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Choosing to become a charity wiki
Check whether you are eligible to register as a charity with the Charity Commission
Page toolsJust log in or register
Do I qualify to register?
You will need to meet two criteria in order to be able to register as a charity:
- the aims of your organisation must be exclusively charitable (for a full list of charitable purposes, please visit the Charity Commission website)
- your organisation must be set up for public benefit (rather than for an individual or select group of people)
There is more information about the qualification and application processes on the Charity Commission website. Before registering make sure you explore whether there are existing charities with the same (or similar) purpose as your own - with limited funding available, sharing resources and working together could make it easier for you both to achieve your objectives in the long-term. The Charity Commission have an online database of registered charities that includes facts and figures about the work and finances of each charity.
Trustees are responsible in law for ensuring that charities are well run for the purposes of their charitable objectives and as set out in their constitution. To understand the role and responsibilities of Charity Governance and Trusteeship, visit the Governance section.
What other options are there?
If you don't meet the legal requirements for setting up a charity, or decide that it isn't the right approach to achieve your objectives, there are alternative options. For example, you could set up a social enterprise (using your profits to benefit others instead of the organisation) or a charitable trust.
Our free reference and decision-making tool GetLegal.org.uk is designed to help you understand what legal and governance structure is most appropriate for you, whether you wish to establish a charity, social enterprise or co-operative organisation.