COVID-19: Public fundraising guidance

25 June 2020
Face to Face FundraisingCash Public Collections
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Updated 21 July 2021:

The information in this page is intended to support fundraising in UK nations where formal and legal Government restrictions, such as social distancing, are in place. This guidance has been superseded by the guidance here.

Version log

View any updates made to the page, with the most recent listed first.

12 April 2021: changes made to advice on PPE, enforcement and face coverings and removal of advice on tiers

3 November: CIOF and Fundraising Regulator statement on national restrictions.

15 October 2020: updated with information on local restrictions.

29 July 2020: updated information on PPE and face coverings.

22 July 2020: updated information about public transport.

17 July 2020: updated to replace information about Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and face coverings.

25 June 2020: first published.

About this guidance

This guidance is part of a series of resources produced by the Fundraising Regulator and Chartered Institute of Fundraising that aims to support charities and other fundraising organisations to be able to return to fundraising activities in a responsible way. By responsible fundraising, we mean fundraising that is carried out in a sensitive and safe way, in-line with the Code of Fundraising Practice (the code) and current UK Government advice on Coronavirus. See guidance from  EnglandScotlandWales and Northern Ireland

Requirements may also differ across the UK. You should always check the relevant guidance for the area in which you are fundraising and apply it to your fundraising activity, especially as guidance is likely to evolve over time.

You should also consider whether there are local restrictions in place in your area. If you live, work or volunteer in an area that is experiencing a local COVID-19 outbreak and where local restrictions have been imposed, different guidance and legislation may apply. 

Fundraising organisations should check if any additional restrictions apply for areas in which you are planning to fundraise. You should work accordingly to the restrictions in place for each area, and incorporate relevant factors into risk assessments.  

Before reading this guidance on public fundraising, read our over-arching COVID-19 guidance which includes what you should consider when adapting the way your organisation fundraises as lockdown measures are eased, in particular:


Status of this guidance

This guidance sets out a framework to aid good decision making and ensure responsible fundraising. It is intended to supplement existing government guidance and highlights the key issues and areas that fundraising organisations need to consider as they plan their return to fundraising. It is the responsibility of individual organisations to apply this guidance in their fundraising activity so that the safety and wellbeing of fundraisers and the public are protected. Part of acting responsibly will also include fundraising organisations properly documenting their decisions, undertaking risk assessments, and being prepared to explain and justify these if necessary.

Fundraising organisations should consider this guidance, the nature of their activity, the location, their preparation, and undertake a risk assessment to inform decisions.

Fundraising in public: principles and key considerations

Fundraising must be carried out responsibly and as Government restrictions are eased, the health, safety and wellbeing of the public, fundraisers and volunteers must come first. Fundraising should only restart when fundraising organisations are satisfied that this can be done safely, in-line with Government guidance and where the risks associated with the activities can be properly managed. For more information on working safely  go to Health and Safety Executive and also see relevant guidance in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

This guidance covers methods of fundraising that are carried out in public, including face-to-face fundraising, which is defined as asking people for a commitment to make regular donations by, for example, direct debit, or collecting personal data so people can make donations at a future date. Fundraisers using this method of fundraising speak to people face-to-face on the street, by knocking on people’s doors (door-to-door fundraising), or on private land which the public have access to, such as shopping centres or supermarkets (private site fundraising).

Keep up good hygiene practices. 

Cleaning practices and hand hygiene are important in reducing the risk of transmission. You should wash your hands as often as practically possible and use hand sanitiser frequently. Make sure you reinforce hand hygiene and provide hand sanitiser for fundraisers to use whenever they come into contact with an object or have to touch something (such as a doorbell) which others may have touched. Sanitiser should be used before and after touching any such object. Restrict the use of shared equipment wherever possible, and if it must be shared make sure it is frequently cleaned, especially between use.

Keep to social distancing guidance. 

You must fundraise in accordance with Government guidance on social distancing and any further conditions from local authorities. See advice from England,  ScotlandWales and Northern Ireland You should be aware that this could change over time and you will need to keep up-to-date with any changes and respond appropriately. You should consider and set out the mitigations you will introduce in your risk assessment. If there are certain locations, for example, flats or apartment blocks with narrow walkways, where social distancing cannot be maintained, you should not fundraise in those locations. Be aware that the public might expect to maintain these practices after restrictions lift. You should implement social distancing measures in the following ways:


Make sure your behaviour is respectful. 

