Charity boxes are usually unmanned donation receptacles that make it easier for citizens to donate money or goods to non-profit charities. Donors can toss a few coins on the counter of a business or give clothing and toys to people in need. The laws on charity or donation boxes vary from state to state, but all states require a few important regulations that non-profits must follow.
Each state has laws that require the charity or donation box to be clearly labelled with the name for charity the goods or money are intended. The sign must be easy to read, with the charity's registration number or tax identification number. Labels on donation boxes can be made by the charity itself or printed from a commercial printing company. Some communities need a contact person and telephone number printed on the charity box's label.
Many states, such as California, require a charity to have written permission from the owner of the business or property to have a donation box. Large clothing and other goods donation boxes are especially regulated, since they are large and are often dumping grounds for old goods, according to the California State Assembly Committee bulletin. The property owners take on the responsibility for illegal activity with the donation boxes so charities must have written consent.
Charity boxes are regulated according to their appearance. Some city have laws on the colour and size of the boxes. According to "The Citizen," Peach Tree City enacted a law stating donation boxes must be in neutral tones and low-reflecting. Also, the boxes cannot be larger than 8 feet tall, or more than 128 cubic feet. Some areas have laws about the location of a donation box. Most of the these ordinances apply more to the large donation boxes that collect used clothing and goods rather than loose change.
Permits are needed in some areas for charity boxes. Some cities, such as Peach Tree City, only need a permit if the charity box is in the same location for more than six months. In other areas, persons holding a charity donation box, like at the airport, needs a permit to ask for money, while a small donations box sitting on business counters do not need a permit. If you are asking for donations for a small group, like the girl's basketball team, you may need to register with the local police before asking for donations on the street.
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- The Citizen News; Rules Over Color and Size Proposed for Donation Boxes in PTC; John Munford; June 2011
- Suffolk County Government: Executive Steve Levy Seeks Protection to Good Samaritans Against Being Scammed
- California Counties: Keeping Unattended Collection Boxes in Their Place
- Charnwood Catalogue: Guide to Fundraising with Charity Boxes
- Charnwood Catalogue: Charity Collections in England and Wales