Face to Face Fundraisers, Charity Collections & Boxes

Visitors to a town centre are accustomed to seeing charity collectors in busy locations and the British public are generally quite generous, meaning on-street cash collections prove an important source of income and profile for charities.

On the other hand, visitors understandably soon object if they are approached too often or aggressively. There has been a growing concern in recent years that some fundraisers are over zealous in their pursuit of donations...whether this is cash in a bucket or their contact details on a clipboard. Fundraisers naturally congregate in areas of high footfall which can be problematic, so managing these activities in a balanced way is another tool in ensuring your town centre is a pleasant, diverse place to be.

On-Street collecting for charities generally comes in two forms:


  • Cash collections by volunteers asking for ‘spare change’ for legitimate national or local charities. In most places these are managed through a free permit system at the licensing section of the local authority. This ensures they are legitimate and the funds collected will actually reach the relevant cause and that only one charity per day is allowed in each location

  • Information collections to later seek regular contributions from people via direct debits. Fundraisers here are employed professionals paid on results.Some fundraisers prefer to collect details allowing the charity to contact the potential donor at a later date (known as prospecting)


Some locations have a hands-off approach to managing fundraisers, others prefer local management agreements to control the volume and locations this activity can occur. A code of practice available from the Institute of Fundraising is a good start. The Public Fundraising Regulatory Association has undertaken local management schemes with various locations around the UK and can help develop one for your town centre too if you wish.

Begging is also a form of fundraising, and an on-street activity that needs to be reviewed too. Aggressive begging can be a difficult problem for city and town centres.