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Fundraising ideas

The Miscarriage Association needs funds in order to maintain and develop its support and information services to those who have lost a baby.

The following information is designed to help you find ways of fundraising that are legal, enjoyable and successful.

How do I go about it?

Fundraising can be a lot of fun. Good fundraising events encourage people to give out of interest and enthusiasm, whether it’s for you, the activity/event, or the organisation – or all three. Fundraising which works on people’s feelings of guilt or discomfort is a lot less fun, even if it might be effective! It’s up to you to choose.

Fundraising events can be as inventive as your imagination. Last year’s most unusual fundraiser was John Chatwin’s sponsored leg-wax – painful to do but no doubt fun to watch. Old-time favourites such as sponsored walks; climbs, cycle-rides and swims are always popular, though some of us might prefer a sponsored chocolate feast. Non-uniform days at work or at school are also an enjoyable change for the participants.

Is my fundraising idea legal? 

People sometimes worry about what they’re allowed to do and the legality of various activities. It is important to be aware of regulations covering fundraising activities and these have been incorporated into the following general guidance.

In general, however, the crucial points to remember are to behave responsibly, to ensure that people know where the money is going and to make sure all monies collected are accounted for. If you would like a letter of authority from the MA for a fundraising event, we will be happy to provide one.

Sponsored events (swims, silences, marathons, etc) are not covered by any legislation at present. You must be sure, however, that you solicit sponsorship privately rather than publicly. This means you can seek sponsors from friends. family, at work, church etc, but not house-to-house or by accosting people in the street! The Miscarriage Association can provide sponsorship forms tailored to your event. If there could be any risk to the public (e.g. in a sponsored parachute jump), then the Police should be consulted, and public liability insurance may be needed.

House-to-house collections or pub-crawls require a licence from your local police authority or local council. In your application, you will have to list the people who will be making the collection, including their names, addresses, occupations, and your exact route (with the name and permission of every landlord in the case of pub-crawls). It is a good idea to see that each of the collectors has a photocopy of the certificate, giving permission to collect, so that this can be produced on demand. In all cases where collections are made by a number of people, it is vital to have a list of their names and addresses, and to tick names off as tins are collected and returned.

A collection in a pub or other building such as a supermarket foyer or arcade is on private property and so no licence is required, but written permission must be obtained from the manager of the premises. Collectors should be warned that they are breaking the law if they so much as rattle a tin in the street outside the premises.

A street collection is in a different category, and is carefully regulated and licensed by the Local Authority. you will need to contact the relevant department – usually the Licensing Department – and ask how to apply for a licence, which is usually free. The City Council will have a calendar of street collections and flag days, and early booking is essential; the approval of the relevant council committee is required and this can take weeks if not months. If your application is successful, you will probably be allocated a well-defined area of the city and your collecting pitches must all be within this area to avoid overlapping with other simultaneous collections.

Collecting tins must be clearly labelled with the organisation’s name and charity number and must have a seal to prevent money being removed before the end of the collection. We have some tins here at Head Office or you may be able to borrow collecting tins from your local Council or voluntary Service.

Small lotteries which are part of another occasion, such as a fayre, sporting event etc. The organisers must not take more than £250 from the proceeds to pay for the prizes. Money prizes can not be given and proceeds must not be used for private gain. Ticket sales, the draw and the announcement of winners must take place on the premises in which the event is being held. No licence is required.

Private lotteries with ticket sales restricted to members – tickets must be printed with the price and the name and address of the promoter. The proceeds, less expenses, must go to the organisation or be used as prizes. This kind of lottery can only be advertised on the organisation’s premises and tickets can not be sent through the post. No licence is required.

Public lotteries, which must be registered with the local authority – tickets must cost no more than £1 and people under 16 may not buy or sell tickets. Expenses may not exceed 30% of the proceeds and the amount spent on prizes.

Car boot sales require major organisational input. If you can take part in someone else’s car boot sale, this will save a lot of bother. Keep an eye out for local car boot sales and contact the organisers to see if you can join in. You will no doubt have to pay a fee. If you go it alone, contact your City Council’s Environmental Health Department for information about local legal and other requirements.

Any games based on the lottery principle, e.g. Bingo, tombolas or scratch cards, are covered by the same legislation as raffles. Check with the City Council Licensing Department to see whether a licence is necessary.

Selling alcohol at fundraising events requires special permission from the Courts. Contact your local Police Licensing Department to find out about obtaining “occasional permission” to sell alcohol. Apply at least one month before the event

Please remember

The above information is subject to change in the light of changing legislation and/specific Local Authority rules and regulations. Do check with the Local Authority, the Police or your local Council for Voluntary Service if you are in any doubt.