This section defines the key terms used in the code. You should read all definitions within the context of the code.


abandoned call

A phone call that ends when the person contacted picks up the receiver. Instead of a person on the other end of the line, the person receiving the call hears an information message stating that an organisation had tried to call, but no operators were free to make the call.



The beneficiaries of a charitable institution are the people or organisations that fall within the class of people who will or may be helped by the charitable institution. In the case of an appeal or a will, a beneficiary is a person or organisation who will or may receive a benefit from the appeal or the will.

benevolent body

In the context of solicitation statements in Scotland Any organisation in Scotland, whether or not it is a charity, which has been set up for charitable, benevolent or philanthropic purposes.

See also ‘benevolent organisation’.


benevolent fundraiser

In the context of solicitation statements in Scotland

A benevolent body or any company connected to it, any person who manages or controls it or any employees or agents of either of those people or of the benevolent body or connected company.

benevolent fundraising

Asking for money or promises of money for the benefit of benevolent or connected companies, or for charitable, benevolent or philanthropic purposes.

benevolent organisation

A voluntary organisation established for philanthropic or benevolent purposes which is not charitable in law but is charitable in nature. These organisations act for the public benefit and their assets must be distributed (during the life of the organisation and when it is wound up) for the purposes for which it was set up.


certificate of authority

A certificate that shows that a fundraiser is legitimately volunteering or working for a particular charitable institution. In some cases a collector will need to carry a certificate of authority issued by the Stationery Office as a condition of getting a licence.

challenge events

Fundraising events that raise money through sponsorship of a person or group of people who intend to complete a specific task, for example, run a marathon, climb a mountain, or cycle or walk a certain distance.

charitable institution

A charity (registered or unregistered) or voluntary organisation established for purposes which may not be strictly charitable in law, but which are philanthropic or benevolent.

See also 'benevolent organisation'.

charitable purpose

A purpose which is considered to be charitable in terms of the relevant laws of England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.


A body which is recognised as a charity under the relevant laws of England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

charity short codes

A range of text-messaging short-number sequences in the 70000 to 70999 range designed to be easier for donors to read, remember and make a donation through than full telephone numbers. Service providers and charities use this range to make their donation facility distinguishable from other short-code services.


Making an uninvited visit or phone call where the person or charitable institution calling or visiting has no previous relationship with the person they are contacting.

collecting box

A box or other container for cash contributions.

  • A collection of money or sale of articles on the public highway
  • A collection of money or other property house-to-house
  • A collection of money or other property on private land 

See also ‘house-to-house collection’ and ‘street collection’.


A person collecting in a house-to-house collection, street collection or collection on private land.

See also ‘collection’.

commercial participator

Any person who carries on a business (other than a professional fundraising business) and, in the course of that business, promotes goods or services on the basis that it will make donations to a charitable institution. (This does not include a connected company.)  An example is a mineral-water producer who donates 10 pence to a charity for every bottle of water it sells.  

Fundraising businesses and businesses connected to charitable institutions are not commercial participators. 

commercial partner

Referred to as a ‘corporate partnership’ in previous versions of the code

A partnership between a charitable institution and a commercial company where the commercial company provides money, skills or other resources to the charitable institution. If part of the support provided involves the commercial partner directly asking for donations, they will fall within the definition of a ‘third-party fundraiser’, and in some cases, a ‘commercial participator’. 

See also ‘commercial participator’.

commercial partnership

Referred to as a ‘corporate partnership’ in previous versions of the code

A partnership between a charitable institution and a commercial company where the commercial company provides money, skills or other resources to the charitable institution. If part of the support provided involves the commercial partner directly asking for donations, they will fall within the definition of a ‘third-party fundraiser’, and in some cases, a ‘commercial participator’. 

See also ‘commercial participator’.

connected company

A company owned or controlled by one or more charitable institutions.


In relation to personal data, ‘consent’ is defined by the ICO as: ‘any freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the data subject’s wishes by which he or she, by a statement or by a clear affirmative action, signifies agreement to the processing of personal data relating to him or her’. 

This means that the person must show they agree to you using their data, using a clear, positive action (for example by ticking an unticked opt-in box).

