Helpful Hints for Setting Up Charities

Please find below info that we have sent out to other people who are on the charity road. Some of the following may be very obvious so forgive us if we are teaching you to suck eggs - also you may find it mentions elements that your charity might not have as your objectives so you may want to ignore those bits for your purposes.

We have posters, entry forms etc for most of the events set up on Word or Excel so if you would like us to e-mail or post them to you let us know -

Charity Status

Getting charity status is a bit trickier than the Charity Commission website would have you believe ( All the information and publications can be ordered from here or by calling them on 0870 333 0123. Form CC21 Registering as a charity is your first port of call as it gives you the basics of the process and what you need to do (almost all of the forms can be downloaded from the website).

The problem with getting registered is that every time the Charity Commission wants something changed, you have to wait 3-4 weeks for them to respond to the changes! This can be extremely frustrating when you want to get things moving and we found that getting the name of the person dealing with your specific application and chasing on a regular basis (including using faxes and going in person) was the only way to push things forward at a reasonable rate.

However, the first hurdle we had to overcome was establishing what our objective was. There are a lot of charities out there all doing slightly different things and you will need to ensure that the objective of your charity has differences to the rest. We chose to focus purely on funding for research into childhood brain tumours, as opposed to helping families or children with the disease, as we want to prevent this happening to anyone else and other charities are in place more suited to that sort of activity.

You can look at all of the charities objectives on the Charity Commission website, but make sure if one of your objectives is research that you include the bits at the end stating that any research you do will be published - this was another change that was required before we could get our registration completed.

In terms of the form the charity was going to take, we opted for a trust deed as this required the least amount of administration and was the easiest to set up, but there are other options. You then need to set up your group of trustees and here is another tip - try not to have too many members from your family, however tempting this may be. We had to change our trustees to keep the Charity Commission happy and elected for a couple of independent members to get the balance right. 3 family members from the 7 or 8 in total will probably be the maximum and will save you a month in the process. You need to ensure your board of trustees can reflect a balanced viewpoint in the running of the charity to enable reasoned decision making.

The rest of the process is just paperwork, assuming you go for a trust deed, once you have completed your declaration of trust (which is basically filling in or retyping one of the Charity Commission "models" - form GD2) you will need to get it stamped by the Inland Revenue Stamp Office (5 fee) before sending it off to the Commission along with details and signatures of your trustees. We did get our legal advisor (a family friend) to give the trust deed the once over, but the Charity Commission model was perfectly OK so it was not really necessary. The Commission will do checks on all of the trustees so if people aren't on the electoral role or have just moved etc. then anything that you can send as proof of address such as bank statements or credit card bills will avoid more delays.

The Charity Commission will help you as much as they can with the process, but they have to ensure protection for the public and this means they have policies and procedures that need to be followed, however long this may seem to take - it took us over 3 months to get charity status, but hopefully you will be able to learn from us and get your charity registered much sooner.

Gift Aid & Tax

Once your charity has achieved charitable status you will be able to apply to the Inland Revenue for Charity tax status (this is a normally formality but you have to fill in the forms). Once you have this you can claim back the tax on any donations if the donator gives you permission, this is called Gift Aid by the tax office and is worth an extra 28p in the pound on the majority of donations.

One thing worth noting is that you will only be able to do this on monies raised after the date the Charities Commission granted you your registration number. We have drawn up a sponsor form that captures this permission - please let us know if you would like a copy.

In addition you will be able to claim back any tax charged on interest in the charity bank account. As with everything there are a million forms to complete, but it's better for your charity to have the money than the taxman!

Ali's Dream needs your help in the fight against childhood brain tumors by way of donation. If you would like to help us in this fight, please click on the button below and donate using Just Giving.

It only takes a minute and will help us more than you can imagine in our battle against this dreadful illness.

Everyone working for Ali's Dream is voluntary, therefore every penny donated goes directly towards research into finding a cure.

Please click on the button below.