Although there are now many new ways to donate to charitable causes, charity collections are still a popular way to raise funds. When you come across a charity cash collector, here are some simple checks you can make to reassure yourself that you are safely giving to legitimate collectors.
Check the charity’s name and registration number
If you’re in England or Wales, you can look up UK registered charities on the Charity Commission’s website. If you’re in Scotland, use the OSCR’s website to find the charity’s details. And for Northern Ireland, check out the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland.
Be cautious about people collections for general charitable causes, such as “it’s for local sick children.” Make more enquiries about what exactly your donation would be used for and by who.
Check the fundraising material they hand out
Genuine fundraising materials should feature the charity’s name, registered number and a landline contact number. Be wary of those that list only a mobile number.
Check the fundraiser’s badge and collection tin
When approached by collectors, check whether they are wearing a proper ID badge. Their badge should contain details of their licence to collect or exemption and it should be properly printed, not photocopied or hand-written.
Collection tins must be sealed and not damaged.
If in doubt, ask the collector for more information – a genuine fundraiser should be happy to answer questions and explain more about the work of the charity.
Look for the FRSB tick logo
If the charity is a member of the FRSB, their materials should include the tick logo. This means the charity has signed up to follow the highest standards in fundraising and is regulated. See which charities are members.
Check whether a collector has authority to collect
A permit or licence is usually required if raising money in a public place. Collections in private places like train stations, supermarkets and pubs need the owner’s or manager’s permission.
To check whether a fundraiser is authorised to collect money in a public place, contact your local authority or, if in London, the Metropolitan police. If it is a private place, check with the owner.
What to do if you suspect something
If, after making these checks, you think there is a problem, you should report it.
- If you think that a collection or appeal is not legitimate, you can report it to the police
- if you think the collection is fraudulent you can do so by reporting it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or through their website at www.actionfraud.police.uk.
- To report any concerns about charity collections to us, make a complaint.
Next page: Charity bag collection