For more information please see


A person a charitable institution uses to provide fundraising services and who, as part of that service, is directly involved in asking for donations. 

A consultant who provides fundraising services in England and Wales or Scotland in return for payment is likely to fall within the legal definition of a ‘professional fundraiser’.

See also ‘professional fundraiser’.


A consultant who provides fundraising services without payment is likely to fall within the legal definition of a ‘volunteer’. 

See also ‘volunteer’.


Small text files that are downloaded onto a device such as a computer or smartphone when the user visits a website. Cookies allow the website to recognise that user’s device and store some information about the user’s preferences or use of the website.


This is where a person, a group of people, or a commercial institution (a crowdfunder) raises money for charitable, philanthropic or benevolent purposes, but not linked directly to a charitable institution’s bank account. This may mean that money is passed to the crowdfunder who then gives it to a charitable institution or spends it on a personal cause, for example, helping a friend or relative with medical expenses.


digital platform

A website or application run by a commercial company, not-for-profit organisation, charitable institution or by a person, which asks for money or other property for charitable, philanthropic or benevolent purposes or makes it possible for other people or organisations to do this as an ‘online fundraising platform’. 

See also ‘online fundraising platform’.

direct marketing

Sending (by whatever means) any advertising or marketing material which is directed to particular people.


A gift of money or other property that is voluntarily given and accepted without expecting or receiving something in return. 

If a person receives a benefit in return for a gift, the gift may not be considered a donation for tax purposes, but may still be covered by the code as fundraising.


A person who gives a donation to a charitable institution.

due diligence

The steps taken to assess another organisation or person the charitable institution is considering a partnership or association with. These steps are taken to protect the charitable institution against damage to their reputation or finances.



Items or materials put inside a direct marketing communication sent by mail as well as the main communication itself. These can include, for example, incentives to encourage people to donate, information about the work of the organisation, or thank-you gifts. Whether enclosures are sent as stand-alone items or within other fundraising material, they are covered by the same standards as other fundraising material sent by post.

exemption order

An order which means that a licence (from one or more local licensing authorities) is not needed for a house-to-house collection.


face-to-face fundraising

Asking people for a commitment to donate by direct debit or standing order, 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 (house-to-house), or on private land which the public have access to, such as shopping centres.

fulfilment house

An organisation that collects or processes (or both) donations on behalf of a charitable institution.


A charitable institution (or a member of its staff) or third-party fundraiser who asks for money or other property for a charitable institution or for charitable, benevolent or philanthropic purposes.

See also ‘third-party fundraiser’.


Asking for money or other property for charitable, benevolent or philanthropic purposes.

fundraising business

A person or organisation (such as a fundraising agency or consultant) whose only or main business is to raise money for charitable institution.

Fundraising Preference Service

A website-based service which we run to help members of the public control the communications they receive from certain charities. By signing up to the service, members of the public can choose to stop receiving direct marketing by email, telephone, addressed post or text messages, directed to them personally, from selected charitable institutions. Visit the Fundraising Preference Service website here

See also ‘direct marketing’.


Gift Aid

A scheme which allows registered charities to reclaim basic-rate tax on donations made by UK taxpayers who agree to this, effectively increasing the amount of their donations.  

Taxpayers who pay tax above the basic rate may also be able to reclaim some tax on the donation.

governing body

The body responsible for governing a charitable institution – that is, making sure it is run effectively and properly and is meeting its overall purposes as set out in its governing document. The governing body may be called a board, management committee, council, executive committee, board of trustees, board of governors or something else.

governing documents

Documents which set out a charitable institution’s objectives or purposes and how it is to be managed. You can find more information on governing documents on the Knowhow Nonprofit website or, in Scotland, the SCVO website.

grant-making body

An organisation that provides funding (known as a grant) to another organisation to carry out particular charitable, philanthropic or benevolent purposes agreed between both organisations.


house-to-house collections

Collections which are made by a collector going from house-to-house (including business premises), collecting money or other property for charitable, philanthropic or benevolent purposes whether or not anything is given in exchange for the money or other property. Sometimes these collections are referred to as door-to-door collections.


in-aid-of volunteer

A volunteer who is raising funds either on their own or with others for a charitable institution independently of the charitable institution. In some cases, the charitable institution will know about the activity before it receives the money raised and in other cases it may not. If it does, the volunteer will sometimes use materials provided by the charitable institution. 

