Direct debit fundraising

Find out about direct debit fundraising or face-to-face collections.

Direct debit fundraising is carried out by professional fundraising companies with paid staff. They work either in the street or door-to-door.

How face-to-face fundraising is regulated

While a Street collections permit is required for collecting money on the streets, direct debits are not considered to be money in law: they are 'promises of money' at a later date. Direct debit collections on the street do not therefore require any licence or permit.

However, face-to-face fundraising carried out door-to-door by visiting householders is required to be licensed as house-to-house collections cover the collection of 'money or other property'. In these circumstances, a House-to-house collections  licence is required.

Other types of face-to-face fundraising for direct debits (such as that done at festivals or in the workplace) do not require any form of licence - just the permission of the site owner. And, at the moment, neither does 'prospecting' - a type of 'two-step' face-to-face activity where a campaigner will collect names on the street for a follow-up telephone call a week or two later.

The laws regulating charitable collections are to be replaced by Part 3 of the Charities Act 2006, which contains a new unified licensing regime for both cash and direct debit collections on the street. However, the government is still consulting on how to implement this.

Face-to-face fundraising standards

The Public Fundraising Regulatory Association (PFRA) provides a code of practice for all forms of direct debit face-to-face fundraising.

If a professional fundraiser is signing up direct debits for a charity, in a public place, they must:

  • Give the name of the appeal or charity
  • Mention that they are not a charity but a company
  • Say what percentage is taken for wages
  • Say what percentage is taken by the company
  • Say what percentage goes to the charity
Did you find what you were looking for?Did you find what you were looking for?
    1. We use your views to improve our website. If you have a query about our services, please email

    1. We use your views to improve our website. If you have a query about our services, please email


A - Z of Council Services