Charitable collections

Charitable collection permits are required for anyone who organises a collection of money for charity - either in a public place or house-to-house.  A public charitable collection is defined as a collection from the public of money (whether given by them for consideratio or not) for charitable purposes, taken either in a public place or by means of visits from place to place.  Charitable purposes mean any charitable, benvolent or philanthropic purposes whether or not they are charitable within the meaning of any rule of law.  A public place means any place to which the public have unrestricted access.

Permission is not required to place an unattended collection box in a fixed position in a public place such as a shop counter, bar counter etc, provied the proprietor has consented.

Collectors in street collections must be aged 14 years or over.  Those in house-to-house collections, 16 years or over.  After the collection, you will be required to submit an audited return, showing how much money was collected, how much was deducted in administration and how much was put to your charitable purpose(s).

Applications must be made on behalf of a properly constituted organisation and cannot be made in the name of individual persons.  Applications are required to be lodged no later than one month prior to the date of the collection.  Exempt promoters must notify the local authority, in writing, no later than three months prior to the date of collection.  

Exempt promoters

Anyone organising collections over the whole or a substantial part of Scotland, may apply to the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) to be made an exempt promoter.  The benefit of being an exempt promoter is that it reduces the administrative burden of having to co-ordinate with many local authorities throughout Scotland when organising a public charitable collections.  Further information on this scheme, including a list of current exempt promoters, can be obained from OSCR.

Take me to the OSCR website

Download the charitable collections application form

Download the charitable collections guidance notes

Download the charitable collections returns form