Is setting up a charity the right thing to do?

There are a lot of very good reasons why people decide to set up a new charity. However, setting up a charity is not always the best way to proceed and, in some cases, it may not be legally possible.

A charity is a particular type of voluntary organisation – one that takes a distinctive legal form and has a special tax status. Charities must provide benefit to the public, not to a specific individual. Their aims, purposes or objectives have to be exclusively those which the law recognises as charitable.

Registered charities have to obey a number of rules and regulations set out in charity law. Those that are registered as companies have to comply with company law too. A registered charity is not allowed to have political objectives or take part in political lobbying (other than in a generally educational sense).

These things may restrict what you want to achieve, so setting up a charity may not be the best way forward. You should read our guidance ‘things to think about before setting up a new charity’ before going any further.

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