5 Steps for Setting Up a Charity

Contributed by editor on Mar 26, 2020 - 11:35 PM

If you’ve been thinking about starting a charity, you’re probably aware that there’s a lot of responsibility involved in running a charity.  

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You’ll be responsible not only to your cause but also to your staff and donors. You also need to show through the setup process that you’ve thought strategically, that the charity has a good chance of success and that your intentions are pure.

There are several steps you must take to do this, and there are plenty of decisions to make about how you’re going to set up your new organisation. Of course, there are also rules and regulations in place to make sure the public is protected. Still, follow these steps and you should find the process easy enough.

Find Trustees

Trustees are the people who are ultimately going to be responsible for the charity, governing how it is run and managed. They need to put the charity’s best interests first, work with co-trustees to make balanced decisions on behalf of the charity and avoid situations that conflict with their own personal interest.

A trustee is an important position, so you need to make sure you give it careful consideration and choose trustees that are going to give your charity the best possible start in life.

Define Your Purpose and Come Up with a Name

If you’re looking to start a charity, it’s likely you already have a purpose in mind, but it’s worth spending time to properly narrow in on what you want to do. There are tons of charities out there, so where can you find your niche and make a real difference in the community?

Once you’ve got a purpose, there’s the important matter of choosing a name and creating a structure for your charity. It might not seem like it, but in many ways, your charity is like a brand, and it needs a name that people are going to remember.
The way you set up your charity is going to define it for years to come, so make sure you plan well and come up with a brand identity that can be flexible as times change.

Make Sure You’re Covered

Just like an individual or company, you want your charity to be protected if something goes wrong.

Charity insurance can cover you if your charity suffers damages, business interruptions, public or private liability cases and so on.

You’re setting up your charity to help others, but you’ve got to make sure the charity is protected at the same time. Charity insurance is the perfect way to do it.

Create a Governing Document

Your governing document sets out the rules that govern your charity. It helps provide a blueprint for how you want your charity to operate and sets expectations that need to be met.
You’ll need your fellow trustees to sign this document, so it’s important to go through it together and make sure everyone is on board.


Once you have an agreement over all the rules and regulations of your charity, you’ll probably want to register as a charity with the government. Any charity with an annual income over of £5,000 needs to be registered, as do all charitable incorporated organisations. 

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