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Charities and Social Enterprises

Start-ups and registrations

Often those wanting to set up a charity know who they want to help, and the issues they are looking to address. What they are less certain of is how to go about forming and registering a charity from a legal point of view.

Things you need to think about when forming a charity include the structure and who is best placed to be part of the team of trustees. The structure you choose will dictate the governing document required, which sets out how the charity will be run and by whom. The document will also contain specific practical details, including: the objects and purpose of the charity, operational matters such as payments and expenses, and what will happen if the charity closes.

The projected turnover of the organisation will decide whether you need to register with the Charity Commission.

Is charitable status right for your organisation?

Before setting up a charity it is important to have considered the alternatives. Depending on your objectives, these may include a Community Interest Company, Social Enterprise or trust – each option providing differing degrees of flexibility and requirements for governance. Alternatively, you may find another charity already exists, working with the beneficiaries you wish to help and fulfilling your aims – in this situation often collaboration rather than competition can have a greater impact. 

Initial steps in setting up a charity

Having considered the options, if you still wish to proceed with the formation of a charity, you then need to ensure your organisation meets the purposes required. In England and Wales, a charity is an organisation that is:

  • established for charitable purposes only; and
  • subject to the High Court’s charity law jurisdiction

Your charity’s objects, which are set out in your governing document, must:

  • fall within one or more of the 13 charitable purposes defined by law; and
  • be for the public benefit

Why choose Tozers?

Our charity and social enterprise lawyers are specialists, focussed on this sector. We work with you to understand your needs and desired goals, helping deliver them efficiently.

Our team has a wealth of knowledge in relation to charity law and regularly speak at seminars and conferences and well as hosting our own networking events.

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