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The charity making life better by water

We're asking you to choose our new collection box

Charity collection boxes are amongst the nation’s design classics – just think of the Guide Dogs’ life-size Labradors and the RNLI’s lifeboats. Yet in a world of internet giving and text donations, the collection box isn’t just consigned to nostalgia. Half of all donors still opt to give cash, meaning the collection box still plays an important role in raising money for many much-loved charities and good causes.

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The Canal & River Trust’s rich heritage provided our designers with a lot of scope for the imagination.
Jane Penty

This summer we challenged some of the brightest design students in the country to come up with designs for a collection box that will hold its own in the 21st century. Now three shortlisted designs are being put through their paces this summer at the Anderton Boat Lift in Cheshire. Visitors to the Scheduled Monument, known as the Cathedral of the Canals, will decide the winner by virtue of the one which raises the most money.

Ruth Ruderham, head of fundraising at Canal & River Trust, said: “A good collection box attracts attention and finds its way into people's hearts and minds. From spiral wishing wells to the WWF's pandas, everyone has a memory of their favourite, and putting in their pennies and pounds accordingly. In recent years, however, collection tins have fallen out of fashion in favour of online donations and the soulless bucket.

“While internet sites such as Just Giving are now commonplace, it can be easy to overlook the collection box. However, in a difficult time for charitable giving, cash donations remain very important, with over half of all donors giving coins or notes. Putting a pound in a collection box is one of the simplest ways to give, and our project aims to re-establish the humble tin's pride of place alongside the many ways of donating available to people today.”

Rich heritage

The boxes have been designed by students at Central St Martins. The three strongest designs, chosen by a panel of judges, were developed as prototypes and are now in place at the Anderton Boat Lift. The collection box that raises the most money will be taken into production and used by our fundraisers across England & Wales.

The designs include a ‘quacking' design by Joshua Keogh, a collection box crowned with waterway-inspired knots by Joseph Ewusie and a moving water wheel created by Saffie Pluck.

Jane Penty, Product Design stage leader at Central St Martins, said: “The Canal & River Trust's rich heritage provided our designers with a lot of scope for the imagination. Each of the three designs selected engages users through a different aspect of this history and it is great learning opportunity to test these ideas against the public's real response. We are really looking forward to the results.”

Last Edited: 10 September 2013

photo of a location on the canals
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