How to Start a Charity.
I have personally funded the initiatives created as a result of Caron Cares. I paid for the creation of the software for the Dementia assistance cards, I have also made and posted thousands of cards to people with dementia across the globe. I have been a key distributor of Age UK’s “Winter Wrapped up” guides and room thermometers for 6 years and funding the postage costs myself.
Now I have to admit that, due to a change in personal circumstances my funds are running a little scarce and I am thinking about how to continue funding my work. It has been my pride and passion to help elderly people and people with dementia-free of charge, not wanting anyone to be disadvantaged due to a lack of money. Over the years I have spent a considerable amount.
Several people suggested I create a Caron Cares Charity, but a friend who has already set one up tried to dissuade me saying it’s complex and hard work. Not easily deterred however, and with over 160,000 registered charities in England and Wales, I decided to research How to start a Charity.
All Charities have to be registered with the Charities Commission once they have an annual income exceeding £5,000. This is for the Commission and the Inland Revenue to determine that they deliver what they promise and offer support in a visible way to members of the general public.
If Charities do so they are able to attract tax benefits such as gift aid and reduced business rates. My home town heavily supports Charity shops with coach trips organised to bring bargain hunters to their tills! Registered Charities also attract certain grants and other funding.
There are strict laws governing what a Charity can do and they have to be for benefit of others at all times. It also needs to benefit a reasonable number of people, not just a few.
There is a structured framework to establishing a charity starting with deciding on its’ purpose. What is the charity wanting to achieve and how does it expect to do this? Trustees are a vital component of all Charities. Choose responsible people with varied skills and experience. They will be responsible for the decisions made by your Charity and must not benefit personally from it. Trustees must ensure the charity is solvent and well run.
The name of the charity is important. It must be non-ambiguous and different from existing Charities. If not, the Charity Commission will insist it is changed with you footing the bill. You also need to decide how to fund your Charity either with events or fundraising and even the smallest Charity needs a bank account.
Many banks offer a ‘Treasurer’ service, suitable for this purpose. (https://www.cafonline.org/charities/strategic-consultancy/how-to-start-a-charity). As the saying goes Charity begins at home and so does the planning.
This is something I am going to consider following my research as it would be a shame to not be able to continue my work which I am told does really make a difference to people’s lives.