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Direct Debit fundraising: door to door

Door-to-door collections allow charities to engage with supporters in their community at a time when they are at home. Many donations received in this way are regular gifts, so it also helps charities to plan ahead.

Door-to-door fundraising gives potential donors a chance to support in a secure, convenient way through a one-off or regular gift.
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For fundraisers

Door-to-door fundraisers usually need a licence from the local authority. In London, the Metropolitan Police provide these licenses. Some charities have an Exemption Order and do not need a licence.

Some areas are designated Cold Call Control Zones (CCCZs) which means that certain cold calling activities are prohibited. Fundraisers should check with the relevant local authority to find out more about what conditions apply in these areas.

Under the House-to-House Collections Act 1993, businesses are counted as houses. As such, they are subject to the same rules as private residences.

You can find specific rules for this fundraising method in the Door Fundraising Rulebook.

Whenever you carry out fundraising, you should make sure that you are familiar with the Key Principles and Behaviours and rules on the handling of donations in the Code of Fundraising Practice.

Depending how your collection is being carried out, you may also need to consult other Code sections. These may include working with volunteers, children, or third parties, and the payment of fundraisers.

For the public

Door-to-door fundraisers need to have a permit from the local authority. This is the case whether they are collecting from homes or businesses. If you live in a Cold Call Control Zone (CCCZ) where fundraising is prohibited, or have a “no cold calling” sticker then door-to-door fundraisers can’t knock.

Door-to-door fundraisers are legally allowed to knock until 9pm but cannot do so in groups of more than 2. Fundraisers cannot enter your home unless you invite them. If you clearly indicate that you do not wish to engage, fundraisers should politely leave.

Legitimate collectors should have an ID badge clearly displayed. This should state who they work for and a landline phone number for the organisation. This should be properly printed – not photocopied or handwritten.

To donate by Direct Debit you only need to give your account number and sort code. You should never give your card number, PIN or security code.

To see the rules on door-to-door collections, see the Door Fundraising Rulebook.

If you suspect a collection is not legitimate, contact the charity to see if they are collecting in your area. If the Charity is not aware of the appeal, report it to the police.

Direct debit fundraising resources


Door-to-door fundraising rulebook

How fundraisers approaching households are expected to behave. It includes:
1. approaching households respectfully;
2. the time of day that fundraisers may knock; and
3. fundraisers' responsibilities regarding no-cold-calling zones and door stickers.
Read more

Related investigations

Investigation report

Decision: Neet Feet Ltd and eight charities

The Fundraising Regulator’s decision following an investigation into Neet Feet Ltd and eight charities
Read more