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Public urged to be wary of clothing collections by unregistered charities

The Charity Regulator received 431 reports from the public about unregistered charity groups operating house-to-house collections in 2020.

An example of a leaflet from an unregistered charity group.
An example of a leaflet from an unregistered charity group.
Image: Charities Regulator

THE CHARITIES REGULATOR has warned the public to be vigilant when giving unwanted clothes away due to a rise in concern from the public about house-to-house charity collections.

The regulator issued new guidance to both charities and the public on the issue after receiving 431 reports last year from the public about unregistered charity groups operating collections for unwanted clothes and other items.

“While we recognise that some registered charities benefit from fundraising through door-to-door collections, the majority of concerns received by the Charities Regulator from members of the public regarding such collections relate to individuals and organisations that are not registered charities,” said Charities Regulator Chief Executive Helen Martin.

Martin said people who contact the regulator are right to be concerned as it is unlawful for anyone to claim to be a charity when they are not.

  • Our colleagues at Noteworthy want to find out what bogus ‘charity’ clothes collectors are doing with your cast-offs. See how you can support this project here.

“We hope this new guidance for charities and the public will assist in ensuring that any donations destined for charitable causes end up with registered charities,” she said. 

According to the regulator, leaflets and bags received for clothing collections from registered charities should clearly display the following information:

  • The charity’s name
  • The charity’s logo
  • Registered charity number (RCN)
  • Contact details for the charity.

You can also search for the name of a charity on the regulator’s website here.

Guidelines for registered charities note that some organisations carry on the trade of clothing collections on a commercial basis for profit but warned that under section 46(2) of the Charities Act 2009, it is not permissible for an organisation that is not a registered charity to refer to itself as a charity, or to describe itself or its activities in such terms as would cause members of the public to reasonably believe that it is a charity.

Here are some examples of leaflets from unregistered charity groups sent into the Regulator:

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Adam Daly

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