The complete guide to Fundraising Collection Boxes

Using collection boxes is an easy way to raise more money for your cause, but there are a few important dos and don’ts. Read on to discover all you need to know for successful collection box fundraising.

The top 3 rules for managing collection boxes

  • Comply with the law – you’ll need to get various permissions, and follow some key procedures to operate a fundraising collection box scheme legally. Scroll down for more information on ticking the legal boxes.
  • Consider contactless – lots of people don’t come out with cash on them these days, so you could be missing a trick if you don’t have a contactless donation option.
  • Create awareness – don’t think of a collection box as a series of donations. By going out amongst the public, you have a unique opportunity to let more people know about your cause. Make sure your collectors are willing to talk, and armed with all the facts to get more people in your area involved with your fundraising ideas.

The 4 charity collection box methods, and the permissions you will need.

There are four main type of collection, and each needs different considerations and permissions:

  • Street collections – collections in public places require permission from the local authority, and in Greater London from the Metropolitan Police.
  • Private collections  - if your collection is taking place on private property, eg. a shopping centre, a train station or a pub, you’ll need permission from the manager, or person responsible for the premises, as well as the local authority.
  • Static collection boxes – you’ll just need permission from the business owner for this. You’ll also need to make sure the box is secure, and cannot be opened by the public.
  • House to house collections – as with street collections, you’ll need permission from the local authority, or Metropolitan Police.

A few charities are exempt from needing permissions – ask your cause if they hold an exemption certificate, and what specific requirements they may have for keeping collections above board.

Best practice for charity collection boxes

  1. The collection box. You’ll want to make sure your box is secure and tamper-proof. It may prove simpler to purchase a specially made box – there are plenty of suppliers online. Do personalise it though! A fun and colourful collection box stands out, and humour often compels people to donate their spare change. Have a look at these ideas on Pinterest.
  2. The collection itself. Make sure the collection doesn’t cause, danger, obstruction, inconvenience or annoyance to any person. Choose people to be involved who are polite and friendly – and who are willing to speak to the public about your cause.
  3. Badges and branding.  It’s a good idea to give your collectors a badge, with details of the license that you have. Include the branding of your charity, as it will reassure the public that they are giving to a good cause.
  4. Contactless collection. If you know there will be a crowd at your collection venue, it may well be worth setting yourselves up with Angal, a provider of contactless payment services for charities. There’s an initial fee of £200, then 60p per label. You could even ask one of your main donors to fund the set up costs, in the expectation that it will increase the amount of money you’re able to raise going forward.

Collection box fundraising – a working example

Say for example you are thinking of singing Christmas carols, going door to door to collect money for a homeless shelter, and you live in Chiswick. Here’s how you’d do it:

  • Contact the Metropolitan Police and get a license. You need to apply before the first of the month before the collection date. So, if the carols are happening on the 15th December you would need to apply before the 1st November.
  • Once you have the exemption you need – you can start planning the buckets you will use; badges; branding; contactless options, and so on.
  • Spread the word – let people know in your local area that you’ll be visiting, to maximise the reception you’ll get!

Further guidance



Any material published on this website does not give a full statement of the law, nor does it reflect changes after the date stated on each document. It is intended for guidance only and is not a substitute for professional advice. No responsibility for loss occasioned as a result of any person acting or refraining from acting on the basis of this material can be accepted by the author or by Fundraising Expert.  

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