Its time to hit the streets
Street based charity collections are not every volunteers favourite fundraiser.
They do however bring in the cash and are a great way of raising the profile of your organisation or good cause.
The choice of location for your street collection is extremely important in order to maximise the number of passers-by / potential donors. Town centres and high streets are best along with shopping malls.
You may need to check with the local authority whether permission for charity collections is needed (it usually is). Some larger supermarkets will also allow charity collections outside their stores but do seek permission first as many operate a waiting list of groups wishing to run collections. If undertaking a collection at a supermarket do follow any specific guidelines and be polite to customers. The stores will not take kindly to you giving their customers a hard time.
Choosing a good date is important. Avoid holidays and other times
when people (and your own volunteers) are likely to be busy or when
other collections are likely to be taking place.
Timing is also important and should depend on your location but
also when you are likely to be able to muster the required volunteers.
For most street charity collections it will be necessary to obtain a licence from the local authority.
In the UK, for instance, it is illegal to hold a street collection to collect money or sell articles for the benefit of a charity in any public place without one.
It is often assumed that collections held in shop doorways or car parks do not need a Street Collection Licence because they are being held on 'privately owned land'.
This is not true. A shop doorway or carpark, when that shop is open for trading, is a 'public place' because the public has access at that time.
In the USA and other countries different rules may apply please check with your local authority.
As much as anything else a licence system should prevent you clashing with other collectors.
As mentioned previously volunteering to rattle a tin is not within every supporters comfort zone. You can make life easier for them by having a clear rota for the collection with volunteers signing up for just an hour each before being relieved.
This is not a job for shrinking violets however and you need enthusiastic and friendly volunteers who don't mind "standing up for the cause" - Street collections require a positive attitude.
The reverse of this is also true however. You should beware of the over-enthusiastic tin rattler who chases people up the street and will probably do your organisation more harm than good.
The best approach is to be positioned in a good spot with plenty of passing traffic so as you are close enough to solicit contributions without getting in the way of people going about their normal business.
A great way to help your collectors is to have clear posters up explaining exactly who you are and what you do. Make sure also that your supporters are well briefed on your organisation and exactly where any money raised will be going.
Remember also that a picture tells a thousand words so if you have good images set up a display board and use them. Its much easy to approach someone with your collecting tin if they have stopped to look at what you do.
Offering flags, stickers or balloons to children is another way to minimise the "embarrassment factor" of asking for donations.
It also is a good way to engage with parents who might be more likely to put their hand in their pocket for something for their children (even if it is only a sticker). Its also easier for volunteers to ask "would you like to buy a flag" than simply rattling a tin.
A good organiser should be on hand to lend collectors moral support. A friendly word of appreciation, the offer of a sweet a quick check they are ok every so often, can really make all the difference.
Show your appreciation - Don't forget also to let all volunteers know the exact total raised as soon as possible after the event. A quick phone call or thank you note with the total is really important.
Dressing up can add to the fun and bring in extra cash
You should always have flyers about your organisation ready to hand for people who want more information. Charity collections in the street are great for profile raising and finding some new volunteers for your organisation. So don't miss the opportunity for lack of a pen and paper!
Any money collected should go into closed and sealed tins and it is definitely worth investing in or borrowing official charity collecting tins in order to reassure people that you are above board and professional. The collection tins should later be opened and counted in the presence of two or more people.