You may receive charity collection sacks through your letterbox for your convenience. Here are some things you need to know before you donate this way.

1. There are different types of collection

Charities that collect the items and sell them in their shops
In this instance all the money from the sale of your donated items will go directly to the charity.

Commercial organisations that collect items on behalf of a charity
Some charities enter into partnerships with commercial organisations that collect on their behalf. The charity receives a proportion of the profit from the sale of your donations. The sack must state which commercial organisation is doing the collection and roughly how much will be going to the charity – you can then consider if you are happy with this arrangement. If it doesn’t state this, then we would urge you not to use the sack.

Commercial organisations not working with any charity
Do some digging. Some organisations not working with a charity might lead you to believe they are helping people in developing countries when they are selling the clothing for their own profit. These are what we call bogus collections.

2. Check the status of the charity and/or commercial collector if you are unsure

If you are not familiar with the charity please check the registration number with the Charity Commission if you are in England or Wales, the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator or the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland.

If you are giving your items to a commercial organisation collecting on behalf of a charity, you should check their company registration number on the Companies House website. Also check the registration number of the charity they are working in partnership with. This will make sure at least some of the money from your donation goes to charity.

3. The best way to ensure the most money from your donations goes to a charity is to donate directly to a charity shop.

4. If you don’t want to donate using a collection sack you’ve been delivered

Some charities might be able to collect it from you, but many won’t as this is time consuming and costly. Please reuse instead, you could use your bag for donating items direct to any charity shop later on.

5. If your bag is not collected

Contact the appropriate charity as soon as possible to report it. Most collection sacks will include a telephone number, or contact the charity’s main number and they will pass you to the right department.

6. If you suspect your sack of donations has been/is being stolen …

Some charities might not have branded vans, but drivers should always carry an ID. If in doubt, ask for an ID. If the driver does not provide this, then they may not work for the charity. Do not try to confront this person. Try to discreetly make a note of the van registration plate and contact the police. Also report the incident to the charity.