Face-to-face fundraising activity enables charities and other voluntary organisations to engage with the public in an effective and compelling way to reach new supporters. It can take place in a public place (such as a shopping high street) as well as private sites (e.g, a supermarket), although there are different processes and procedures to follow for each. It’s also important to be aware of the relevant regulations in different nations – there are different rules in Scotland than in England and Wales.
Organisations will need to apply for a licence (either from the local authority or the police) to cover the fundraising activity. For all face-to-face fundraising activity, all fundraising has to comply with all legislation and regulatory requirements as set out in the Fundraising Regulator’s Code of Fundraising Practice.
The Institute of Fundraising works with many local authorities and Business Improvement Districts to control where and when fundraising can take place within those areas through agreeing Site Management Agreements. Where a Site Management Agreement exists, fundraisers must follow the terms of that agreement. For more information go to Site Management Agreements.
The IoF’s Compliance programme also oversees a diary system to manage and facilitate access for public fundraising in a fair and equitable way, as well as running mystery shopping schemes.
England and Wales
A public place means any place where members of the public generally go even if they have no legal right to do so, or any place where they are invited to go. For the purpose of this guidance it should be treated as including such spaces as station forecourts, shopping malls and supermarket car parks. It does not include any place to which members of the public are only permitted if they have made a payment or purchased a ticket as a condition of access; or any place to which members of the public are only permitted for the purposes of the activity in question.
In England and Wales, a public place will be:
- Any highway
- Any other place to which, at any time when the appeal is made, members of the public have, or are permitted to have, access (other than on payment or with a ticket and other than by way of permission granted for the specific appeal) and which either is not within a building, or, if within a building, is an area to which the public are generally admitted within any station, airport or shopping precinct or any other similar place
A public place means any place (whether a thoroughfare or not) to which the public have unrestricted access and includes:
- The doorways or entrances of premises abutting on any such place
- Any common passage, close, court, stair, garden or yard pertinent to any tenement or group of separately owned houses
As well as following all the rules around permission and licensing for public fundraising, before deciding to carry out public fundraising or a face-to-face campaign it’s a good idea to think about:
- The length and long-term objectives of the campaign and how it fits in with your overall fundraising strategy
- What internal resources the organisation can devote to this form of fundraising. A face-to-face campaign requires an investment of time and resources by a charity to ensure it is run effectively, with appropriate materials, planning and preparation, and carried out by fundraisers who are trained to a high standard
- Partnering with fundraising agencies to carry out face-to-face campaigns. If using a partner agency, charities have to undertake due diligence, agree contracts, and ensure compliance with all rules and regulations
- Who you will need to work with in your organisation to talk about the activity – for example, face-to-face fundraising can be high-profile and may attract local interest and media attention. You might want to involve trustees, volunteers, media/communications teams or others to get a joined up approach
- Responding to the needs of people in vulnerable circumstances. If you are fundraising in a public place, you may well come across individuals who are in a vulnerable circumstance. Fundraisers should be aware of issues and trained to be able to respond appropriately to an individual’s situation and needs. For more information, take a look at IoF’s guidance Treating Donors Fairly
It is important that any and all face-to-face fundraising is carried out to a high standard, that is in line with the values of the organisation, follows all the rules in place, and delivers a good experience for the public.
Examples of behaviours that are not acceptable for fundraisers:
- Smoking and/or drinking alcohol in branded clothing
- Being inappropriately dressed
- Taking or being under the influence of illegal drugs
- Lewd or aggressive behaviour
- Exploiting their position for personal gain (for instance soliciting a job offer, propositioning someone for a date, or seeking a discount on a good or service)
For the full rules and requirements, look at the Fundraising Regulator’s Code of Fundraising Practice