Fundraising in Schools Guidance

**The Guidance pages are currently being reviewed following the transfer of the Code of Fundraising Practice to the Fundraising Regulator. Please ensure that you have checked the latest version of the Code of Fundraising Practice available.


This guidance is written for anyone looking to carry out fundraising activities in a school.Fundraising in Schools offers the child a positive opportunity for involvement in helping others by raising funds. It is important that trust is at the heart of all fundraising with school children.


Preparation and Planning

Pre-event Planning

It is advisable for field staff to be instructed to discuss with the Head Teacher the educational content of the talk to be given and the pattern of the event to be undertaken. They should also go step-by-step through what is involved for the charity’s representative, for the staff, for the children, and for the parents. The charity’s representative should to then confirm all agreed details, including the financial arrangements in writing. It is a good idea for the charity’s representative to ensure that the staff are aware of tax-effective forms of giving and where they are applicable.

It is advisable for the content of talks to be both educational and non-political and at an appropriate level for each age group. Contact with children in or near school premises ought to be made only with the prior knowledge and approval of the Head Teacher or a member of the school’s staff designated by the Head Teacher and according to procedures agreed with them. Fundraising material should be written in clear, simple language, and clear instructions ought to be given regarding payment of sponsor money. It is important that there is no harassment of children but the child should be on his/her honour to pay all money raised.

Sponsored events oughtto have clearly defined maximum time limits on their printed material in order that the sponsor can determine the maximum level of money promised over the time of sponsoring. It is good practice for children to be told both verbally and on printed material not to approach strangers for money and that to go knocking from door to door is against the law. Every effort shouldbe made by the charity to ensure that parents are made aware of the need for children to approach only friends and relations for sponsorship. It is advisable for children to be encouraged to discuss first and fully with their parents whom they may approach, and examples of ‘safe’ sponsors ought to be given in the course of the fundraising talk. From time to time special material may need to be prepared for those who do not have English as their first language, subject to the Head Teacher’s advice.


Conduct of the Event

The use of incentives to encourage or reward individual efforts to raise money is seen as a very sensitive issue, and therefore it is important that the greatest care is exercised in offering them to children. Token gifts, such as badges, may be given provided that they are made available to all participating children, and are not given only as a reward for effort, but also with the purpose of prompting the children and potential donors to think about the work of the charity concerned. As a general principle, only incentives of purely token value should be given to children. Where gifts of monetary value have been donated, it is advisable that their distribution be under the tight control of the charity’s representative and only after consultation and agreement with the Head Teacher.

Particular care should be taken with under 7s, who may be given badges etc., but who should not be encouraged to compete for them or for any other form of incentive. It is good practice for field staff to be instructed to make the organisation of the event and collection of money as trouble free as possible for school and staff. Head Teachers’ comments on events undertaken ought to be monitored on a regular basis.


Post-event Procedure

It is important that if cash is collected, the charity’s representative return on the date promised and call again (or make adequate arrangements) for any later monies. If the school prefers, monies may be paid in by the use of a bank giro system. It is advisable for the charity’s representative then ensure that guidelines are given and extra giro forms left at the school. All monies received should be acknowledged promptly by the charity and the onus must be on the charity to ensure that the amount acknowledged is correct. An appropriate message of thanks should be given to the Head Teacher or any staff involved, to the children and their families. Any letters of criticism received ought to be dealt with as quickly as possible and monitored at senior management level in the charity.


Relationships with Stakeholders

It is good practice for fundraisers to accept and take into account the Head Teacher’s view of the school’s charity commitments and to fit in with it. It is essential that participation in any fundraising activity be via an authorising adult, and for children up to the age of 16, it must be for the parents to decide whether or not a child may take part in a fundraising event. Potential supporters should be given the option of sponsoring a child and/or giving a donation - at a level of their choice. Finally, it is important that field staff be trained, supervised and monitored on a continuous basis on every aspect of their work.


Key Legal Points

Street collections (commonly known as flag days)

Permits are issued by:

  • the district councils (outside London)
  • the Commissioner for the Metropolitan Police (Greater London area)
  • Court of Common Council (City of London)
  • The Police Service for Northern Ireland (in Northern Ireland)


Regulations made by these authorities to govern these collections normally include a provision that collectors must be at least 16 years of age (there are some exceptions where the minimum age is 14 years of age).


House to House Collections

Licences are issued by the same authorities as for street collections, but there are provisions allowing some charities to obtain an exemption order from the Home Office removing from them the requirement to apply for local licences (section 3(1) of the House to House Collections Act 1939). Charities making collections for local purposes and of a short duration may also apply to the police for an exemption certificate under section 1(4) of the House to House Collections Act 1939. The minimum age for collectors is 16 years.

All house to house collectors must carry a certificate of authority and a collector’s badge which must be signed by the collector. New licensing requirements are expected to be introduced in England and Wales and Scotland. Further information is available from the Office of the Third Sector (in England and Wales) and OSCR (in Scotland).

In Northern Ireland, an exemption order may be obtained from the Charities Branch of the Department for Social Development, governed by House-to-House Charitable Collections Act (NI) 1952 and the Regulations made under that Act. The full name, home address and date of birth of the charity’s chief promoter of collections must be supplied.



Licensing authorities prefer applications for licences to be made 12 months in advance of the proposed date, and some stipulate a date by which applications must be received for the following year. Sponsored events may be regarded, for the purpose of the House to House Collections Act 1939, as requiring a licence. The best rule of thumb is that if the person seeking sponsorship is calling from door-to-door making an appeal on behalf of the charity for sponsorship, a licence will be required. If the sponsorship is to be sought merely amongst friends and relatives, or within the confines of the school premises, a licence would not be required.