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Christian Aid Week FAQs

House-to-house collections

Collector recruitment ideas

Being asked personally is one of the most powerful motivators for getting involved in Christian Aid Week. 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. Here are a few ideas:

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, but children can be very effective collectors’ assistants. Running a school assembly about Christian Aid Week 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?

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

Or get in touch with your regional office for a local speaker. This year’s talks include a suggested script specifically to help you persuade potential collectors.

Show a video

We’ve got lots of great videos coming soon. Could you show one of these in your church notices or after coffee? 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?

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.

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

Many groups deliver envelopes to homes without going back to collect them. Instead they use a local drop-off point as somewhere people who wish to make a donation can leave their envelope. This might be a local shop, Post Office, library or your church.

Christian Aid produces a specially designed ‘no-reply envelope’ available to order that includes space for you to add a return address of your choice. If you wish to find out more about delivery-only collection our Delivery-only guidance provides everything you need to know and has a template letter you can use to ask a local business to become a collection point.

You will need written permission from the site owner where your collection box will be placed.

Only reputable businesses should be used as drop-off points and returned envelopes should be kept in a sealed bucket. Make sure they’re somewhere a member of staff can see them at all times, eg at the till. It’s a good idea to use a cable-tie to make sure the bucket remains closed.

Any collectors delivering envelopes or collecting funds from the drop off point will need to wear a collecting badge available as part of our Christian Aid Week resources.

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 below to get started and contact your local office and we’ll get you set up with everything you need

Making collections more fun

There are lots of ways to make collecting more enjoyable by working together and joining in what’s happening around the country.

Make it sociable

Why not pair up and each do opposite sides of the street? Or organise set evenings to go out together as a group. You could also host a fellowship lunch or Big Brekkie before sending your collectors out.

Meet your neighbours

Collecting house to house provides an opportunity to introduce yourself and your church to the people you meet, or to develop relationships with those you already know.

Collect in teams

Could you encourage parents and children to collect together as a way for parents to explain discipleship? Or other intergenerational pairings as a way to get to know each other?

Share the devotional

Then encourage people to pray as they collect.

Say thank you

This can be face to face, using the orderable thank you card, or in newsletters. Or you could have an informal celebration over tea and cake at the end of the week to say thanks. Perhaps that might double up as an opportunity to recruit new collectors for next year.

Health and safety guidelines

See our guide below or download a copy of our health and safety guidelines for collecting during Christian Aid Week.

Get to know your street

If you’re not already familiar with the area, find out about the street you will be visiting and any potential safety issues. If your church, local committee or group collected in that street last year, they might have some information and advice.

Communication

Make sure a friend, relative or member of your church, committee or group knows when and where you will be collecting. If you have a mobile phone, take it with you but keep it concealed so that it’s not a target for thieves.

Driving

If you drive to the street where you’re collecting, park your car in a safe, well-lit area as near to the street as possible. Avoid walking a long distance carrying money.

Timing

It’s illegal to collect after 9pm – and we recommend that you only collect during daylight hours anyway. This is not only safer for you, but potential supporters may also feel more comfortable opening the door to you while it’s still light.

Weather

Consider postponing your collection if the weather makes it hazardous.

Safe access to properties

If a property is hard to access (due to, for example, dangerously stacked rubbish, building works or an unstable path) it may be better not to visit. You might be able to make contact with a householder via a neighbour instead.

Always be aware of any hazards that could cause you to slip or trip up, as well as falling items, unstable structures, machinery, moving vehicles and things that restrict visibility, such as heavy undergrowth.

Dogs and other pets

We suggest you use a ruler to push envelopes through letterboxes. If, while delivering or collecting, you become aware that there’s a fierce dog or other pet at the property that isn’t being controlled or restrained by the householder, move quickly to a place of safety.

Personal security

Where possible, bring someone with you – it’s always safer (and more fun) to collect in pairs, especially in an area that’s isolated or has a high crime rate.

Don’t take risks, be guided by your instincts, and if you begin to feel unsafe, it may be better to postpone your collection and return to a place of safety.

Don’t enter anyone’s home, and avoid dark, unlit areas or places from which you could find it difficult to escape. Consider precautions such as carrying a personal safety alarm.

Dealing with difficult behaviour

If you encounter anyone who’s aggressive, confrontational or hostile, stay calm and remain polite. Keep a safe distance from the person and find a way to withdraw safely from the situation as soon as you can.

If you see that someone’s becoming agitated, try to defuse the situation and avoid saying or doing anything that might make it worse.

