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 Setting up a charity

Are you thinking about starting up a charity? You might like to start by taking a look through the Charities Register, to find if, amongst the 25,000 charities we have registered, there are others who are already doing what you have in mind. You might like to consider first whether you prefer to donate or volunteer for an existing organisation.

However, if you do want to establish a new charitable organisation, you must be sure that it is set up wholly and exclusively to carry out charitable purposes. It also needs to exist for the public benefit. The Commission has resources to help you – you may also want to read our plain language Guide to the Charities Act. It is important to plan first, and identify your intended purpose and direction.

You also need to consider what sort of structure you want to establish. If the charity is going to fundraise, borrow money, own property, employ staff, or enter into contracts, it could be advisable to set up a corporate body that can do all this in its own right. Commonly, charities are constituted as a charitable trust or incorporated society. However, some simple charities are run as unincorporated organisations, operating in accordance with their written rules.

Applying to register with the Commission is straightforward – guidelines and all the forms and information you need are available on this website.

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