You should expect that at this time some members of the public may be more anxious than usual about interacting with others. Check that an individual is happy to talk with you and be respectful about personal space while maintaining two metre distance. You should be mindful of how your interaction can affect others in a public space, so it’s important to be aware of others around you and the space you are in. You should be particularly mindful that an increased number of individuals may be experiencing financial hardship or grief, so it’s important to be responsive to any signs that they are in distress or do not want to continue a conversation. You can find more information on behaviours and general fundraising principles in our guidance here.  

Train fundraisers on new approaches before restarting fundraising. 

New ways of working will need some time to be communicated, with appropriate training materials and resources produced to guide fundraisers on what they should be doing. Any training should be delivered virtually, in order to meet Government guidelines. It’s important that fundraisers feel confident and reassured before going back out to fundraise with the public – if you work with a fundraising agency or partner, talk to them about their approach and agree appropriate measures and training. 

Check that the right licences and permissions remain valid. 

. If you are fundraising in a public place or on a private site, check that any previously obtained licences or permissions are still valid. Contact the licence holder that granted you permission and ask if there are any further terms and conditions you need to comply with. If you are relying on a national exemption order you must check whether any additional measures or changes are necessary. You should be prepared to share your risk assessment with any licensor or permission-holder. For further standards on licences and permissions, see section 8.2 of the code.

Use street fundraising sites responsibly. 

You should observe current social distancing guidance when deciding where to street fundraise. If part of a site becomes particularly crowded, for example, due to multiple queues forming, you should reposition your staff while also meeting the requirements of any Site Management Agreement that may be in place.

Limit the number of fundraisers. 

The number of fundraisers working in one area or site should be limited, for example:


You should allocate people to the same fundraising team wherever possible, to limit social interaction. Walk and cycle if you can. Where this is not possible, use public transport or drive. If driving, avoid car sharing where possible. If using public transport is necessary, wearing a face covering is mandatory. Keep a temporary record of your staff shift patterns, fundraising locations and sign-ups for 21 days, in a way that is manageable for your fundraising organisation, and assist NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data if needed – there is more information on Test and Trace in England  WalesScotland and Northern Ireland).

Review how you process donations. 

To adhere to social distancing guidance and good hygiene practices, you should review how you take payments and handle donations. All solutions need to meet the standards on processing donations in section 4 of the code. 

Review how you collect donor information. 

Only ask donors to fill out information in a way that can be done safely and so you can maintain social distancing. For example, using a tablet that is on a stand which enables you to maintain social distancing rather than physically handing the tablet to an individual and ensure that you clean it before and after each use. Alternative options and use of technology may be explored to collect donor information as long as they enable you to always meet those guidelines.

Make sure ID badges and mandatory information is accessible. 

You must make sure you continue to meet the requirements in the code related to wearing an ID badge (see section 8 of the code). Due to social distancing measures, information on the ID badge may be difficult for the public to read, so you should ensure the public can see or access this information in other ways. Other mandatory information that you require an individual to read before donating should be made accessible and in-line with social distancing measures. 

Carefully select your door-to-door fundraising territory. 

When selecting territories in which to fundraise, be particularly mindful of places where there may be greater numbers of people who are shielding or who may be more vulnerable to the virus. No work should be carried out in a household which is isolating because one or more family members has symptoms or where an individual has been advised to shield.

Face Coverings.

You should follow guidance on face coverings and PPE for the nation in which you are fundraising. You can find guidance for England, ScotlandWales, and Northern Ireland.


PCR tests

Lateral flow tests (LFT) can be taken in two ways:


An assisted test is where the person takes the test themselves under the supervision of a trained operator, and this operator processes the test, reads and reports the result.


A home (self-reported) test is where a person takes the test by themselves and reads and reports their own result.


If your assisted Lateral flow device (LFD) test result is positive


If your home (self-reported) LFD test result is positive

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