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Bringing in the Big Bucks: Bag Packs and Bucket Collections

Do you want to reach out to a wide range of people but aren’t sure how to get people you don’t know to support your fundraising? Well get those buckets at the ready because we’ve got a handy step by step guide to help you get those pounds rolling in!

Bag packing is a really simple but effective way to fundraise. Stand at the end of a supermarket till and as people's groceries come down offer to pop them in some bags in return for a donation.

Bucket collections are another great way to get loose coins from people you don't know. Think carefully about where you’ll do one. You need a busy place with lots of people passing by. This could be a train station, shopping centre or supermarket entrance.

A group of volunteers stand with collection buckets
© Kimberley Ormesher
ICS volunteers working together to raise money and awareness

Start early 

You’ll need to speak to a supermarket or train station as soon as possible to give you the best possible chance of finding a date that suits.

Get Permission

Most of my fundraising plans were based around my family and Church so I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and do something with the public... A bucket collection seemed a good way to involve others and spread the word about ICS. 
Kimberley Ormesher
VSO volunteer in Kenya

Bag packing is a great way to fundraise and can often raise more than a standard bucket collection. Go in to the store in person and ask to speak to the charity coordinator or store manager. Email is great, but for all your activities, speaking to people directly gives you a better chance to explain ICS and why you’re fundraising and you’re much more likely to get them excited too. Take your letter of authority with you to prove you’re officially fundraising with ICS.

If you want to do a bucket collection instead, you’ll still need permission to be there. Just like with bag packing, take your letter of authority with you to your local train station or shopping centre when speaking to the manager to arrange this. If you plan to raise money in your town centre or a busy street you’ll need local council permission which can take a long time.

Volunteer stands with collection bucket
© April Quigley
April Quigley smashes her second bucket collection to raise over £1245 altogether!

Try more than one store

On the day, wear a smile non-stop. Sometimes a smile is enough to draw someone in to donate, but if it's not it just makes your own mood a lot lighter. Don't be selective as I found that it was those I least expected who donated.
Bea Olding
VSO volunteer in Kenya

Don’t be disheartened if the first store you try isn’t able to help you out. Supermarkets are everywhere! Just try another one. If they all say yes, then you can do two or three different bucket collections and raise two or three times as much. Obviously, the bigger and busier the store the better but do feel free to reach out to smaller stores too. As some supermarkets say – every little helps!

Don’t walk away empty handed. If your supermarket doesn’t allow bag packing why not try to arrange a bucket collection by the store entrance instead? Or ask for a voucher, bottle of wine or box of sweets for a raffle prize instead. If the council won't let you collect on street, what about asking to run a cake sale in their offices instead?

Get your friends and family involved

Two volunteers holing a collection bucket

If you raise £50 at the end of a till and 3 of your friends come along and do the same you’ll end up raising 4 times as much money through the same event!! This is great way to get your friends involved in your fundraising without actually asking them for cash.

Be creative

Draw attention to your collection with a cheery smile and a few ICS balloons or posters from your fundraising support officer. Prepare for making the most of limited resources while on placement by getting together your own buckets. This could be any container you have lying around home from an old sandcastle bucket to a pretty jam jar with ICS painted on the side.

Once you’ve got all those lovely coins you’ll need to count them up, pop them into your bank and then transfer them over to your JustGiving page as soon after your collection as possible.

It’s as simple as that!