by the National Secular Society or your bank or building society, you are entitled to a full and immediate refund of the amount paid from your bank or building society – If you receive a refund you are not entitled to, you must pay it back when the National Secular Society asks you to.
  • You can cancel a Direct Debit at any time by simply contacting your bank or building society. Written confirmation may be required. Please also notify us.

Our campaigning and policy objectives are guided by our General Principles and Secular Charter.

The National Secular Society's General Principles are as follows:

  • The National Secular Society asserts that people of different religions and beliefs and none should be equal before the law, and that a secular state is the best guarantor of this equality.
  • The National Secular Society demands the complete separation of Church and State and the abolition of all privileges granted to religious organisations.
  • The National Secular Society affirms that freedom of expression and the free criticism of institutions and ideas are fundamental human rights essential to a civilised State.
  • Affirming that morality is social in origin and application, the National Secular Society aims to promote the happiness and well-being of humanity.

The National Secular Society's Objectives, as codified by the Secular Charter, are to work for a secular democracy where:

  1. There is no established state religion.
  2. Everyone is equal before the law, regardless of religion, belief or non-belief.
  3. The judicial process is not hindered or replaced by religious codes or processes.
  4. Freedom of expression is not restricted by religious considerations.
  5. Religion plays no role in state-funded education, whether through religious affiliation of schools, curriculum setting, organised worship, religious instruction, pupil selection or employment practices.
  6. The state does not express religious beliefs or preferences and does not intervene in the setting of religious doctrine.
  7. The state does not engage in, fund or promote religious activities or practices.
  8. There is freedom of belief, non-belief and to renounce or change religion.
  9. Public and publicly-funded service provision does not discriminate on grounds of religion, belief or non-belief.
  10. Individuals and groups are neither accorded privilege nor disadvantaged because of their religion, belief or non-belief.

Where indicated, comments from petitions, input forms, "show your support" forms or template letters to representatives, may be used to promote the related campaigns. (NSS Example | NMFS Example).

Comments will be partially anonymised (first name, postal town) and specific information may be removed to preserve this level of anonymity. Please identify in your comment (or email admin@secularism.org.uk) if you do not want your comments used in this way.

Information may be provided to the recipient of the petition for validation purposes.

If you sign a petition, or respond to a "show your support" form, you will receive an acknowledgement and may receive a follow-up email but will not be added to newsletter mailing list unless you subscribe.