Frequently Asked Questions

About Donating

  1. For just £150 you can provide free surgery that will change a child’s life forever.

  2. We are grateful for all donations, no matter what amount and we promise to use them to help the world’s poorest children.

  3. Cheques or money orders should be made out to Smile Train UK.

  4. Donations from the UK: Smile Train UK, York House, Wetherby Road, York, YO26 7NH.

  5. Smile Train UK: York House, Wetherby Road, York, YO26 7NH.

    Smile Train World Headquarters: 633 Third Avenue, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10017.

  6. Yes. Our registered charity number in the UK is 1114748

  7. If you are a UK taxpayer and would like Smile Train UK to reclaim tax on all donations you make, you must pay an amount of Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax at least equal to the tax that Smile Train UK reclaims on your donation in the appropriate tax year. Currently 25p for every pound you give. You must indicate on the donation form that you would like your donation to receive Gift Aid when making the donation. Learn more about Smile Train's Gift Aid policy.

  8. As long as you provide an address with your donation, we’ll send you a receipt.

  9. Smile Train is a member in good standing of the Fundraising Regulator.

  10. For more information on how to make a stock donation, please contact Maria Dumitrescu at

  11. Yes, if you'd like to make a donation using PayPal, please visit our online donation form and select PayPal under 'How Would You Like to Pay?'

  12. Your solicitor will need the information below:
    Official Organisation Name: Smile Train UK
    Address: York House, Wetherby Road, York, YO26 7NH
    Phone:0300 303 9630
    Registered Charity No. 1114748
    Registered Company No. 05738962

    To receive a brochure about leaving a Legacy Gift to Smile Train, please contact Maria Dumitrescu at or call 0300 303 9630.

  13. Please call us at 0300 303 9630.

  14. For more information about our Smile of the Month Club, please visit our Monthly Giving page or call 0300 303 9630.

    Please click the following link to sign up via post:

    Direct Debit Form

  15. You can contact your HR department to find the rules and related forms required to participate.

  16. Visit our JustGiving page.

  17. Our latest Annual Reports and Financial information is available on our Financials page.

  18. Smile Train is actively seeking monthly supporters via face-to-face fundraising. We are currently recruiting monthly donors in a Private Site campaign in the London area. This method of fundraising has proven to be effective in introducing people to our work. We understand that this fundraising technique may raise some questions, and the information below is intended to answer them.

    This type of communication allows you to engage one-on-one with a Smile Train fundraiser. A Smile Train fundraising representative will speak to you in order to explain more about our work. These representatives will also collect donations via direct debit. This type of communication allows you to speak directly to a knowledgeable Smile Train fundraising representative about ways to get involved with Smile Train, and will allow you to donate with confidence – knowing that your gift will be put to use to help provide children with new smiles.

    How will I know if they are a legitimate Smile Train fundraising representative?

    Fundraising representatives will:

    • Be properly dressed, wearing either a polo shirt, tabard or scrubs with the Smile Train logo printed on the front and/or back.
    • Wear an ID badge with the agencies logo and the fundraiser's name, ID number and photo.
    • Ask for regular, monthly gifts via direct debit.
    • If you have any questions or concerns about one of our fundraising representatives, please contact our Supporter Care team on 0300 303 9630.

    Is my information confidential?

    Yes, all financial information is confidential. Donating through our face-to-face fundraising program is an effective way to support Smile Train’s mission. Smile Train and our vendors are all compliant with regulations for financial data security and meet industry regulations related to face-to-face fundraising.

    I donated through the face-to-face fundraising program. How do I make a change to my donation?

    Please contact us on 0300 303 9630 or email us at Be sure to mention that you donated with one of our Private Site fundraisers. You will need to provide your name, address, contact information and donation information.

    Who is conducting fundraising on behalf of Smile Train?

    Our team of fundraisers is supplied by One Sixty Fundraising and Personal Fundraising Services.

About the Children

  1. In order to provide as many surgeries as quickly as possible, Smile Train suggests that all donations be unrestricted. However; if restricting your gift to a specific country is important to you, please contact us at 0300 303 9630 or and we will do our best to accommodate your request.


