Collect Clothes, Not Complaints: Charity collection bags

Collection bags which are posted through letterboxes allow consumers to get rid of unwanted clothing and bric-a-brac, whilst also feeling good about helping charities in the process.  When it comes to the bags themselves, marketers who operate such schemes must ensure that any commercial element of the service is made explicit. 

Here are a few tips to make sure that the only things you collect are clothes and not complaints.

Be Upfront and Clear

Marketers must make sure that the commercial nature of the service is made clear to consumers.  As previous ASA rulings have shown, advertisers must not misleadingly imply that consumers are donating goods directly to a charity.

Don’t Hog the Limelight

One of the easiest ways to do this is to prominently and clearly display the company name on both sides of the bag.  Whilst it is of course acceptable to include references to the charities which benefit in some way from the collection, it should be obvious that the service is commercial.  To this end, the charity’s name or logo should not be given greater prominence than the company’s name.  In practice, this means that both should have at least equal prominence.

Further Guidance

Our Compliance team has previously published guidance for commercial participants in door-to-door charitable collections, which reinforces the need for clear bag labelling (for example, “Company X Ltd collecting in association with Charity Y”).  Ultimately, this ensures that consumers know that a proportion of profits from the sale of donated goods will go to good causes, rather than their donations going directly to charity.

If you need further advice or guidance on this see our AdviceOnline entry here and our Copy Advice team are on hand as always to give free bespoke advice

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