If you have a cause that you’re passionate about then setting up a charity is an incredibly worthwhile endeavour, and we certainly don’t want to see anybody put off simply because they’re not sure about the process involved! That’s why we decided to put together this handy guide, with details about how to register a charity, as well as other handy tips that you might need in the early days of your charitable endeavours.
Step 1: Know when it’s the right time to register
Although you’re probably eager to get started, there are a few things you need to take care of before making things official. Crucially, the government’s guidelines list a few things you need to do to set up before your charity is ready to be registered:
- Decide on the purpose or purposes of your charity (these must be entirely charitable), and be prepared to run your charity in a way which is consistent with this mission. Put this purpose into words with a clear phrase that captures both the intended outcomes, and how you’ll be able to achieve them.
- Choose a structure for your charity: charitable incorporated organisation, charitable company limited by guarantee, unincorporated association or trust. Your choice is essential since it governs how your charity must operate in the eyes of the government, so check out this guide to make sure that you choose wisely.
- Write a governing document that lays out all of the key facts about your charity, such as its name, objects or goals, and information about the trustees.
- Find trustees – the people who will govern your charity. At this point, you will want to make sure that the people you choose have a wide range of skills to bring to the table.
- Now it’s time to start raising funds!
Once your charity has set up, you will have to register it once there is an income of over £5,000 – or immediately if it’s a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO).
Step 2: Complete the online registration form
It’s easier than ever to register your charity with the government’s online system, but there are a lot of supporting documents, facts and figures needed – so it can save time if you’re prepared. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Your charity’s name, bank or building society details and contact details.
- A PDF of your governing document.
- Information about your charitable purposes and how you run your charity.
- Trustee’s names and details.
- Proof that income is above £5,000 (unless you’re a CIO) – this can be in the form of a scanned recent bank statement, a scanned formal offer of funding, or a PDF of your most recent published accounts.
Step 3: Avoid Common Pitfalls
Complete applications are generally registered within 5 days, however if you make any errors in your application, or need to clarify details, it can take up to 45 days. Avoid the long wait by getting it right first time:
- Governing documents should be written using the government’s approved model.
- State purposes clearly, with a viable strategy for carrying them out.
- Give explicit reasons that these purposes will be for the public’s benefit.
And that’s it – not as tricky as it first sounds! Once you’re all set up, you can use our charity retail systems to make raising funds easy and efficient; find out more online, or talk to our friendly and experienced team by calling 01204 706 000. You can also keep up to date with our work over at Facebook or on Twitter – we hope to hear from you soon!