Bucket collection by four Terrence Higgins Trust people at Canary Wharf station

We’ve given you some guidance below on how to arrange your collection. Remember, you can personalise the event, from dressing up, to wearing face paint, wearing all red in honour of Wear It Red, or entertaining your potential donors with some singing while you collect – whatever makes it most enjoyable for you.

Email the Community Fundraising team at [email protected] with any questions – we’ll be happy to help.

Find out how to boost your fundraising.



First you'll need to pick your date, time, and location

Where to collect

Decide whether you’d prefer to collect in a public place or a private venue. You'll need a permit from the council to collect in a public space, and permission from the owner to collect in a private venue.

Pick somewhere busy, where lots of people are likely to pass by. You could also consider collecting at a spot frequented by our supporters – the LGBTQ+ community, for instance.

Here are a few good locations:

  • a shopping centre (private)
  • a high street (public)
  • a supermarket (private)
  •  university buildings (private)
  • an LGBTQ+ venue, club, or pub (private)

Proximity and convenience for your volunteers is key. Choose somewhere everyone involved can travel to easily. Pick somewhere relatively close to your own home or have travel home sorted, because those buckets can get heavy!

You can only collect in a public space with a permit from the council, and all of your fundraisers must have a printed permit on their person (the council will send you a digital version to print) during the collection at all times.

You will most likely need to book a date a few weeks in advance with the council or private venue, so choose a date and get it in the diary as soon as possible.

When to collect

Based on the location, select a date and time; it would be best to collect at the weekend on the high street, for instance, and to focus on peak times, like lunch time and 5-7pm.

It will help make your event a success if you can piggyback on an event which has some relation to our mission—for instance, a drag show, LGBTQ+ event, or an event occurring around World AIDS Day, which takes place on 1 December every year.

Once you’ve shortlisted some locations, decide the timings. You will need to be there or nearby for the duration, with some breaks of course, and if you have multiple volunteers, consider taking shifts. You’ll be more enthusiastic and see larger donations if you’re feeling fresh.

Don’t forget to recruit as many friends as you can to help you! They’ll make it fun, and the more hands you have, the more money you’ll raise.

Bucket collection materials


Email us at [email protected] to discuss ordering bucket collection materials. We'll recommend and send you the necessary equipment, which may include T-shirts (your collectors must wear one while collecting), buckets, red ribbon badges, badge display boxes, collection pots, ID badges (permits will also suffice for this), and a collection pod for contactless payment.

Please note we'll need all of this equipment returned after the collection (except for a personal T-shirt and the red ribbons), so please take good care of it.

If you live in London, a team member could meet you somewhere convenient to show you how to use the collection pod. These are great things to have as people often don’t have cash, but would be happy to donate by card. We also have NFC cards available.

Ribbon trays are very useful, because people love to feel like they are getting something in return for their money – particularly around World AIDS Day on 1 December, when they’ll want to show their solidarity with people living with HIV across the globe by wearing a red ribbon.

Tube station bucket collection with four people

During the collection


Be friendly and approachable. Call out repeatable slogans so people get a clear and quick idea of who you are and what you’re doing.

Here are a few ideas:

  • ‘Collecting for Terrence Higgins Trust.’
  • ‘Collecting for World AIDS Day.’
  • ‘I’m running the London Marathon for Terrence Higgins Trust. Help support the nation’s leading HIV & Sexual Health Charity please sponsor me!’
  • ‘Please donate to support those affected by HIV.’
  • ‘Help us end HIV transmissions by 2030.’

This most likely goes without saying, but don’t pursue anyone. Make eye contact and smile, but avoid making anyone feel pinned down. People will surprise you with their generosity, and will come to you as long as you’re visible. Pick somewhere with a natural funnel point, like a tube station entrance, to maximise your reach.

You will meet some lovely people who have a connection to Terrence Higgins Trust, and will tell you about their experiences/stories, so enjoy the chat. Meeting new people is one of the best parts of volunteering for us!

You can explain who you are and that you’re collecting, but unfortunately it is illegal to shake a collecting bucket in a public place. It’s also best to collect in pairs – you don’t need to be right next to each other, but near enough that you’re clearly visible to each other is good, such as on opposite sides of a thoroughfare.

Be prepared to answer some simple questions about Terrence Higgins Trust and our work, and direct people to our website for more information.

You may be unlucky and encounter someone who gives you a bit of a hard time – take it in your stride and stay calm and polite. However, if you do ever feel at risk or threatened, remove yourself from the situation, ask others for help, and call the police.

After your collection


Bank your money as soon as possible afterwards. Count it before using a coin counter in a NatWest bank. We’ll provide you with Terrence Higgins Trust’s bank details and a reference code unique to you when you organise your collection.

You will likely have to submit documentation to the authorities that granted you permission to collect. This will most likely be a report on what you fundraised for their records.

Please return your buckets, pods, and all other equipment to us. A staff member may be able to pick the equipment up in person to save on postage.

Finally, thank your volunteers and the venue/council that accommodated you.

Post about your collection on your social media as people will donate online once they see the great effort you’re putting into fundraising.

Thank you so much for holding a collection in support of those living with HIV, or experiencing poor sexual health. We appreciate every pound you raise, and will be in touch with a personalised thank you card and/or certificate, in recognition of the sum you and your volunteers collect.

Once you’ve decided on your bucket collection plans, please fill out the form below to let us know all about it.