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6 Simple steps to start a charity

Updated: Jul 8

Creating a charity is as easy as following these simple steps:

Step 1: Do you think it's right for you?

As my dad once said, "you never have to force anything that's meant to be". Life always has a way of reminding me of what he said, it's funny how that works. Ask yourself the very question, is this right for me? You'll be able to accomplish much more on your journey once you answer this question.

Qualify your idea?

Does my idea deserve charitable status? There are 13 charitable purposes set out by the Charity Commission for England and Wales.

There is a comprehensive document available on called "What makes a Charity?" That explains everything you need to know.

Step 2: Trustees

Those who understand the legal requirements of a charity are the anchors of the ship. When considering potential candidates, think about those who bring expertise and experience to your organisation. In order for your charity to remain financially and legally secure, these skills are essential. As an example, an accountant could be of assistance in the budgeting and spending of funds. Depending on the governing documents you have, you will find more details as to how you can recruit trustees and how many will be required.

Step 3: The right structure

You may want to consider forming a charitable incorporated organization (CIO), a charitable company, or an unincorporated association or trust. Each of these possibilities may be a great match for your organisation's mission. There are many benefits associated with each charity type. Additional information can be found in the governing documents, which outline key benefits and regulations.

The name you choose for your charity represents the vision you have for your chosen cause. Now there are some no-no's when deciding on a name. You can’t use offensive words or acronyms in your name, but you can use abbreviations, for example CFC (Chance for Childhood), a well-known charitable organisation.

"Those without a vision perish" (Proverbs 28:18). Documenting your charity's mission statement; helps you stay focused on what you want to achieve. When approaching funding bodies in the future, they will be able to identify the reasons behind the creation of your charity.

Step 4:Governing document

In short, this is a very important aspect of your charity's structure, the document lays out the rules and regulations your organisation will follow. Including your charities name, purpose, and structure. The governing document is a great reference point, for external organisations to examine and clearly understand your charity. It is also a legal requirement to function as a charity.

Step 5: Public Benefit

In brief, how will your charity serve the community, the public domain in which it will operate, and how will that benefit the community?

Is your charity achieving its purpose?

Throughout the life cycle of a charity, this process should be documented and adhered to. Having the capability to show the impact you have made is crucial.

Hint: social media allows you to share videos, pictures, and clever captions to show how your organisation is changing lives.

Step 6: To register your charity, you must apply to the Charity Commission if either:

· You’re income will be at least £5,000 per year

· You’re a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO) (

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