Setting up a charity

Setting up a new voluntary or community organisation takes time, commitment and energy. Enthusiasm and passion can get you so far but on their own they will not be enough to sustain an organisation.

To gain support you will need to show potential funders and partners that you are serious and have a well thought out plan.

To put it simply, you need to do your research. There a number of issues you should consider at the outset.

Can you make the commitment?

It can be a long and lonely process trying to win support for your ideas and to get an organisation off the ground can mean putting in long hours for little or no reward.

Whether you’re motivated by a desire to redress injustice, have identified an unmet need or just want to give something back to the community, be prepared to work hard.

Is a new organisation really necessary?

The chances are that if you have had an idea that others may have thought of it before. Check to see what work existing organisations are doing in your area. If other organisations are doing similar work consider offering them your services.

You will find it hard to get funding if you duplicate existing services and setting up a similar organisation could negatively impact on another organisations work.

How will your organisation meet the needs you have identified?

Potential supporters and funders will only back you if they can see how your work makes a difference. Therefore, you will need to carefully consider your organisations aims and objectives and think about ways to measure success.

These are just some of initial points to consider. In addition to these, these are a number of other questions that will arise, including:

  • What type of organisation will best suit your aims?
  • Will you need a physical space to carry out activities?
  • Can you rely on voluntary input or do you need a paid staff? Will your activities require funding?

If all you want to do is make a difference, it can be hard to think of everything yourself. Fortunately there are resources available to help you.