Commercial collectors

BHF store

House-to-house collections of donated goods are a crucial source of income for many charities and a popular way for the public to donate to charity shops.

In recent years however, collections run not by charities but by commercial companies have become increasingly prevalent.

These companies sell donated goods for commercial gain, offering charities a share of the income in exchange for the use of their name and brand on collection materials. While 100 per cent of profits from collections run by us stay with the charity, the proportion of profits from commercial collections that go to the partner charity can be as low as 5 per cent.

We think that all charities who want to should be able to conduct house-to-house collections to raise money for their cause. But when this happens by working with commercial companies, charities should be making sure they get a fair deal and maximise the income that they get from the partnership.

We also think it should be easier for householders to understand who they are donating to. We’re calling for collection bags to include clear information about:

  • commercial partners, where they are carrying out collections rather than a charity doing this directly
  • the amount of money that will be raised for the charity as well as the profits being made by the commercial partner
  • what will happen to the goods that have been donated, including whether items are sold through charity shops as well as being sold for recycling and reuse, or whether all goods are sold for recycling and reuse.

Members of the public should have all the necessary information to best make donations of goods to the causes they care about.

For more information read our policy statement.