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