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New guidance for door-to-door charity collection bag companies

New guidance for door-to-door charity collection bag companies

New CAP guidance has been issued for door-to-door charity collection bag companies.

The CAP ruling states that all collectors must make it clear that they are commercial enterprises and that the donations consumers leave in the bags will not go directly to a charity, but that a proportion of the profits from the sale of donated goods will do instead.

The guidance:

  • Advertisers should communicate their name and company status on both sides of the bag
  • If the bag features a charity’s name, it must not be given greater prominence than the name of the company undertaking the collection. This means the company name must be of equal or greater prominence compared to the charity name
  • The guidance applies to private companies or individuals who act as commercial participants in the house-to-house collection of goods, with a proportion of the proceeds given to charity.
  • It does not apply to charity shops (or their agents) collecting goods on behalf of the charity to be sold in charity shops. In this case, the charity would hold the collection licence and could be the sole name on the bag.

The guidance has been issued following a review of potentially misleading advertising practices by private door-to-door collection companies. It also follows a complaint received by ASA last year about a charity collection bag. The complainant said the commercial nature of the bag was not clear.

ASA concluded the bag was misleading because there was no mention of the advertiser’s name or company status on the front of the bag and the charity name and registration number were given more prominence than the details of the commercial company collecting the bag,

Companies have until 2nd June 2017 to bring their collection bags in line with the new guidance.

Shahriar Coupal, director of the Committees, said:

“No-one should feel duped into thinking they are donating directly to a charity if that’s not the case. Appeals to consumers’ generosity can benefit a range of good causes but it’s only fair that these companies are truthful and transparent about the commercial nature of the service they provide. Our guidance sets out clearly how commercial collection companies can stick to the rules which will help build consumer trust and, ultimately, benefit charities.”


Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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