There hundreds of thousands of charities currently operating from within the UK, providing a plethora of services to the public, both home and abroad. These organisations are run on a not for profit basis and provide invaluable benefits to the disadvantaged individuals where private and state organisations aren’t able to cater for their needs. However, if you are planning on setting up a new charity yourself you’ll need to be familiar with what constitutes a charity and how to achieve charitable status. homeless charity
The first thing you need to consider before you begin to establish your charity is whether the organisation you wish to set up is suitable or would benefit from actually being a charity at all. Charities are distinct legal organisations that must operate within the confines of charity law and serve a purpose for the public. In lieu they benefit from a number of tax advantages such as exemptions and reliefs on income and capital gains tax.
The idea and definition of a charity is largely centered around the concept of public benefit and organisations can only be recognised as charities if their aims and subsequent benefits are deemed as being wholly in the public benefit. That essentially means that charities cannot be created to either wholly or partly benefit private individuals or groups of individuals where a charitable purpose is not demonstrated. For example, the aims and benefits of a charitable organisation cannot be politically oriented.
There is very detailed guidance provided by the Charity Commission as to which purposes may be considered in the public benefit on their website.
Furthermore, it may be more appropriate to combine you organisation with an existing charity to benefit from their expertise, registered status and economies of scale on running costs. If you are looking to offer your services or help with a specific cause it is likely that there is already a charitable organisation which addresses the issue and you may more effectively achieve you aims by working with them.
For example, if you are looking to carry out fundraising for a particular cause there is no need to set up a new charity for the exercise and instead you should look to work with an existing charity which already addresses that cause.
Once you have settled on the idea that the most appropriate status for you organisation is that of a charity, you then need to consider whether you need, would benefit from and/or would qualify from gaining charitable status from the Charity Commission.