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RAG Glossary

In many of my #charitytuesday posts, I use quite a lot of jargon. That is to say, I use words that have a meaning in the context of volunteer charity fundraising which people from outside the field may not know. So to help my readers understand me better, I have compiled the following list of explanations. I expect this list will grow over time.

Thanks for contributions by Ian J.

[I will add jump-links when I get a chance] Jump to letter: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z



Badge: collectors must have authority from the charity to carry out a collection. This can take the form of a letter or an ID badge with the collector’s name and address. They do not have to have a picture, but it can be useful for collectors to carry some form of photo ID, especially when signing in to a station or other private collection area. For another use, see “sticker”.

Blagging: Raggies are extremely good at getting things for free in the name of charity. The kinds of things thus acquired range from sandwiches during a raid (My record is about £15 worth from Starbucks, who are notoriously hard to get anything from, unlike Pret-A-Manger, who are very generous at the end of the day.) right up to long-haul flights (see jailbreak below) or even cars!

Bucket: volunteer collectors carry these to contain donations. They are typically about 8 litres in volume. For security (of donors and collectors), they have lids with a slot to let coins, notes and cheques through. Lids are attached to the rim of the bucket using seals. The best ones are made by Angal. Also known as a box.

Bummit: see “Hitch”


Chugging: a derogatory term, short for “charity mugging”. Mostly refers of professional collections, where the collectors are paid to sign up donors to commit to a regular donation. Economically viable (post on the subject to come) for charities, although some have stopped hiring the companies who do it on moral or ethical grounds.

Collection: see “raid”.

Conference: an annual event where raggies from around the country meet for about 3 days to discuss best practise, network, learn from each other, make connections to charities and book events, etc. Formerly held at the beginning of January, just after Hogmoney, until 2008, when Warwick held it in September, just before the start of the academic year. Includes the Rag AGM, typically composed of National Rag awards, the all-important vote for the following year’s venue, and a keynote speech.

Here is a table of previous years’ conferences (thanks to Ian Beningfield and Jock Wright for the older dates):


Host Rag













2008 (September)


2008 (January)



























Darwin: a £10 note. See also “folding donation”.


Escape and Evade: see “Jailbreak”

Expenses: charities typically allow up to 10% of a total to be claimed as travel expenses to enable volunteers to collect at less cost.


Faff: jokingly, the collective noun for a group of raggies, notorious for taking a long time to go anywhere, especially when socialising.

Fancy Dress: a silly costume, used to attract attention. Not to be confused with “dressing fancily” in the sense of dressing up for a formal occasion.

Folding donations: bank notes and cheques (cheques are extremeley rare)


Grand: £1000


Hitch: event where participants raise money through sponsorship for their efforts in hitch-hiking to a specified location. Popular destinations include Paris and Amsterdam. See also “Lost” and “Jailbreak”. Also known as “Bummit”.

Hogmoney: an annual megaraid held over the last three days of December in Edinbugh, Glasgow and surrounding cities. The name is a play on the word “Hogmanay”, which is the Scottish name for their New Year celebrations. See also “raids” and “megaraids”. I went there once, it was quite fun [post to follow].

Holy Trinity: a single bucket (between swaps) containing a £5, £10 and £20. See also “folding donation”.



Jailbreak: An event where participants, typically in teams of 2, have to get as far away from the starting point as possible within a fixed amount of time, usually 36 hours, without spending any of their own money. Contestants have been known to blag free long-haul plane tickets. Money is raised by participants getting sponsorship, for instance for total distance travelled or number of borders crossed. Also known as “Escape and Evade” or “Leggit”. See also “Hitch” and “Lost”.

JustGiving: website for sponsoring people in charity challenges. See my friend Simon’s comparison with other similar services.



Leggit: see “Jailbreak”

Licence: see “permit”.

Lid: prevents money from being removed from the bucket, thus ensuring security for all involved. Must be fixed to the bucket by a seal. See also “seals” and “bucket”.

Lost: A bit like a “reverse Jailbreak”. Pairs of participants raise sponsorship to be dropped off somewhere a several-hour drive away from their university and have to race back “home” without spending any of their own money. See also “Hitch” and “Jailbreak”.


Megaraid: Certain cities are big enough to accommodate a large number of collectors. In order to get the most out of such places, charities will often invite several RAGs to collect simultaneously. This can sometimes last more than one day or cover more than one location. Cities thought to be of an appropriate size include: London, Manchester, Edinburgh/Glasgow, Newcastle and Bristol (just). See also “raids” and “Hogmoney”.


NaSFA: National Student Fundraising Association. Founded as the result of a meeting at Brunel Students’ Union in December 2011, NaSFA is the latest attempt to create a national network for rags, potentially with support from the National Union of Students (NUS). The organisation has remarkably similar aims to UKRag (see entry below), but is housed on a Facebook page.

