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Clothing bag collections

Clothing collections are usually carried out by commercial organisations. Not all of these are charitable. However, those that are must state on the bag which charity will benefit and the proportion of the donation they will receive. Where a donation is made to charity, it is usually made for every tonne of items received.

Clothing and other items donated in charity bags are usually sold through charity shops, sent to areas of need, or sold abroad.
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I want to go straight to the code and read what it says about clothing bag collections

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For fundraisers

Clothing collections can help to stock your charity shops, or provide items that can be sent to areas of need.

Collectors must not deliver bags to properties with a sign indicating that the householder doesn't want to receive it. You can find more information in Section 16.10 of the Code.

If you are working with a third party, you need to make sure that appropriate agreements are in place. Bags must always state how much money the charity will gain from the collection. There is also other information that clothing bags must show. You can find information on this in Section 16.9 of the Fundraising Code.

The ASA has published guidance on collection bags, aimed at ensuring collection materials provide adequate information for the public.

For the public

Clothing bags offer you a chance to clear out unwanted items in a responsible way – all while helping charities. It may also be more convenient for you than taking items to a charity shop.

The amount a clothing collector donates to charity can vary significantly. So if you are interested in donating clothing to benefit a cause, it is important to check how much goes to the charity directly.

If the collection is run by a third party it should state how much of the collection’s proceeds will go to the charity and how much will go to the company. For more information on what information should be on legitimate charity bags, see Section 16.9 of the Code.

If you do not want to receive clothing bags, you can put a sign or sticker on your door saying ‘no charity bags’ or ‘no clothing bags’.

There are many licensed, legal collections taking place. However, in some cases there have been reports of collections that may be unlicensed or fraudulent. You can find out more about how to tell if a charity bag is genuine in our charity clothing collections guidance. Our topic donations has further information and advice.

If you suspect that a collection is not legitimate, check with your local council if the company is licensed to operate in your area.

Clothing bag collection resources

Guidance

Charity clothing collections

Advice for the public from Fundraising Regulator and Local Government Association on charity clothing collection bags.
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Investigation summary

A complaint about unwanted charity bags: Mr B

Mr B received a charity collection bag from a company despite telling them that he did not want to receive them. He said that receiving them caused him distress.
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Investigation summary

A complaint about unwanted charity bags: Mr Y

Mr Y received a charity clothing collection bag from an agency working for a charity, despite having a ‘no charity bag’ sign on his door.
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