  2. In order to provide as many surgeries as quickly as possible, Smile Train helps every child that comes to us, regardless of sex. We are unable to restrict donations to a specific gender.

  3. A few months after your donation we will send you a picture and a story of a child we were able to help following your donation. Hopefully you can display the photo in your home as a happy reminder that there is a child smiling today thanks to you.

  4. At the present time it is not possible for us to restrict individual donations for specific children. What we can promise you is that we will use your donation to help a child in need who would otherwise never be helped. Your support will have a very dramatic, immediate and permanent impact on their life.

  5. Smile Train does not release contact information for the children that we help to maintain their privacy and uphold their patient confidentiality.

  6. We test the results of all our advertising and our research and analysis demonstrates that advertisements that include only before photos significantly increases the amount of money we raise to help these children.

About Fundraising and Volunteering

  1. We would love to involve you as a volunteer so you can hold a special fundraising event for us. We will send you a fundraising kit and give you advice and tips along the way. Whether it is sending an email to all your friends, introducing us to your employer or clients, or hosting a fundraising event, any and all help you can give us is greatly appreciated. To request a fundraising kit, email

  2. Customisable fundraising pages can be created on JustGiving. You can upload pictures, descriptions of your fundraising event, see who donated, post comments and updates, and set up a personalised URL to link to your social media page. To create your customisable online fundraising page, log into JustGiving and you will be guided through the process.

  3. Yes! We're on most popular social networking sites, such as:


    Please "Like" us on Facebook, and you can mention us in tweets by typing @SmileTrainUK.


About Smile Train

  1. You can read Smile Train's mission here

  2. Smile Train was founded in 1999. Since then, Smile Train has grown into the world’s leading cleft charity, helping over 1,500,000 desperately poor children with clefts, training thousands of medical professionals and establishing hundreds of programmes in the world’s poorest countries.

  3. Smile Train does not sell or share donor details with anyone.

  4. Smile Train is committed to providing free cleft surgery to the poorest people in the world and each step Smile Train makes is dependent on voluntary funding through fundraising and we are committed to the highest standards. We operate within fundraising guidelines set down by the Charity Commission, the Institute of Fundraising, and the Fundraising Regulator and strive to ensure all our fundraising activity is open, fair, effective, and honest.

    If you have any concerns about a Smile Train fundraising activity, dislike the way you have been asked for a donation or are in any other way dissatisfied about our fundraising, please reach out to us as detailed below.

    Step 1 - Tell us about your concerns

    The easiest way is to contact a Smile Train team member. They will respond to issues around Smile Train’s direct marketing fundraising (such as mailings, telephone calls), but you can also contact them about any aspect of Smile Train’s fundraising. You can contact the team:

    • Email -
    • Telephone 0300 303 9630
    • Write to: Smile Train UK, York House, Wetherby Road, York, YO26 7NH

    Step 2 - Make a formal complaint

    To make a formal complaint about any aspect of Smile Train’s fundraising activities, contact the Director, Fundraising:

    Ian Vallance
    020 3805 7785

    We will do our best to resolve any issue as quickly as possible and to your satisfaction. The receipt of your complaint will be acknowledged within 5 working days. The Director, Fundraising at Smile Train will oversee the investigation of any formal complaint to ensure it is fairly investigated. Upon completion of any necessary investigation, we will report the outcome to you directly, including the action taken to investigate your complaint, the conclusions and any action taken as a result of your complaint. We aim to resolve all complaints within 28 days of receipt.

