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What are house-to-house collections

House-to-house collections involve members of the church or local community delivering envelopes to homes in the local area and calling back to see if a homeowner would like to make a donation.

Christian Aid has a special license that covers this activity and house-to-house collections have been a key way the church community has supported us in fundraising and raising awareness since their first inception during the 1950s.

Over the years house-to-house collections have raised tens of millions of pounds for some of the poorest communities in the world each May. At over 60 years old Christian Aid week is the longest-running fundraising week in the UK. For many supporters, house-to-house collecting is an important part of their churches mission and outreach. If you are interested in joining a collection or finding out what’s happening in your area, please contact us.

Essential information and volunteer guidelines

Thank you so much for collecting on behalf of Christian Aid.

As a collector, you are an ambassador for Christian Aid and you should treat the people and places you visit with respect. Below we have included some essential information and instructions to observe whilst collecting. If you would like further advice on collecting, please visit the Fundraising Regulator or OSCR in Scotland.

  • You already have permission to do a house-to-house collection during Christian Aid Week. We have written to the police and all local authorities to inform them that house-to-house collections may be taking place in your area. Please ensure that collectors deliver and collect envelopes during Christian Aid Week only, 12–18 May 2024. 
  • You must not fundraise before 9am Monday to Saturday or before 10am on Sundays and public holidays 
  • You must not approach a property in groups of more than two at a time and always knock at the front door (usually the door that is closest to or most directly accessible from a street), unless a resident asks you to do otherwise. 
  • You must get individual permission to enter the building from the resident of every property you visit in the building. For example, if visiting a set of flats, you must ask for entry from each homeowner.
  • You must be over 16 to collect in your own right (over 18 in London) 
  • You must not give children under 16 overall responsibility for handling money or responsibility for counting collected money. 
  • Please note that due to changes in the agreements between charities, paid fundraisers from other agencies may be operating during Christian Aid Week. 

'No cold-calling' areas

Some councils have also introduced No Cold Calling Zones, and some No cold-calling stickers now apply to charity collections. Please do not knock on doors with stickers that say ‘no cold-calling’, ‘no fundraisers’, ‘no charities’ or similar, unless it is the home of someone you know.  More information on no cold calling zones is included below.

Find out whether your council allows collections in No Cold Calling Zones below. 

Do ‘no-cold-calling’ stickers apply to house-to-house collections? 

  • Guidelines on ‘no-cold-calling stickers’ now apply to charity collections. Please do not knock on doors with stickers that say ‘no cold-calling’, ‘no fundraisers’, ‘no charities’ or similar, unless it’s the home of someone you know. 

Which stickers apply? 

  • You must not knock on doors with ‘no cold-calling’, ‘no doorstep callers’, ‘no calling without appointment’, ‘no charity fundraisers’ or other similar messages. 
  • You may knock on doors with stickers displaying a more specific request (or targeting a particular group), for example: ‘no salespeople, traders or junk mail’, but any approach should be made with caution and sensitivity. 

How does this relate to ‘no-cold-calling’ zones? 

  • Many councils have designated certain areas as ‘cold-calling control zones’ or ‘no-cold-calling zones’. These should be identified with signs on walls and lampposts etc throughout the area. 
  • Many local authorities have decided that charity collections are still allowed in these zones. Please check our list of councils and their policies. If your council isn’t on that list, try contacting them directly – please contact us if they respond. 
  • If your local authority has confirmed that charities are exempt, you may collect as normal. Otherwise, please do not call in those zones and follow the guidance we’ve given on ‘no-cold-calling’ stickers. If you have any questions, please contact us.

Can collectors still leave envelopes at a ‘no-cold-calling’ house? 

  • Yes, you can post an envelope through the door of a ‘no-cold-calling’ house, as long as you don’t knock. We suggest including an address where they can leave the envelope if they choose to donate. 

What if a supporter accidentally calls at a ‘no cold-calling’ house? 

  • While all collectors should take care to look for a ‘no-cold-calling’ sticker before knocking, occasionally, these can genuinely be missed, especially if a sign or sticker is obscured or faded. 
  • If a sticker is not seen and the resident reacts negatively as a consequence, please apologise, be respectful and leave immediately. You should also let your Christian Aid Week organiser know so that we can avoid collecting at that address in the future.

Adapting house to house

Perhaps you haven’t got enough volunteers to cover all your streets. That’s OK – there are lots of ways you can adapt house to house to make it easier and more enjoyable. 

One-stop collection 

Rather than doing one trip to deliver your envelopes and another to pick them up, why not knock on doors the first time you go around and give people an envelope there and then? 

Delivery only with drop-off point

With a Delivery-only collection, you can deliver envelopes without needing to go back and collect. Using our specially designed envelopes you can write on, label, print or stamp a local drop-off point or return address so supporters who wish to make a donation can do so. Find out more about here.

Focus your efforts

If you can only collect on a few streets, consider concentrating on the ones most convenient for your collectors, or where you’ve collected recently and are known by the people living there. Or you might know that certain streets are always particularly generous – make sure you collect from them! 

Try collecting at a local station or supermarket, or even on the street. See the advice on street collections here.

Collector recruitment ideas

So, as well as thinking about where you can publish requests for collectors (for instance, in your church notices or newsletter) think about who you can approach individually and how to go about it.  

Most collectors are long-standing volunteers who are well known to their church representative or organiser. When a new collector joins your group, if they are not known to one of your existing members, please speak to their church leader to ensure they are in good standing in their church. Please also ask them if they have any prior convictions and get in touch with us for further advice if they do. 

Think of groups to approach

Are there groups either within your church or that meet in your building that might be able to get involved? What about within the wider community? 

Train the next generation

You must be over 16 to collect house to house in your own right (over 18 in London), but children can be very effective collectors’ assistants.

We have a fantastic team of volunteer speakers and teachers who could provide a school assembly or materials to support you to do it yourself. This is a great way of reaching lots of young people, as well as prompting parents to give. Or why not encourage Scouts, Guides or other uniformed groups to get involved? Please note that anyone under 16 should not be given overall responsibility for handling money or responsibility for counting collected money. 

Hold an event

Host an event before Christian Aid Week, for people interested in getting involved. Show the Christian Aid Week video over tea and cake, and ask an experienced collector to talk about why they collect.

Give a talk beforehand 

Get in touch with us to request a local speaker. This could help inspire new volunteers.  

Show a video 

We’ve got lots of great videos on our You Tube channel. Could you show one of these in your church notices? Or perhaps you could share them on Facebook or via email. 

Share stories 

Encourage current collectors to share their positive experiences of collecting in the notices. Has house to house helped them meet their neighbours or feel more connected to their local community? Are there members of your church who were introduced to the church by a collector coming to their door? 

Link collections to church’s mission 

For example, by delivering a leaflet about some of your other church activities along with the envelopes. Or how about combining collecting or delivering envelopes with a prayer walk?