Setting up a charity can be incredibly rewarding. You get to dedicate part of your life to a cause close to your heart, actively helping to make the world a better place as a result. However, there are several steps that you’ll need to follow in order to ensure that you set up a charity with a bright future. Let’s go over some of the basic things to consider, from identifying a cause to ensuring legal compliance.
Identify a cause
Before doing anything else, you need to identify a cause that your charity will be designed to help. The idea might be new to you, but it’s possible that there are already other charities that exist in that same area - do extensive research to ensure that you’re setting up a charity that will be able to have maximal impact, rather than taking away from the efforts of other existing charities. Get involved with the community surrounding the issue you’re trying to tackle, and ask them how best you can provide assistance.
Choosing a structure
Once you’ve found a cause and done your research, you’re ready to choose a charity structure. In the UK, you have two main options - making a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) or creating a Charitable Trust. Which structure is best for you will depend on a number of conditions specific to your circumstances, and it’ll likely be best to consult with a legal professional to properly assess which is most appropriate.
Register your charity
Next, you can register with the relevant authorities. To become a registered charity in the UK, you’ll need to carry out an application to the Charity Commission. This will include information on your charity’s intended purpose, the activities it aims to carry out, and its overall structure. The commission can take a few months to go over the application before making a decision, so you need to factor that into your overall planning.
Raise funds & build your support network
The most effective charities are the ones with the largest support networks - the main day-to-day responsibilities of running your charity will consist of developing that community. There are numerous ways to do this, from running engaging social media accounts to holding community events. Be creative with your approach to fundraising and community engagement, and try not to be disheartened if it takes a little while to get the ball rolling - these things take time.
Ensure ongoing legal compliance
Finally, as a charity, you’ll be subject to a number of quite stringent regulations. You’ll need to keep detailed accounts of what you do with funds, and ensure that you remain as transparent as possible. Compliance with these regulations is absolutely essential.
Armed with this basic but important information, you should be ready to go out and start the journey of setting up your charity. Make sure that you seek advice when you need it, and reach out to others in the charity sector for inspiration on how to set up a successful organisation that can provide a valuable service well into the future.