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The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland
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Things to consider before starting a charity

Thinking about setting up a new charity? Before you go ahead, there are a few things it might be helpful for you to think about first. Use the links below for further information.

Is a new charity the best way forward?

Depending on your reason for wanting to set up a new charity and what you want to achieve, there may be other, and better, ways of achieving your aims. This section explains where setting up a new charity may not always be the best way to proceed.

Is setting up a charity the right thing to do?

A charity is a particular type of voluntary organisation - one that takes a distinctive legal form. This section gives an overview on the benefits charities enjoy, as well as some of the resturctions on what charities can do and how they work.

Are there existing charities with the same purposes and activities as yours?

There are thousands of charities in Northern Ireland. One or more of these may be doing the kind of charitable work your new charity would do, and in the same area. This section explains how to make sure you don't duplicate effort.

How a charity must operate

Before deciding to set up a new charity, it is important that you understand some basic requirements about how a charity must operate.

Will I need to register a new charity?

Application for registration is compulsory if your organisation is, or will be, charitable. This sections provides further information on charity regsitration for new charities.

Choosing your charity's name, purposes and governing document

This section gives an overview of the things you should have chosen before you start your application to register your charity, including the organistion's name, purposes and governing document.

Working with children and vulnerable adults

Certain types of charity are set up to assist or care for those who are particularly vulnerable, perhaps because of their age, physical or mental ability or ill health. This section highlights the importance of having proper safeguards in place for their protection.

Help with setting up a charity

While we will consider completed registration applications from charitable organisations, we cannot advise you on setting up your charity or advise you if it is the right decision for your organisation. This section highlights other organistaions which may be able to offer support and advice.

If you are considering starting up a charity, you may also be interested in the following information: