If you have an local environmental educational group or project which was set up for charitable purposes (i.e. for the benefit of others) it is considered to have 'charitable status' whether or not it is formally registered as a charity. However, if your group now has an annual income of £1,000 or more then you need to go ahead and become a registered charity. If your group has an annual income of less than £1,000 you can apply for voluntary registration, although this may be refused. Think carefully at this point: there are pros and cons of registration.
There are several issues which you need to consider before you make a decision. It often comes down to the trade off between ongoing bureaucracy versus lack of status (with potential donors and suppliers).
from income tax for income derived from investments (e.g. property,
value of such schemes will vary with income tax rates.
charitable trusts and foundations as well as some businesses and
are not registered. This may assist you in fundraising.
registered the group will be required to complete more paperwork. You will
need to send annual updates to the Charity Commission.
Most groups will also be required to hold Annual General Meetings.
Charity trustees may not generally benefit personally, whether through receipt of a salary or of profits or otherwise.
can be held personally liable for misuse of funds.
to registering as a charity you will
need to select a board of trustees. These are the people who are
responsible for applying the constitution in order to manage the
organisation. In some organisations trustees may be called committee
members, governors, directors or some other title. You do not need a huge
number of trustees but should have a Chair, Secretary and Treasurer.
Remember that other members of the group can be active in taking on tasks
involved in running the group without being a trustee. Keeping the number
small will help in maintaining good communication and organising and
paying for trustee meetings. For more information see the Contact a Family
Group Action Pack guide Trustees.
up a constitution
of the application process is the formal adoption by the organisation, of
Use of Max Energy draft constitution
in association with Max Energy Ltd has agreed a draft constitution written
for national environment or heritage
At present Max Energy Ltd does not have a draft constitution agreed for local environment of heritage conservation groups. However, the Charity Commission has some draft constitutions available through its website. These can be used by groups who will need to fill in the appropriate information.
Copies are available at www.charity-commission.gov.uk/registration/mgds.asp.
the committee has drawn up the constitution and agreed the finer details
it will need
next step is to write to the membership of the organisation, informing
them of the plan
of the committee meeting at which the constitution was adopted
of the membership agreement
information about the group (leaflets or publications)
Further information about registration
England and Wales the regulation and registration of charities is carried
out by the Charity Commission.
Further information about registration is available from the Commission.
A useful publication is:
If you do not have internet access phone the Commission for a free copy of this booklet.
Additionally useful guidelines on registration are available at: www.charity-commission.gov.uk/registration/CCREG.asp
to apply for registration
Once you have made the decision that you either should, or would like to apply for registration as a charity you will need to contact the Charity Commission for an application pack.
further information or to order a Registration Pack telephone: 0870 333
number for deaf and speech impaired callers using a Minicom is: 0870 333
Scottish Charities Office can be contacted at:
Tel: 0131 226 2626
Additional information is also available from:
Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations http://www.scvo.org.uk/
with Us http://www.workwithus.org/findus/
in Northern Ireland
of Health and Social Services can be contacted at:
3, Castle Building
028 9052 2780
What happens once your organisation is registered
you have registered as a charity you
will need to make sure that you meet the requirements of the Charity
Commission. These become
more bureaucratic as the income of the organisation increases. After
registration the Charity Commission
will write to the trustees to set out the requirements. For more
information see the section on 'What Happens after Registration' in the Charity
Commission publication CC21
- Registering a Charity (as above).
your group does apply for registration please keep Contact a Family
This guide is part of the Contact a Family Group Action Pack. For more information please visit www.cafamily.org.uk or telephone 020 7608 8700.
Copying of the material within this guide is permitted. Please include a credit to Solarnavigator Environmental Support.