    Step 3 - Contact the independent Fundraising Regulator

    The Fundraising Regulator is an independent body that works to ensure that charities raising money from the public do so honestly and protects the public, donors and potential donors, not least those who may be vulnerable, from unacceptable fundraising practices. If you wish to raise a complaint with the Fundraising Regulator, please contact them below:

    The Fundraising Regulator
    2nd Floor
    CAN Mezzanine Building
    49-51 East Road
    London N1 6AH

    Tel: 0300 999 3407

  5. Smile Train is the first cleft-focused global NGO with a sustainable model of treatment through empowering local medical professionals. Since our founding in 1999, Smile Train has supported more cleft surgeries than all other global charities combined. The traditional mission model of flying doctors in for short-term treatment programmes is NOT cost effective or sustainable. Smile Train has always championed partnering directly with local hospitals to strengthen health systems and empower local medical professionals to offer surgical services and comprehensive cleft care to children in their own communities. Supporting Smile Train gives a child access to a full range of cleft treatment services they would otherwise never receive and ultimately the opportunity for a better quality of life.

About Clefts

  1. A cleft occurs when certain body parts and structures do not fuse together during foetal development. Clefts can involve the lip and/or the roof of the mouth (which is made up of both hard and soft palate). Clefts are a common birth difference with an estimated 200,000+ new babies with clefts born every year globally. The vast majority of these children will never receive the reconstructive surgery they need and will live their entire lives with untreated clefts. This is often due to poverty, limited awareness and lack of medical resources, but Smile Train is working 365 days a year to help these children in need.

  2. Babies are born with clefts everywhere in the world including the UK, but you seldom see untreated clefts in the UK and the West because they are treated soon after birth. Clefts are usually NOT treated in developing countries because most of the families are too poor to afford surgery and the government will not provide free surgery.

  3. Instead of doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that, like many charities, Smile Train decided to choose one specific problem that affects children and try to solve it. 
    We chose clefts because:

    • By focusing on clefts, we can be much more effective and productive - we know and work with major cleft surgeons, hospitals, charities, research programmes and educational institutions all over the world.
    • Clefts are a significant problem affecting the lives of millions of very poor children.
    • The cure for clefts has already been found: a simple surgery that can cost as little as £150.
    • The impact of cleft surgery is dramatic, immediate and permanent! This is one of the best low-cost, high impact interventions in the world - a true modern day medical miracle that changes a child’s life forever.
    • Once a cleft is treated, it never comes back!



  1. Smile Train works in the poorest countries in the world. View a list of our worldwide medical partners and programmes.

  2. It’s easy. Our Smile Train partners and programmes are listed here. You can find the partner nearest the child and contact them directly or you can contact our Programmes Department at

  3. Virtually all children in the UK are covered by the NHS. Your local accredited craniofacial/cleft team can help you figure out not only what treatment is needed.

  4. Our website has the names and contact information for accredited cleft teams in the UK, PLUS we have thousands of pages of invaluable articles, medical information, resources and links for cleft patients and their families.

  5. Many of the experts in the cleft world are actively investigating etiology and prevention of cleft. We support their work and hope one day they will find a solution. For now, we know there are many factors, including genetics, family history, environment and nutrition which may increase or decrease the likelihood of cleft lip/palate. A few studies have found a potential link between folic acid and cleft lip and/or palate, whereas others have found no correlation. What we do know is that folic acid plays a critical role in embryonic development, before and after conception. Clefts develop very early in the first trimester, and many women may not even know they are pregnant when the cleft is formed, making early intervention difficult. While Smile Train does not have a folic acid distribution program, we work to raise awareness about cleft and treat cleft through surgery and ancillary treatment such as speech therapy and orthodontic treatment.

  6. We use all kinds of proprietary technology to save money and do things faster, cheaper and smarter. Instead of mailing patient charts all over the world we built a digital patient database called Smile Train Express that's on the Web. Our partners upload all of their patient records to us via the Web, which not only saves millions in shipping, handling and storage costs, but also allows us to review and monitor the quality of their work.

  7. When Smile Train was founded in 1999, we were only able to offer the initial surgery, but as we have expanded and our resources have grown, we are very happy to be able to provide not only free follow-up surgeries, but also speech therapy at a number of our partner hospitals. As the children get older, they sometimes need follow-up surgery as their bodies and mouths develop and therefore we do provide free surgery for the children that have already been through our programmes.

  8. Please contact us!
    We would be happy to answer your questions! 
    Smile Train UK York House, Wetherby Road, York, YO26 7NH
    Phone: 0300 303 9630