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Starting a charity

Choosing the Right Charity Structure for Your Community Organization

A Comprehensive Guide to Aligning Your Work and Objectives with the Ideal Charity Structure



Welcome to our guide on selecting the perfect charity structure for your community organization! We understand that every organization has unique goals and objectives, and finding the right structure can be a daunting task. That's why we've created this comprehensive resource to help you navigate the process and make an informed decision. Let's dive in and explore the different charity structures available, their benefits, and how they align with your organization's work and objectives.


Section 1: Understanding Charity Structures


Before we delve into the specifics, it's essential to understand the different charity structures available. In general, there are four main types of charity structures:


1. Charitable Trust

2. Charitable Incorporated Organization (CIO)

3. Charitable Company Limited by Guarantee

4. Unincorporated Charitable Association


Each structure has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, depending on your organization's needs and objectives. In the following sections, we'll explore each structure in detail and provide guidance on how to choose the best fit for your community organization.


Section 2: Charitable Trust


A Charitable Trust is a popular choice for smaller organizations with straightforward objectives. It's an ideal option if your organization:


- Has a specific, well-defined charitable purpose

- Requires a simple governance structure

- Does not plan to employ staff or enter into contracts


Section 3: Charitable Incorporated Organization (CIO)


The Charitable Incorporated Organization (CIO) is a relatively new structure designed specifically for charities. It's a great choice if your organization:


- Needs a separate legal identity to enter into contracts and employ staff

- Wants to limit the liability of its trustees

- Seeks a structure with less administrative burden compared to a Charitable Company Limited by Guarantee


Section 4: Charitable Company Limited by Guarantee


A Charitable Company Limited by Guarantee is a more complex structure suitable for larger organizations with ambitious goals. It's an excellent option if your organization:


- Requires a separate legal identity for entering into contracts and employing staff

- Needs to limit the liability of its trustees and members

- Plans to apply for grants or funding from various sources

- Anticipates significant growth and expansion


Section 5: Unincorporated Charitable Association


An Unincorporated Charitable Association is a simple, flexible structure ideal for small, volunteer-led organizations. It's a suitable choice if your organization:


- Does not require a separate legal identity

- Has a membership structure with a democratic decision-making process

- Operates on a small scale with limited assets and liabilities




Choosing the right charity structure for your community organization is a crucial step in ensuring its success and longevity. By carefully considering your organization's work, objectives, and needs, you can select the most suitable structure to support your mission. We hope this guide has provided valuable insights and guidance to help you make an informed decision. Remember, the right structure can make all the difference in achieving your organization's goals and making a lasting impact on your community.

If you need further advice or helping setting up any of the above structures please get in touch with us

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