See also ‘on-behalf-of volunteer’.



A gift left to a charitable institution by a person in their will.

legitimate interest

A lawful basis (valid legal reason) for processing personal data which, in some circumstances, allows a charitable institution to send direct marketing as long as the person who will receive it hasn’t said ‘no’ and it does not cause harm or override a person’s privacy rights. This means that a charitable institution’s interests in sending direct marketing must be balanced against the interests of the person who will receive it. For a fuller definition of ‘legitimate interest’, see If a charitable institution has a legitimate interest to send direct marketing, it must still meet the separate legal rules on sending direct marketing electronically, including by email and text message.

licensing authority

An authority with the legal power to allow a particular fundraising activity for which authorisation is needed by law, such as a house-to-house or street collection. Licensing authorities usually have powers to set and enforce the conditions under which the activity takes place.


A type of gambling which meets the following criteria. 

  • People pay to enter 
  • Prizes are allocated either totally by chance or, if the way prizes are allocated involves a series of processes, the first of those processes relies totally on chance 

Raffles, tombolas and sweepstakes are types of lottery.


Mailing Preference Service (MPS)

A service that allows people to have their names and home addresses (in the UK) removed from lists used for direct mail that has not been requested. It is supported by Royal Mail, trade associations and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

model regulations

England and Wales only

Regulations which apply to street collections and which are set out in the Charitable Collections (Transitional Provisions) Order 1974 which many, but not all, local authorities follow.

mystery shopping

Where agents are employed to pose as ordinary members of the public, interact with fundraisers and observe the fundraising team to make sure standards of quality are being met.


on-behalf-of volunteer

A volunteer who works with and who is under the instruction of a charitable institution to raise funds on its behalf and in its name.

See also ‘volunteer’ and ‘in-aid-of volunteer’.

online fundraising platform

A website or application run by a commercial company, not-for-profit organisation, charitable institution or a person, which charitable institutions can use for fundraising or which people or organisations can use for crowdfunding for charitable, philanthropic and benevolent purposes. Online fundraising platforms make it possible for donors to give to charitable, philanthropic and benevolent causes using their computers, smartphones and other electronic devices, and using their credit cards, debit cards or digital wallets (a feature on devices which allows a person to make electronic transactions, for example by PayPal).

open access land

England and Wales only 

The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW Act) normally gives the public the right to access land mapped as 'open country' (mountain, moor, heath and down) or registered as ‘common land’. These areas are known as 'open access land'.

opt in

Where a person gives consent by showing, through a clear positive action (for example, by ticking an unticked box), that they want a particular organisation or group of organisations to contact them. 

See also 'opt out'.

opt out

Where a person asks to stop receiving communications from a particular organisation or group of organisations (either to stop receiving any communications or just those sent by a specific communication method). 

See also 'opt in'.


In relation to package holidays and tours

A person who puts together package trips (including transport and accommodation) and sells or offers them for sale, whether directly or through a retailer.


payroll giving

A way of giving money through the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system from someone’s wages or pension to charity without paying tax on it. Payroll giving is sometimes called ‘give as you earn’ or ‘workplace giving’.

payroll-giving agency

A charity recognised by HMRC for the purpose of handling payroll giving.

personal data

Information or data which relates to a living person who can be identified directly or indirectly by referring to:

  • an identifier such as their name, an identification number, location details or an online identifier such as an IP address; or
  • one or more factors which are specific to the person’s physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity.


premium-rate text message

A text-messaging service that charges a fee which is paid through a person’s phone bill. This is usually a subscription service.

privacy information

Information that tells a person what an organisation will do with their personal data. Privacy information is often given in the form of a privacy notice.

private land

Land which is privately owned. This may include land which the public have access to, such as shopping centres.

private site

Private land for which there is an agreement with the property owner or manager for fundraising to take place on the private site. Where an agreement is in place, it usually applies to commercially owned land which the public have access to, such as shopping centres.

See also ‘private land’.