Nugget: a £1 coin, so called because of its slightly thicker shape and golden colour.



Permit: a letter of permission from the local authority which allows a collection to take place. These specify where within a venue a collection may take place (sometimes including a map) as well as the date and time. Charities must apply for these, often a long time in advance of the collection date. All collectors must have a photocopy of the permit. Also known as a “licence”.

Police, Factories and Miscellaneous Act 1916: The UK legislation which covers the organisation and carrying out of volunteer charity collections. Not to be confused with the Charities Act which covers professional collections (see chugging). link



RAG: A volunteer student charity fundraising organisation. Regarding the name, there are several theories as to its origin. Some say it derives from Victorian times, when people would donate rags to be made into clothes for the poor. More recently, it has become the “backronym” for Raise And Give. Variably spelt RAG, Rag, rag (in some circles, “rAG” is used just to make sure no-one is happy.) See also here for an introduction.

Ragabonds: “The RAG for raggies without a RAG”; a group of like-minded volunteer fundraisers who organise and attend collections. Typically graduates of university RAGs but keen to carry on collecting. See also their website.

Raggie: a member of a RAG. A group of raggies is called a “faff”.

Raid: a volunteer street sharity collection. Requires permission from the local authority. This is typically the local council, except in privately owned areas such as shopping centres or train stations, where the centre’s management is in charge, and the City of London, which is covered by the City Police (a remnant of the Police, Factories and Miscellaneous Provisions Act of 1916, see entry above).

Registered charity number: in the England and Wales, charities are registered with a regulatory body called the Charity Commission, which issues them with a number. Some charities are exempt from registration in Scotland, or have a separate number.


Sabb: Short for Sabbatical officer. In the UK, Students’ Unions (SUs) typically elect a number of student representatives, who take a year’s leave from their studies and work full-time as officers of their Union. There is usually a President and a number of vice-presidents, each with their own role, such as academic representation, student welfare, equality and diversity, sport, societies, and volunteering/community relations/ fundraising. Some Rags even have their own dedicated Sabb, elected either by cross-campus ballot or internally by the rag members themselves. The Sabb’s salary is sometimes part of the SU’s budget, but some Rags have to raise the funds from the profits of their own events. Some unions (e.g. Oxford) use the spelling “sab”.

Seal: a sticker to attach the lid to the rim of the bucket or tin. These are tamper-evident, so it is easy to tell if they have been broken.

Sticker: most charities provide collectors with rolls of stickers featuring their logo and charity number. They may also have a phrase such as “thank you” or “I am supporting…”. If offered a sticker after making a donation, it is usually wise to take it and wear it prominently as there are typically several collectors about; if a collector sees you have a sticker already they know not to ask you again. Avoid sticking them on leather as the glue leaves a tough stain. Collectors usually prefer to use rolls of stickers rather than sheets, as they are easier to hand out. If a charity finds printing rolls too expensive, sheets can be cut into strips, which in turn can be attached with sticky tape to form a makeshift roll. Also known as “badges”.

Swaps: a bucket of money can get very heavy over the course of a collection. It is common practise for the money to be emptied into a secure bag and taken away to be counted or put in a safe. This must always be done with at least two people present, for security reasons.


Third Sector: as opposed to the public (Government) and private (business) sectors, the “third sector” of industry covers charities and volunteering. Also the title of a magazine all about the sector.

Tin: Smaller version of a bucket, typically found on shop counters. Can also be used during street collections.

Ton: £100

Total: the amount raised in a day, either by an individual collector, a  group or overall. Like in any context where people have numbers associated with them, there is (mostly) friendly rivalry over who can collect the most. There are often prizes for the highest individual total or best RAG by average, as a motivation for collectors. See also “Wallace and Gromit Club”, “raids” and “megaraids”.


UKRag: is an online resource for raggies. It is home to a number of guides, including advice on where to collect in various cities around the UK, “how-to” advice on many topics such as setting up a rag,  running events and finding volunteers. It also provides a forum for the rag community to ask questions, share tips and advertise events and collections. It reached its peak in about 2006. Since then, tools like Facebook have taken over inter-rag communication and the site is barely active any more.



Wallace and Gromit Club: those people who have collected over £1000 in a single day. It’s a reference to the film A Grand Day Out. A list of known members is held here.

Wraps: the labels on the side of a bucket. Permits typically stipulate what they must contain. This is usually the charity’s name and logo (prominently), registered charity number and contact details for the charity (address, phone number etc.). See also “bucket”.




  1. ian j permalink

    sticker, small adhesive paper with the charity logo name and number on, tke one or expect to be asked again and again and again😉

    seal; sticky paper thing that keeps the lid on the bucket or tin

    lid; thing that makes the bucket or tin a proper collecting receptacle to comply with the Act

    licence: to be carried by each collector, issued by the local authority or met police for the charity as per the act also called a “permit”

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