Money

Use a discreet bag/container that allows you to keep the money you collect concealed. If a supporter wishes to make a large donation on the door, it’s better for them to write a cheque.

If at any point you feel threatened or challenged for the money you’ve collected, don’t take any personal risks. In the event of a threat or theft, call the police as soon as you can safely do so.

Health

If you’re too unwell to collect, or are aware of a health condition that may make it unsafe, postpone your visit until you’re well enough, or arrange for another member of your church, committee or group to do it instead.

Reporting accidents, near misses and incidents

In the unlikely event that an accident or incident occurs during your house-to-house collection, it’s important that you report this immediately to the leader of the church or other group that’s organising the collection.

If a member of the public would like to make a complaint, they can get in touch directly by emailing info@christian-aid.org or calling 020 7620 4444.

Safeguarding advice for house-to-house collections

We want giving to Christian Aid to be a positive experience for all. It’s possible that during your house-to-house collections you will meet people are vulnerable or need additional support to make an informed decision about giving.

There could also be times when you inadvertently approach people who may not have the mental capacity to make a decision to donate. To treat donors fairly and safely, please follow the following advice when collecting:

  • Make sure you are familiar with your church’s safeguarding policy, and have the phone number of your safeguarding officer to hand.
  • If you suspect that a person you are collecting from is lacking capacity or is in vulnerable circumstances, please leave politely and immediately without making a request for a donation. This should be done without any direct enquiries about the individual’s capacity to make a decision or the existence of vulnerable circumstances.
  • If they wish to support Christian Aid in another manner, you can give the number of your local office who will be able to help.
  • If questions arise about someone’s capacity to give a donation after they have made it, please contact your local office. We will investigate and return the donation if appropriate.

Further reading

Treating Donors Fairly - Guidance for fundraisers responding to the needs of people in vulnerable circumstances and helping donors make informed decisions

Care Act 2014

What to say when collecting

Below is a starting script to give you an idea of what to say when you are collecting. Or download the script and on the doorstep faqs

Doorstep script

‘It’s Christian Aid Week this week and I posted an envelope like this one through your door a few days ago. Would you like to make a donation to support the world’s poorest people?’

If they say no, that’s fine! Thank them for their time and remember that whether or not someone donates, you’re still being a visible Christian witness in your local community and raising the profile of Christian Aid. 

If they say yes, thank them and ask if they would like to Gift Aid their donation, using the tear-off slip from the envelope. Your Guide to Collecting, which contains your authorisation badge, also has advice and useful information about Christian Aid to answer questions people might have on the doorstep

Frequently asked questions on the doorstep

What does Christian Aid do?

Christian Aid has a vision of an end to poverty. Across Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America and the Caribbean, we work with local partners to bring lasting change for people living in poverty, regardless of their faith, gender or race.

What’s Christian Aid Week?

Christian Aid Week is seven amazing days of fundraising, prayer and action against global poverty. During the week, we ask our supporters to give their time, money and voices to help bring lasting change to some of the world’s poorest communities.

The money you raise helps fund our vital work to transform the lives of people around the world.

How is the money spent?

Of every £1 given over the last year, 86p was spent on helping people living in poverty. We spend 14p from every £1 raised on raising the next £1, which keeps our work going.

Why does Christian Aid only work on issues of poverty internationally?

Christian Aid was set up by the churches in Britain and Ireland to be their agency to tackle poverty overseas. Christian Aid works with agencies such as Church Action on Poverty to draw attention to the links between poverty at home and abroad through issues such as tax.

Does Christian Aid only help Christians?

No. We believe everyone is equal. We work to help people on the basis of need, not religion, race, ethnicity or nationality, and we fund projects that help people of all faiths and none.

Much of the work we fund is carried out by local, faith-based organisations – including those run by Christians, Muslims, Jews or people of other faiths – but it’s for the benefit of all. Poverty does not discriminate on the basis of faith and neither do we.

We are committed to the Red Cross and Red Crescent Code of Conduct, meaning we never link aid with evangelism, and we don’t promote one Christian church or denomination over another.

Poverty does not discriminate on the basis of faith and neither do we. We are committed to the Red Cross and Red Crescent Code of Conduct, meaning we never link aid with evangelism, and we don’t promote one Christian church or denomination over another.

What does the ‘Christian’ in Christian Aid mean?

Christian Aid was created by the churches in Britain and Ireland, and churches remain our key supporters. We’re the overseas development agency of 41 sponsoring churches in Britain and Ireland and we work with church networks around the world.

We believe that every human being is equal in the sight of God and has fundamental dignity. In a world where millions of people live in poverty, we believe that Jesus calls us to be good news to poor communities.

