Setting up a charity can be one of the greatest things you do, and can provide help for thousands of people that need it. However, a charity set up must be done right, and must comply with the rules and regulations of the charity commission if it is going to be successful. Because there may be a lot more to a charity set-up than you might think, HMRC Talk have created a handy guide of the general do’s and don’t’s when it comes to introducing your very own charity.
Find trustees for your charity
This often involves a quick recruitment process to find the suitable trustees for the charity itself. For those that are wondering, the trustee’s main roles are ensuring that the charity has a clear structure and goal. If the charity is also registered as a company then the trustees will be recognised as the directors of the charity. Other roles include ensuring that the work conducted by the organisation is in line with the organisation’s vision, delegating certain authority to workers within the organisation and taking an overall legal responsibility for the charity. The Government website and the Charity Commission recommends that at least three trustees are delegated to each charitable organisation. To find a great trustee for your charity it is worth writing out a job description stating what type of person and what knowledge and skills are needed to undertake the role. It is worth remembering to not make the mistake of employing friends or members of your family, and rather professionals that really know what they’re talking about.
Structure your charity
A charity structure will determine things like how the charity is run and what the charity can do, and in the charity world there are four different, commonly used structures that are worth considering for your own. In charitable companies, trustees have no liability for any debt the charity might come into. Charitable trusts are more involved in the overseeing of new buildings and managing assets such as investments. Thirdly, there is the charitable incorporated organisation which is a structure that is given to you when your charity is registered with the Charity Commission and it means that trustees hold no responsibility for CIO debts. Lastly, there is the unincorporated charitable association which means that a group of volunteers can come together and run a charity for a mutual purpose but do not have the right to employ people or own premises. Obviously, the type of structure that you choose will depend on the type of charity you are thinking about setting up and the outcome you would like to receive.
A lot of charitable organisations begin to set up and do a lot of programming. Whilst it’s great to have a structure and be organised, none of the work will actually be possible if your charity hasn’t raised the money it needs to function. There is a lot of information online about successful fundraising but a few of the main tips and tricks are to not be afraid to approach the right people when attempting to fundraise, think carefully about how you might address different audiences in different situations when you are sourcing money from different places and don’t forget to say thank you! Your first few donors may be the people that helped swing your charity into action so whilst it may seem you have a long way to go, when you eventually get there you will be glad you thanked the ones that helped you from the start.
Underestimate your paperwork
Setting up any organisation is no easy feat, there is a lot of paperwork and forms to fill out and approval to be had if you want to become a non-profit organisation with a tax exempt status. be prepared to wait a while before you feel as if you are getting anywhere with your charity because forms can take a day to fill out and months to receive a response. Before you gain status as an official charity it can be hard for you to raise money, so be prepared to wait in limbo for a little while before things start to kick off.
Mislead the public
When receiving donations from strangers, it is important that they are aware of exactly what they are giving their money towards. To be sure of this, your charity needs a name that reflects the exact motives of your organisation. Choosing a charity name can be difficult because you don’t want something too long, but you also want something that is going to stand out and give your cause the representation it deserves. There are some rules when it comes to naming your charity but most of them are pretty obvious, such as, don’t name your charity anything too similar to one that already exists, don’t use anything that might be deemed offensive in your charity’s name and if you have used any non-English words then translations must be provided when registering the charity.