Preparation & Procedure
It is important that the fundraising organisation using static collection boxes ensures that it has sufficient control over the boxes and their use. A chief promoter should be appointed (and delegates where appropriate) to be responsible for the collection. It is advisable that this chief promoter is an official of the fundraising organisation. It is good practice for the promoter to monitor performance of all collection boxes on a regular basis, and ensure that the funds in them are secured for the fundraising organisation.
The fundraising organisation should:
- issue certificates of authority and identity badges to collectors who are to site and service boxes
- maintain records of where boxes are sited and how much money is collected in each box
- keep separate accounting records showing money raised through static collecting boxes and any direct expenses incurred in administering them
Servicing the Boxes
It is a good idea for collecting boxes used for static collections to be made of a durable material such as metal, wood or plastic. Cardboard or other paper products are not normally adequate for this purpose. All collecting boxes must be properly labelled, numbered and sealed, and bear the name, address and registered number of the fundraising organisation that is to benefit. The seal on the collecting box may be a lock, self-adhesive paper, or some other device provided that any attempt to tamper with or break the seal can easily be detected. A lock on its own can usually be opened and closed without detection and it is consequently advisable to use some other form of device, which can guarantee evidence of tampering. It is advisable for collectors to ensure that boxes are in a good state of repair; that they are clean and function correctly. Collecting boxes may be repaired or cleaned on site by the collector or may be exchanged for a new collecting box with the knowledge and the agreement of the promoter.
Boxes ought to be emptied and the proceeds counted in accordance with a regular, pre-determined schedule provided by the promoter to the collector and the siteholder. Before opening the box it is important that the collector checks for evidence of tampering and after emptying, ensure the box is securely sealed again before re-siting it. Unless boxes are collected by an authorised collector and counted at the fundraising organisation’s office, it is advisable for them to be opened and the contents counted by an authorised collector in the presence of the siteholder or their representative.
Where it is not practical for the collecting box to be opened and the contents counted by an authorised collector, the procedures that shouldbe adhered to are:
- provide the siteholder with the necessary materials to open, record and bank the proceeds of the box at predetermined, regular intervals
- send individually coded paying-in slips to the siteholder with written instructions to open the box and count the proceeds only in the presence of an independent witness
- the siteholder ought to take the counted proceeds and completed paying-in slip to the nearest branch of a (designated) bank and pay them in
- a counterfoil should be returned to the promoter as proof of counting and banking of proceeds, and a further counterfoil retained by the siteholder as a receipt
- all proceeds from all boxes ought to be banked within a specified period of time, not exceeding one month after the previously agreed dates for the collection. If no money is banked within this period of time, it is important that the promoter makes the necessary enquiries and take appropriate action
- on receipt of the counterfoil, it is advisable for the promoter to send an official receipt, dated and stating the amount banked to the siteholder for display
- the siteholder ought to be provided with the necessary materials to reseal and secure the box
It is good practice for the collectorto, unless otherwise agreed, give an official receipt signed by them and by the siteholder, to the siteholder with a copy of the same to the promoter. The collector should retain a further copy of the official receipt for their own records, and the official receipt ought to show the address of the site, the box number, the date and the amount taken from the box. For further information regarding best practice in the processing of proceeds from collections, see the Institute of Fundraising House-to-House Collections guidance.
Remitting the Proceeds of the Collection to the Charity or Fund that is to Benefit
It is advisable for the collector remit to the promoter the full sum of all monies taken from all boxes without deduction of expenses or fees. Any remittance should be paid within a given time period specified by the charity or fund that is to benefit from the collection. This period shall not be more than one month from the date of the collection. The form of remittance may be decided by the fundraising organisation that is to benefit from the collection, but it’s advisable for it to be accompanied by relevant official receipts. It is good practice for any expenses incurred in servicing the boxes to be submitted by the collector separately, and refunded by the fundraising organisation which benefits from the collection, according to the terms of agreement between the fundraising organisation and the collector. The promoter ought to maintain a full list of numbered boxes, and details of the corresponding sites with a record against each box of the amounts remitted, and ensure that boxes are emptied regularly and that collectors’ expenses are checked and paid accordingly.
Maintenance of Proper Accounts
It is important that all proceeds from static box collections are properly recorded in conformity with best accounting practice. Proceeds from static box collections ought to be separately available, and detail gross income for the year, direct expenses incurred and all fees paid in connection with collections. It is the responsibility of the chief promoter to maintain accurate, up to date records so that income from individual boxes can be traced and direct expenses and fees identified. These records should be certified annually. There is no legal time limit to static box collections undertaken on private premises. Many of these collections are of an ongoing nature and may be undertaken over a number of years. However, there is a legal requirement to include income from static collection box activity for the year in question in the annual return required by the Charity Commission in respect of registered charities.