Ocean waves foam birdseye view Sergey Bogomyako

Fundraising questions answered

6 minute read

Find the answers to your questions about fundraising for the Marine Conservation Society. If you can’t see what you’re looking for, email us at [email protected]

You must comply with all applicable laws and obtain any licences required for your event. You may need to arrange public liability insurance. The Marine Conservation Society cannot accept any liability for loss, injury or damage that may result from your event.

Licences

Your event may require the following licences:

  • Street Collection Licence
  • Temporary Events Notice
  • Premises Licence
  • TV Licence

If you're not sure what licences you need, go to the Government Licence Finder website or contact your local authority.

Health and safety

Make sure you assess and eliminate any potential risks to yourself, volunteers and participants at your event. For guides on risk assessing, go to the Health and Safety Executive website.

If your event requires people who are first-aid trained, contact St. John’s Ambulance.

COVID-19

Please ensure your activities follow the current guidelines for your area. You can find advice on the UK Government website.

For information on safe beach cleans, see our Join a beach clean page.

Using public property

Inform the landowner and police if your event is being held in a public place. Check the licences section, above, for information on what licences you may need.

Food and drink

You must follow food safety regulations if you plan to provide or sell food to members of the public. To find out if this applies to your event, check with the environmental health department of your local authority. You’ll need a licence if you want to sell alcohol at your event.

Gambling: raffles, tombolas and equal chance gaming

Raffles and tombolas count as gambling. However, you don’t need a licence to run one if you follow the proper guidance.

Bingo and poker can also be run as a charitable activity without a licence but there are strict rules governing how you collect the money and give the prizes.

For more information and guidance, see the Gambling Commission website.

Sales and promotions in the name of the Marine Conservation Society

Businesses are required by charity law to have a written agreement with us if they plan to sell goods or services, or run promotions for us. To find out more or learn how your business can work with us, email us at [email protected].

How can I take online donations?

You can set up an online giving page in minutes. The great thing about online giving is you don’t have to worry about handling cash. Your sponsors donate online and everyone can see how much you’ve raised so far. We recommend using JustGiving, Virgin Money Giving or Tiltify. Remember to share your fundraising page on your social networks. And keep your friends and followers up to date with everything you do in the lead-up to your event.

Can I use a collection box?

If you don’t have much time, an easy way to fundraise is to use a collection box. We can provide you with a box to put in your home, local shop or school, or to take to events.

You will need a Street Collection Licence to collect donations in a public place or door-to-door.

At home

Download our collection box template, print it, cut it out and stick the tabs together to create your own box. Pop your loose change in the collection box until it’s full!

At a local business

Once you have permission from the business owner, request a secure collection box from our Fundraising team. We will post your box to you with tamperproof seals and information leaflets to display with the box. If you find more businesses that are happy to support us, we can send you more collection boxes. If you are leaving the box with a business, plan how best to empty it. Some business owners are happy to do this themselves and others prefer the fundraiser to empty the box instead.

In public 

Supporters have raised between £50 and £200 each in just one day through street collections in their local areas. Follow our guide to successful street collections:

Let the Fundraising team know you’re planning a street collection. You’ll need to apply for a licence from your local authority at least one month before collecting donations in public (the notice period can vary). Don’t be put off by this – it’s usually pretty easy. Once your local authority confirms they are happy for you to collect donations, email our Fundraising team to request your collection boxes, tamperproof seals and information leaflets. Before hitting the streets, meet with your fellow fundraisers and decide where you’ll stand. If you have to cancel your collection, notify your local authority as soon as possible.

Congratulations, you’ve filled up your collection boxes! What next?

As volunteer fundraisers, we trust you to count and pay in the donations you've collected. As the organiser, you are responsible to ensure your volunteers return the full collection boxes to you. We recommend counting the money with at least one other person. See 'How do I pay in my donations?' for what to do next.