All money and all other property given in response to an appeal.

processing (data)

An operation or set of operations which is carried out on personal data, or on sets of personal data, such as:

  • collecting, recording, organising, structuring or storing it; 
  • adapting or altering it;  retrieving, consulting on or using it; 
  • transmitting, sharing or otherwise making it available to others; 
  • aligning or combining it with other information; or 
  • restricting, erasing or destroying it. 

See also ‘personal data’.

professional fundraiser

A person carrying on a fundraising business as defined in the law of England and Wales, or Scotland.


In relation to a public charitable collection, means:

  • a person who (whether alone or with others and whether they are paid or not) organises or controls the way the collection is run; or
  • if the above bullet point doesn’t apply, any person who acts as a collector in the collection.

See also ‘collector’.

public charitable collection

A collection for charitable, philanthropic or benevolent purposes carried out on the street, in a public place or house-to-house.

public place

England and Wales 

Any highway or any other place which at the time of the fundraising the public are allowed access to, and which is not in a building (other than public areas in stations, airports, shopping precincts or similar). It does not include any place which the public can only access with a ticket or after paying an entrance fee, or as a result of permission being given for the fundraising.


Any place (whether a main road or route or not) which the public have unrestricted access to. It includes the doorways or entrances of premises next to the public place and any shared passageway, close, court, stairs, garden or yard relevant to any tenement or group of separately owned houses.

Northern Ireland

Any street, road or highway and any place which, at the time of the fundraising, all or some members of the public have access to. This can be because they have a public right to be there, because they have paid an entrance fee or because they have been given permission (direct or otherwise).


reasonable adjustments

Reasonable adjustments are explained in the Equality Act 2010. Reasonable adjustments might include changing the layout or format of information to make it more accessible, or making sure an event is accessible to people with disabilities.

receipt book

A book of consecutively numbered detachable receipts, with counterfoils or duplicates with matching numbers.

registered charity

An organisation registered with the regulatory body for charities for the country they are based in.

In the UK, the regulatory bodies are:

  • the Charity Commission for England and Wales in England and Wales;
  • the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) in Scotland; and
  • the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland in Northern Ireland.


silent call

A call where a person hears nothing on the end of the line when they answer the phone and has no way of knowing whether anyone is at the other end.

small-donation rules

The rules of the ‘Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme’ (sometimes referred to as GASDS).

solicitation statement

A statement which professional fundraisers, commercial participators and, for public collections, certain staff of charitable institutions have to make by law, explaining how the fundraising will benefit the charity. What information the statement needs to include depends on the circumstances. For more information: 

  • for fundraising in England and Wales, see sections 60, 60A and 61 of the Charities Act 1992; and
  • for fundraising in Scotland, see the Scottish Charity Regulator’s (OSCR) website.

There is no legal requirement to make a solicitation statement when fundraising in Northern Ireland.


Statement of Recommended Practice, which sets out how charities should prepare their annual accounts and report on their finances. For more details, see

static collection

A collection using collecting boxes which stay in one place – either on the floor or on counters in places such as shops, pubs, hotels, hospitals and reception areas.


England and Wales, and Northern Ireland

Includes any highway and any public bridge, road, lane, footpath, square, court, alley or passageway, whether this is a main road or route or not.


Has the same meaning as ‘public place (Scotland)’.

street collections

Collections of money or other property made on a street or selling items on a street for charitable, philanthropic or benevolent purposes.


Telephone Preference Service (TPS)

The official register on which people can record their preference not to receive sales or marketing calls they have not requested. By law, all organisations (including charities, voluntary organisations and political parties) must not make these calls to numbers registered on the TPS, unless they have consent from the person who will be receiving the call.


Someone who makes a will.

third-party fundraiser

Organisations or people that a charitable institution has authorised to fundraise on its behalf. They may be volunteers, professional fundraisers or commercial partners.

See also ‘fundraiser’ and ‘fundraising’.



To cancel a subscription to a service or communication.



A third-party fundraiser who, without payment or other significant benefit (not including expenses), raises money or is involved in a fundraising activity for a charitable institution. 

See also ‘in-aid-of’ volunteer and ‘on-behalf-of’ volunteer.

vulnerable circumstances

A state in which a person is especially susceptible to harm due to their personal circumstances. It is a state which can vary from day-to-day, which may affect the person’s behaviour or decisions and needs a flexible response.