We exist to help those who need it most. Our love and care for all our neighbours means that we stand together with those seeking dignity, equality and justice.

Questions about ‘no-cold-calling’ areas

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 – let us know if they respond by emailing caw@christian-aid.org

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, ask your local Christian Aid office.

 

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.

Church collections

Our guide for a church collection

Celebrating Christian Aid in church couldn’t be easier using our beautifully written prayers and sermons.

Step by step guide
  1. Invite a local speaker. Your regional office has a team of trained volunteers who can come and deliver an inspirational talk about our work, sharing the Christian Aid week stories with you and your church. Contact your regional office for availability. 
  2. Download our model Order of Service and pass it along to your church leader. We have several sermons and prayers to fit your requirements whether your service is at the start or end of Christian Aid Week or any time in between. 
  3. Need something more flexible for your congregation? Our downloadable All Age Talk is designed to fit many settings and contains children’s group activities. Our printed Children's Activity Sheet is also perfect for church services or groups. 
  4. Don’t forget to play our fantastic Christian Aid Week film to bring the stories to life.

Get your church leader on board

Let us know if you’re struggling to get your church leader's support – your regional office would be happy to help or suggest a meeting.

Ideas for engaging your church leader

If you’re looking for an easy way that your church leader could get involved, then why not suggest holding a church collection? We’ve got everything they might need to make it easy for them, including sermon notes, prayers and a service outline.

Or perhaps they might like to support your Christian Aid Week activities in other ways. Could they commission your collectors during a service?

Street, supermarket and station collections

Collecting at places locally with lots of people around can be a great way to boost your fundraising. Shopping centres, high streets, stations and supermarkets are all great places to collect, and the longer you can be there during the day, the more money you’re likely to raise. 

Recruiting collectors
  • Asking people in person always gets the best response. Let people know you’re looking for collectors in your church notices etc, but make sure you follow it up by asking in person.
  • Ask people who are no longer able to collect house to house. Supermarkets often give you a chair to sit on, so you don’t need to stand.
  • Keep a list of who has previously collected. Once someone has done it and found out how easy it is, they are likely to do it again.
  • You must not allow anyone under 16 to carry out street collections, except in London where, if you have special permission, you can use street collectors aged 14 or over.
When to hold collections
  • Friday is generally thought to be the best day for supermarket collections, although you don’t often get the choice! Sunday mornings can work surprising well too, as people buy a newspaper and donate their change.
  • Monday to Friday at rush hours are best for station collections.
  • Saturdays are best for town centre collections.
  • Garden centres are good on Fridays and Saturdays. Thursday evenings also work well if there are late night openings.
What to do
  • Book in early. Stations receive requests from various charities six months in advance!
  • Visit the station/supermarket/garden centre a week before the collection to make sure they are expecting you.
  • Give out Christian Aid stickers and balloons to children walking by. It raises awareness of Christian Aid and attracts people’s attention. For those in London, main lines are better than tube stations. Tube stations are too busy and people don’t tend to stop.
  • Be cheerful. Look at people and smile. Help people struggling with their shopping.
  • Wear Christian Aid tabards so people can identify quickly and easily which charity you are collecting for.
  • Stand where people walk past (entrance/exit).
  • Collect in pairs to have more visibility and to keep each other company. Don’t overload collectors by asking them to collect for too long.
  • Be strategic. Try collecting in a few different locations and see which works best!
  • Make sure everyone has the organiser’s mobile number in case of any issues that arise on the day.
Buckets and money
  • Supermarkets: it’s a good idea for the organiser to collect for the first hour. They will have the collection buckets and they can make sure everything is running smoothly. When their hour is up, they can pass the bucket on to the next collectors. The organiser may also like to do the final hour as they can take the money home with them once they have finished.
  • Depending on how successful the collection is, you may need to empty the buckets halfway through the day, as they do get very heavy!
  • Station collections: Give a tin to each collector in advance. You could then ask them to drop the tin off at an agreed location (a church or someone’s house) once they have finished collecting.
  • Don’t forget to thank your collectors and tell them how much they raised!
Get support

To get started with any of these kinds of collections, please contact your local office, which will be able to help with the procedures for different local councils, rail operators and supermarkets.

They can also provide the necessary official documents to support your application to collect.

Information for treasurers

This advice applies to treasurers in England and Wales only. If you’re based in another area, please contact your local office with any questions.

Which bank should I use to pay in Christian Aid Week income?

We recommend using Barclays or your own bank, but if neither of these is convenient, you can use the paying-in slip you received in your Welcome Pack in any bank branch. Please note that other banks may not accept large amounts of cash.

