The Charities Regulator and An Garda Síochána are once again warning members of the public to be vigilant if they wish to donate to charity through house-to-house collections.
People will be familiar with bags and stickers coming through their letterboxes asking for donations of unwanted clothing or other items, but what people may not realise is that many of these collectors are not registered charities.
The message from the Charities Regulator and An Garda Síochana is to remember that only registered charities are regulated.
“The majority of concerns received by the Charities Regulator from members of the public continue to focus on individuals and organisations who are carrying out house-to-house collections, but are not registered charities,” Charities Regulator Chief Executive Helen Martin said. “Only registered charities are regulated and it is unlawful for any group to falsely claim to be a registered charity.”
So far this year the Charities Regulator has 75 reports from the public expressing concern about people and/or organisations operating house-to-house collections for unwanted clothing and other goods.
“We are concerned about the number of reports we continue to receive from members of the public about these collections. We believe that organisations engaged in unlawful clothing collections will continue to operate in this manner only for as long as people continue to make donations to them,” Ms Martin said.
“We want the public to know that there is a quick and easy way to check whether or not an organisation is a registered charity. You can check the online Register of Charities at www.charitiesregulator.ie.”
Leaflets and bags received for clothing collections from registered charities should clearly display the following information:
- The charity’s name;
- The charity’s logo;
- The charity’s Registered Charity Number;
- Contact details for the charity.
As a reminder to the public to be vigilant about people collecting door-to-door, Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman stated: "It is important that while supporting charities people have confidence in the charity they are donating to. The Charities Regulator carries out functions under the Charities Act and An Garda Síochána support this work.
"If you are concerned about people calling to your door, or soliciting donations please tell the caller that you never engage with people ‘cold calling’ to your door and you’ll donate directly to the charity yourself. You can always check the collection is authorised by calling the charity directly using details from their official website or by obtaining the charity’s details from the Charities Regulator website.
"If you think a caller or collection is bogus please report it to your local Garda Station. For further crime prevention advice on bogus callers/traders please go to https://www.garda.ie/en/crime-prevention/crime-prevention/."