It is important to stay on the right side of the law when fundraising.

Children and fundraising

If children (under 16) are involved in fundraising in any way, please seek and record permission from the child’s parents or guardians for them to take part and that they are supervised by a responsible adult.

Children should never approach strangers about fundraising. It is illegal for children under 16 years of age (or under 18 years in London) to participate in public collections. Never leave children unsupervised during an event or fundraising activity.


Make sure any electronic or paper record you keep about people involved in a fundraising event complies with data protection law. As a rule of thumb, do not keep information about people any longer than you have to, and do not share information or data about someone without their specific, written permission. More information can be found at the Information Commissioner’s Office. Be particularly careful over any data relating to children.

Please make sure you ask permission from people you photographing and do not share/publicise/use without their specific, written consent (or the consent of a featured child’s parent).

Equal access for all

Consider issues of equal access for all, even if an event is being targeted at a specific group of people. Further information is available from the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

First aid

Depending on the nature of the event and the number of people who may attend, you may need a trained first aider at your event. You should also consider having a First Aid kit for minor injuries and be trained in the use of it. Please check with your local authority what the requirements are or you can get advice and learn about available first aid courses from  St John Ambulance (England) or the British Red Cross.

If you are hiring a staffed venue for your event, they may already have this covered so please check this with them.


Food safety laws apply when food is available at an event whether it is for sale or not. If you are using a caterer, you will need to ensure that they have a food hygiene certificate and public liability insurance. Further information can be found on the NHS Choices website and from your local authority.

The Food Standards Agency provides guidelines and advice for preparing, handling and cooking food at community and fundraising events. 

Health and safety

  • Ensure that your event is organised efficiently and safely.
  • Conduct a risk assessment to ensure that you have proper plans for the safety of participants. The Health and Safety Executive website has further information on how to risk assess your event. Make sure you have a copy of your risk assessment with you on the day of your event.


ME Research UK’s Insurance cover does not extend to fundraisers, their events or third parties connected thereto. Please make sure you have suitable insurance cover; these are some of the considerations you may need to think about:

  • Public Liability cover
  • Damage to property owned, hired or borrowed
  • Event Cancellation Insurance
  • Personal Injury insurance
  • Travel Insurance
  • Cover to meet any contractual conditions

You will need to take out Public Liability Insurance cover for your event if it involves the public. If you are holding your event at a venue, check with them as they already have insurance that covers your event.

Those supporters who undertake fundraising for our benefit act independently of the charity and ought not to consider themselves under our direction or control. ME Research UK accepts no responsibility for any liability caused by the acts or ommissions of those raising awareness of, or fundraising in support of, ME Research UK.


If your event involves the sale of alcohol and/or live or recorded music, dancing, showing of a film or performance of a play, an indoor sporting event (including a boxing or wrestling match), or any entertainment of a similar nature, you may need a licence. 

You can check whether your event will require a public entertainment or alcohol licence on the Government’s website (Eng and Wales) and from your local authority (Scotland).

Lotteries, raffles and competitions

As regards Lotteries and Raffles, a Lottery is a game of chance in which tickets are sold enabling the holder to qualify for money. If an element of skill is introduced, such as a tie-breaker, then it becomes a competition and there are fewer restrictions. If you are planning a lottery (such as a raffle, tombola or sweepstake), you should be aware that there are strict laws and rules about what you can do. The Gambling Commission publishes useful guidance relevant to Great Britain on their website. The Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action publishes separate guidance applicable only to Northern Ireland on their website and has produced a specific leaflet about raffles.

Small raffles can be held as part of a larger event, but you must follow these guidelines:

  • The ticket sales and announcing of the results must be held during the event.
  • No more than £500 can be spent on buying prizes.
  • No cash prizes can be given.
  • All tickets must be sold at the same price and no discounts are allowed on bulk buys (for example, five for the price of four).
  • Tickets should not be bought or sold by young people under 16.
  • Check the relevant website above for additional guidance.

Public collections

It is illegal to collect money on a public highway or street without a valid local authority licence, and these are usually only allocated to registered charities (and even then for specific days of the year). You should find details about your Local Authority’s requirements on their own website.

Risk assessment

Events need to be adequately risk-assessed  to find, reduce and control the risk to all those taking part and members of the public who may be attending. It is best practice to complete a risk assessment form to show that you have considered and mitigated any potential risks around your event, but it is not a legal requirement unless the organiser is an employer. Assess the risks involved and make sure they are eliminated or minimised to an acceptable level, particularly in the case of children. Make sure you fully brief everyone attending about the event, including details of any risks, (for example if your event is close to water), fitness requirements, special equipment or clothing and standards of behaviour expected so the public can stay safe.

There’s a  basic risk assessment form developed by the Health and Safety Executive  which has suggestions to speed up the process but remember you need to have considered the unique circumstances of your event. You must comply with Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and all other relevant subordinate legislation – this applies to volunteers as well.

Please be legal! While we really appreciate your support, ME Research UK is not responsible for organising, supervising or hosting your fundraising activity, and all activities and participation are at the organisers’ and participants’ own risk. ME Research UK does not accept responsibility or liability for any loss or damage or for any personal injury arising out of any fundraising activity, including liability as a result of negligence (except such as may be caused by ME Research UK’s negligence).

Of course, you are welcome to say that the event is “in aid of ME Research UK”, but we cannot authorise you to act as an agent for or on behalf of ME Research UK, and your fundraising materials should not suggest that you represent us. You are responsible for organising all aspects of your fundraising and we will not accept any liability relating to your event.

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