Privacy Policy

Our Privacy Policy

Your privacy is important to us and we want  you to know what type of information we collect and how we manage the information you share with us. We’ve created this Policy to reflect recent changes in data privacy laws.

This policy was created and instituted as of August 6, 2018. It follows the July 31, 2018 incorporation of Focus on the Story as a registered nonprofit organization in the District of Columbia.

If you have any questions about our policies, please email us at with “PRIVACY” in the subject field.

Future Changes to This Policy

We may update this Policy from time to time. If we do, we’ll let you know about any material changes, either by notifying you on the Site or by sending you an email. New versions of this Policy will never apply retroactively — we’ll tell you the exact date they go into effect and we’ll also keep copies of the old policies available for viewing. If you continue to subscribe to Focus on the Story’s email updates, enter contests or register for workshops or events, after a change, that means you accept this Policy.

Who We Are

Focus on the Story is an independent, nonpartisan, non-profit organization committed to using the power of photography to spark discussion around the important issues of our day. Located in Washington, D.C., Focus on the Story supports and encourages photographers of diverse backgrounds to explore visual storytelling’s critical role documenting the world around us and its ability to spur social change.

What Information We Collect

Focus on the Story, and the third-party platforms we use to help send our marketing  emails, analyze web traffic, manage photo contests and process our payments,  collect information from you when you visit and use our webite. This can happen when you:

  • access, browse, and use our website;
  • place an order and/or make a payment;
  • sign up for our mailing list;
  • read an email or respond to a survey;
  • leave a comment on a blog post;
  • enter a contest or register for a workshop or event;
  • or participate in another feature on our website

When you subscribe to our mailing list, we collect your email address, which is processed by MailChimp, a third-party email marketing platform. When you subscribe, you are also asked to choose how we may contact you e.g. email, direct mail or customized online advertising. MailChimp allows you to update your preferences and also provide additional information, such as your name, address and phone number, if you so choose. To update your preferences, look for the link in the footer of the emails sent out through the MailChimp platform. You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails.

Periodically, we also run photography contests that require entrants to provide certain information, including your name, email address, and the city and country in which you reside. We also give you the option of providing us the URL to your personal website, your Twitter user name, your Instagram user name and a short personal bio. We request this information so that we may credit your images and help promote your website and social media accounts.

We sometimes use third-party platforms to manage our contests. In the past, we’ve used and By entering our contest, you are agreeing that we may add your data to our mailing list to receive our emails. You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails.

Some of our contests require an entry fee and ask that you make payment online. Focus on the Story partners with other companies (such as PayPal and Webconnex) for payment processing and, in some cases, we rely on third party platforms, such as and, to accept and process payments. The payment information you submit to these third parties  is collected and used by them in accordance with their privacy policies.

We also collect data when you register for some of our events, including but not limited to our annual photo festival, workshops, gallery openings, book signings and speakers. By registering for our event, you are agreeing that we may add your data to our mailing list. Registration and payment for some of our events is handled by third-party platforms, such as and, the information you submit to these third parties  is collected and used by them in accordance with their privacy policies.

For some of our destination workshops, we ask that you send us a scan or picture of your passport signature page. We do this so that we can verify that you have a valid passport and will be able to travel to the location of our workshop. It also allows us to verify the information we need in order to purchase airline or train tickets on your behalf. The scan or image of your passport page may be downloaded and stored on a Focus on the Story hard-drive for a limited time. We delete all passport scans and images once the workshop travel arrangements have been made.

None of the information that we collect from you in any of the situations described above is ever shared or sold to a third party. We will never sell your data.

Additionally, we allow third-party platforms to use cookies on our site that allow us, through these platforms, to track and analyze how visitors use and interact with our site. We do this through Google Analytics and HubSpot, a customer relations management system. Google Analytics allows us to see the IP Address of visitors to our site, along with the day and time they visited and what pages they visited. HubSpot collects data on people who signup for our mailing list, including how they were referred to our site and what pages they visited on our website during their initial visit.

We use this information to help us determine how people are using our site and how they learned about us. That, in turn, can affect how we do future outreach to potential visitors to

How We Use This Information

We send regular emails to our mailing list, these may include newsletters that update subscribers on our activities, as well as announcements,  fundraising solicitations and calls to take a certain action, such as signing a petition. By sending our emails through MailChimp, we have access to certain analytic information regarding our email campaigns. This includes whether are not you opened our email and how many times you opened it, and what links you clicked within the email. We use this information to help us optimize our emails to make them more effective. For example, we can compare different email blasts to see which ones performed better and whether such variables as the time they were sent out had any impact on open rates.

Our Legal Basis for Collecting Your Information

Data protection law in Europe requires a “lawful basis” for collecting and retaining personal information from citizens or residents of the European Economic Area. Our lawful basis include:

Legitimate interests: This is a technical term in data protection law which essentially means we have a good and fair reason to use your data and we do so in ways which do not hurt your interests and rights. We sometimes require your data to pursue our legitimate interests in a way that might reasonably be expected as part of running our organization and that does not materially impact your rights, freedom or interests.

We analyze how users interact with our Site so we can understand better what elements of the design are working well and which are not working so well. This allows us to improve and develop the quality of the online experience we offer all our users.

How This Information Is Shared

We do not share any of the information you provide to us publicly, with the exception of contest entries. In the case of our contests, we may publish an image you submitted, along with information that identifies who took the image, what city and country they are from and the URL to their photography website or social media account. When you enter one of our contests, we make it clear that this information, along with your submitted image may be shared on our website, or in one of our print publications.

Information that’s shared to protect Focus on the Story and comply with the law

We do reserve the right to disclose personal information when we believe that doing so is reasonably necessary to comply with the law or law enforcement, to prevent fraud or abuse, or to protect Focus on the Story’s legal rights, property, or the safety of Focus on the Story, its employees, users, or others.

Links to other websites and services

Our Site may include links to other websites or services whose privacy practices may differ from Focus on the Story. When you use a link to an external site or service, the privacy policy and data processing disclosures for that site or service governs.


We will retain your information on our mailing list until you unsubscribe. MailChimp will also remove people from our mailing list if email to their address can not be delivered, which could mean the email used to sign up to the mailing list is no longer valid.

We will also retain and use this information as necessary for the purposes set out in this Policy and to the extent necessary to comply with our legal obligations, resolve disputes, enforce our agreements and protect Focus on the Story’s legal rights.

Your Rights

Users residing in certain countries, including the EU, are afforded certain rights regarding their personal information. Except where an exception or exemption applies, these rights include the ability to access, correct, and request deletion of your personal information. While these rights are not applicable globally, all Focus on the Story users can manage their personal information, as further described below.

You can request a downloadable copy of your personal data from Focus on the Story by sending an email to To modify or delete the personal information collected through MailChimp, look for the link in the footer of the emails sent out through the MailChimp platform. You may unsubscribe from our mailing list at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails.


We take security seriously, and the security of your personal data is important to us. We follow industry-standard practices to protect the data we collect and maintain, including using Transport Layer Security (TLS) to encrypt information as it travels over the internet. No method of transmission over the internet or electronic storage is completely secure, so Focus on the Story cannot guarantee its absolute security.

Data Protection Officer

To contact our Data Protection Officer, please email