Charity status is granted to an organisation because of the purpose for which is it set up either; 

  • It is established  exclusively for charitable purposes (known as charity objects) 

  • It provides a public benefit

Not all charitable organisations have to be recognised by Charity Commission, HMRC or any other body to be a charity if they do not reach the income threshold of £5,000 or wishes to register as a CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation). 

Your charity will need a minimum of three trustees, you will also set a maximum number of trustees (set out in your governing document) that your Board will not exceed. The charity commission recommend no more than 12. Your trustees are legally responsible for managing the organisation including, fundraising, ensuring the activities delivered are in line with your charitable purpose and ensuring safeguarding of vulnerable adults and children. 

Trustees need to be over the age of 18 (over age of 16 if a charitable company or CIO), the individual cannot currently be bankrupt or insolvent (they can apply for a waiver), a UK resident and be able to act within the charities best interest. 

The main advantage of being a registered charity can be: 

  • Public recognition and support - funders, corporations and the general public are largely reassured when an organisation is a registered charity as it signifies integrity. 

  • Tax advantages - there is both tax advantages for a UK charity and UK donors. 

  • Do not pay corporation tax. 

  • Gift aid - A individual donor who is a UK tax payer, the charity can claim 25p per £1. As long as their donation is not for a service or purchase an item. Gift aid needs to be claimed within 4 years. 

There are a number of legal forms available to organisations wishing to be a registered charity. The most common legal forms for organisations that pursue charitable purpose are: 

  • trusts

  • unincorporated associations

  • companies limited by guarantee (CLG)

  • charitable incorporated organisations (CIO) 

  • community benefit societies (CBS)

  • royal chartered bodies 

  • charitable statutory corporations 

When considering starting a charity think of the following:

  • Are there other charities which are working within the cause you are passionate about that you can join and strengthen their organisation. 

  • What will your charity deliver, what are its services? 

  • Who will your charity help, who are the beneficiaries? 

  • Where will the charity operate, which countries? 

  • What is the purpose of your charity? 

You can register your organisation via the following websites: 

Charity Commission for England and Wales 

Scottish Charity Regulator 

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland 


We can manage the charity application process on your behalf. Including completing the online application and drafting the relevant governing document. You can also decide to add on additional policies and procedures.

Call and speak to us today or schedule a FREE advice call with Rachael, Managing Director.