Can I pay in at the Post Office?

If you still wish to pay in at the Post Office, please order a new Post Office paying-in card using the order form in the Christian Aid Week welcome pack or by contacting your local office.

Please note that the Post Office has recently changed its policy and branches no longer have to accept loose coins from customers making cash deposits. For all denominations of coin below £1, only full bags will be accepted.

Payzone payments are no longer available – if you have Payzone card please destroy it.

Does my group need a bank or building society account?

No. You can send the money directly to Christian Aid’s bank account using the paying-in stationery provided. Please brief everyone who’s banking money raised in Christian Aid Week, using your printed copy of Money Matters.

Make sure they have enough paying-in stationery and return envelopes, and that you have completed the Christian Aid group name and reference number before passing on stationery (see the front of your Treasurer’s Toolkit for your group’s reference number).

If you have a Christian Aid group bank account, check that it has two up-to-date, authorised signatories. Ask your bank manager to operate the account free of charge.

I’ve received an old style £10 note. What should I do?

The old paper £10 notes will no longer be legal tender from 1 March 2018. However, if you do get any old £5 or £10 notes, Barclays and most banks will still accept these so keep them to one side and take them to the bank when you pay in your money.

If you have any problems contact your local Christian Aid office who can help further.

When does the money need to reach Christian Aid?

Please pay in the money as soon as you receive it. Cheques must be banked and Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) and other charity vouchers sent to Christian Aid quickly to avoid cancellations by donors who may think these have been lost or stolen.

The sooner money reaches Christian Aid, the sooner we can put it to work. If you need more paying-in stationery, please call your local office. Once complete, please return the Form A to your local Christian Aid area office no later than 20 July 2019.

It is a legal requirement that the completed Form A be checked and signed by the Christian Aid Week organiser or treasurer, and also by an independent verifier if a house-to-house collection was held.

Who can be an independent verifier?

Your independent verifier should be someone who is not influenced, or perceived to be influenced, by either close personal relationships with the treasurer or by involvement in the financial administration of Christian Aid Week.

The verifier should not have been involved in the administration of the house-to-house collection and should have no connection with the house-to-house collection that might prevent him/her from carrying out an independent check of the financial documents.

A verifier cannot independently check his or her own work, so cannot be the Christian Week treasurer, organiser or member of your Christian Aid group.

Can I deduct expenses?

Yes. You may deduct any expenses incurred, either through house-to-house activity or in other ways (for example, travel costs). Please keep a clear record of all expenses incurred and deduct before paying any funds raised to Christian Aid.

Please note: Christian Aid cannot reimburse costs of fundraising at a later date. We are legally required to report house-to-house expenses to the Office for Civil Society. It’s therefore essential that you record your expenses in the following way when completing the Form A:

  • In the case of house-to-house collections only, detail the total amount raised before expenses are deducted in section C (under ‘house-to-house collections’), and expenses incurred through house-to-house activity in section D
  • For expenses incurred in relation to any other kind of fundraising, deduct your costs from the total collected and report the total after expenses in section C.
Do collectors need to be contacted after Christian Aid Week?

Yes. Please make sure that individual collectors are thanked and told how much they raised, either by you, your Christian Aid Week organiser or their church rep. Thank you cards and posters are available from Christian Aid, either through your Christian Aid Week organiser or by calling your area office.

What information should I gather about collectors?

You must keep a list of collectors and their contact details. Mark next to each name the number of envelopes collected and the total amount, alongside the precise area where they collected. Please keep this list securely for seven years in case of future audit.

On the Form A, please record the total number of collectors involved and the number of envelopes that were collected through house-to-house activities. This should include the envelopes returned with nothing in them.

What do I need to know about data protection?

Please make sure to store anything with supporter details on securely, for example in a locked filing cabinet. This includes lists of collectors and Gift Aid slips before you send these to Christian Aid.

Data protection

In your volunteering, you will often hold data on Christian Aid supporters: for example, the names and addresses of your collectors. As a Christian Aid volunteer, you are responsible for keeping the data you hold safely, and for meeting the new GDPR regulations that came into force last year.

For further information, read our guidance on keeping data safe

Future Christian Aid Week dates

The next Christian Aid Weeks will be held on: 

10-16 May 2020

  9-15 May 2021

15-21 May 2022

14-20 May 2023

12-18 May 2024

11-17 May 2025

Talk to us

Let us know what works in your area

We always want to hear your ideas. If you would like to share your experience of using these suggestions or any other ideas you may have, please contact your local office or email caw@christian-aid.org

Thank you so much for all you do for Christian Aid Week!