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Starting a charity

See also Social Enterprise


You don't have to set up a new charity in order to carry out voluntary work, but if you want to access the tax breaks available to charities then it may be worth doing so.

To be registered as a charity by the Charity Commission, the purposes of the charity (which will have to be set out in a governing document) must be one or more of the following:

  -  the relief of financial hardship

  -  the advancement of education

  -  the advancement of religion 

  -  for certain other purposes for the benefit of the community  (eg promoting racial harmony, or the provision of recreational facilites which are open to all)


It will not qualify as a charity if it is mainly for the benefit of a named person or specific individuals.


The principal advantages of charitable status are:

  -  freedom from income or corporation tax and capital gains tax, reduced rates,and   some VAT benefits.

  -  easier to raise funds from the public.


For a good general introduction to starting your own charity see:


If your charity is looking for cash, see:  a Government backed £125m fund to help the voluntary and community sector to deliver better public services  which offers charities long term funding and management support through the use of volunteer associates.

NEW which can handle for you all the mechanics of receiving money and reclaiming Gift Aid  



If your charity is looking for professional help, see: matches the skills of experienced people to the needs of voluntary organisations  matches media professionals with charities to improve their communication skills. gives management support to voluntary organisations involved in issues of poverty, disability and social exclusion. helps business people support the arts and helps the arts inspire business people  Community and Voluntary Services is UK's largest volunteering and training organisation and it trains and places full time and part time volunteers.


For a comprehensive oversight of information on charities see which is supported by HM Treasury, the Charity Commission and various trusts.