Handling of cash and other donations

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Handling and processing donations properly is crucial. This guidance page provides advice on how to do this effectively and covers five different types of payments.


Donation handling guidance is important


The need to handle donations, and particularly cash, arises throughout the fundraising sector and occurs in a number of areas, such as appeals, fundraising events, ticket sales, refreshment sales, programme sales, raffles and trading. These donations can be made in person, over the phone or online. The general guidance given here applies to the handling of donations in all situations.

It is important for fundraising organisations to have a procedure in place for handling cash and other donations.


It’s advisable for all cash handlers to have suitable banking bags for counting and cashing up money. Where cash is received in collection envelopes or collection boxes as part of a public charitable collection in Scotland, it must be counted and banked as soon as possible. Where substantial sums are being taken at an event, it is a good idea for cash to be banked in stages and by two individuals.

Cash should never be left unattended or in an unattended environment. Cash not banked immediately should be placed in a safe or other secure location.


It is important that any person accepting a cheque ensures that:


Card Transactions

It is important that fundraising organisations comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS). Although this is not a legal requirement, fundraising organisations will be required by payment card companies to comply with the PCI-DSS, and could be fined if they do not. PCI-DSS consists of 12 requirements that all organisations and businesses processing card payments have to meet.

Fundraising organisations should

Direct debits

The procedures and rules surrounding direct debits will vary dependent on the bank used by the charity.

The Direct Debit Guarantee exists to provide unified standards and protection to customers, and charities must ensure compliance with the guarantee. Organisations which have signed up to the guarantee have a legal requirement to comply with it. 

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