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The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland
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Name change: FAQs

Below you will find answers to our frequently asked questions on changing your charity's name.

If you click on a question in the list below, you will be brought to the answer for that question. Alternatively, you can scroll down to read all of the questions and answers.


Q. My charity wishes to change its name. How do I go about doing this?

Most charities will have the power to do this in their governing document. If they do not, there are a range of powers available to them, some of which require the consent of the Commission.  Refer to the Changing your charity’s name guidance for further information. Use the online Name change: notification form to notify the Commission of a change of name.

Q. Once our charity has notified the Commission of our different name, how does the Commission assess the name?

If your charity is registered with the Commission, we will check the name to ensure it is not the same as or, in our opinion, too like that of any other charity. For all charities, including those not yet called forward to apply to register, we will also ensure that the new name:

  • will not mislead the public about the charity’s purposes, activities or status
  • will not give the impression that the charity is connected with a government department, council or any other body or person
  • is not offensive.

Q. What if my charity’s name is like that of another charity but our purposes are different?

We may not object to a name even though it is like that of another charity if both are pursuing different purposes. The same may apply when the charities operate in a different geographical area. This will, however, depend on the specific circumstances in each case.

Q. Can we use the name of a well known figure in the name of our charity?

This will depend on whether relevant permission or intellectual property licences have been obtained and whether the famous name is connected with the charity. 

Q. Another charity, with a similar name, has recently been set up in our location and is being confused with our charity. Can I do anything about this?

You should inform the Commission and provide information and evidence relating to the confusion. This Commission may consider taking action if appropriate to resolve the situation. This can include issuing guidance to one or all of the charities involved, or requesting or directing a charity to change its name.

Q. Where can I go to find further information?

Guidance on charity names is available in the Changing your charity's name section of our website. If you have checked the guidance and still have a query, you may wish to contact the Commission.