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Raising money by organising a collection.

Collections can be an effective way of raising money. They can be cheap to run and can help raise your profile in your area. Standing on your local high street means you can talk to people and let them know what you do. Collections are a form of direct marketing – marketing your cause on a one-to-one basis with your donor.

How to run a collection

You don’t need to spend much money to run a collection. The main financial costs are:

  • tins or buckets for people to put money in
  • visual identification for your volunteers.

Nevertheless, your collection will require a big investment of time and people.

Getting the most out of your collection

Understand the law

Follow the Fundraising Regulator’s Fundraising Code of Practice on public collections. This includes details on how to identify your fundraisers (eg with ID badges).

Pick the right location

Where can you find lots of passers-by who are likely to give money? Think about your cause and where you can find people who are likely to be sympathetic to it. 

Get permission

If you’re fundraising within private property, such as a supermarket or station, get permission from the owners/managers in advance.

Pick the right time

09.00 on a Monday morning may not be the best time to stand outside a station. Think about when people will have time to engage with you.

Look after your volunteers

Finding people to volunteer to hold a tin in the rain can be a hard ask. Agree how long they will be needed for and promise to buy them a cup of tea!

Be clear about your cause

Make it clear what you’re raising money for. You could wear tabards or t-shirts with your logo on, get a sign or wear costumes.

Give away information

If you have flyers or promotional items to give away (such as stickers), people are more likely to remember you. Be prepared to answer questions about what your organisation will do with the money.

Plan how you’ll deal with the cash

Who’s going to sort and bank all the coins?

Other types of collection

House-to-house collections

This involves knocking on doors asking for money.

Do your research on the area you want to target. If there are lots of other charities working there, you may not find many donors.

Think about what time is most appropriate for your target group – parents of young children won’t appreciate you banging on their door at bedtime!

Paid-for collections

This involves paying people to collect on your behalf.

Make sure that this is a cost-effective way of doing things, as you’ll need to pay a fee to the collecting agency. You’ll also miss out on the direct contact with your donors.

Collecting tins

This involves leaving collecting tins in places where people are likely to donate small change, such as shops, schools and churches.

Always ask permission. Make sure you have a named contact who is aware of where the tin is and when you’re going to come and collect it.

Get more help 

The Institute of Fundraising offers more guidance on the law and regulations around collections.

Page last edited Aug 20, 2019

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