Top tips:

  • Take a copy of your licence with you on the day.
  • Only collect cash. If someone would like to set up a direct debit, please direct them to our website. Only use the collection boxes we provide and make sure the Marine Conservation Society label is on the box.
  • Stick to the areas you have specified in your application.
  • Please be polite and take care not to annoy anyone. Follow the Fundraising Regulator’s Guide to Collecting Money or Other Property to ensure your collection is safe and legal.
  • Cash must be placed directly into the box, not handed to the collector.
  • Please do not take any of the donations raised to cover your expenses. We are unable to pay for volunteer fundraisers' expenses.
  • Stay safe when heading home with the cash. We recommend having at least one other person with you when travelling with a large amount of cash.
  • We don't encourage house-to-house collections. For your safety, we would like you to collect in public areas only. And we recommend you don’t fundraise alone.
  • Within a month of your event, you'll need to complete and return a Street Collection Form of Statement (or equivalent) to your local authority.

How do I promote my fundraiser?

Contacting your local press

Contacting your local paper or radio station is a great way to publicise your fundraising and raise awareness of the ocean emergency. To help you, we’ve created a press release template (see Fundraising resources) with tips on personalising your release and contacting your local press.

It’s best to contact the news desk or editorial team first to explain what you’re doing and find out who is the best person to address your release to. Include a good quality photo of yourself if you can, especially if you have one of you wearing your fundraising outfit. The newspaper may send a photographer to take a photo for you.

Send your press release to your local newspapers, radio and television stations. If you don’t know the names of your local media organisations, or need help finding their contact details, search for them on the Media.info directory or email us at [email protected]. Press releases can get lost on busy news desks. So follow up your release with a phone call a few days later to ask when they might be able to cover your story and if they need any additional information.

Using social media

Sharing your online giving page is a great way to start fundraising. Personalise your posts and share the story of why you’re fundraising for the Marine Conservation Society. Use photos and video to engage people and encourage them to donate.

It’s a good idea to contact people directly through platforms like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, so your message isn’t missed.

Remember to tag the Marine Conservation Society so we can follow your progress and share your fundraising stories even further.

facebook.com/mcsuk

Instagram.com/mcs_uk

twitter.com/mcsuk

youtube.com/YourSeasYourVoice

How do I pay in my donations?

The easiest way to donate is through mcsuk.org/donate. Please don’t send cash in the post. You can pay it into your bank and then donate online.

Don’t forget to increase your donation by 20% by filling out the Gift Aid form.

Please get in touch by telephone or email [email protected] if you can't donate online.

What is Gift Aid?

Gift Aid lets charities claim an extra 25p for every £1 you raise. We can reclaim the tax your donors pay for the current tax year. We need their home address to identify them as a current UK taxpayer, so don’t forget to send us your completed sponsor forms.

What is Payroll Giving?

Payroll Giving is a way of giving money to charity without paying tax on it. It must be paid through PAYE from someone’s wages or pension. If you’re employed, your employer needs to set up and run the scheme. The amount of tax relief you get depends on the rate of tax you pay.

Email us at [email protected] if you'd like to know more about how you can donate tax-free through your pay. Or ask your employer if they're registered with a Payroll Giving agency.

You can find more information on the Payroll Giving website and UK Government website.

Lower the environmental impact of your event

If you support the Marine Conservation Society, you care about our planet and oceans. Here are some tips to make your event as environmentally friendly as possible:

  • Don’t release balloons or sky lanterns. While they look beautiful, they can have a devastating effect on our marine wildlife. Consider biodegradable and reusable decorations instead, such as paper pom poms and bunting.
  • If you’re travelling, use public transport, cycle or walk.
  • Try to use locally sourced produce and opt for organic and Fairtrade products at your events.
  • If serving seafood, don’t forget to consult our Good Fish Guide on which fish to buy or avoid.
  • Clean up any litter after your event and recycle as much waste as possible.
  • Print your promotional materials on recycled paper and use the double-sided print option. Or go paperless and promote your event online.
  • If you’re dressing up, avoid glitter, which is a microplastic and often ends up in our seas.