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How to Set Up a Charity

Charities are usually formed for two reasons, to raise funds for – and awareness of – a worthy cause. If you are at the very start of your charity business journey and you have a worthy cause, but you’re scratching your head wondering how to start a charity, WTTB is here to help you off the starting blocks.

Setting up a charity and working on it full time can be a highly rewarding career on a personal and even financial level. Like commercial businesses, charities aim to keep their operating costs to a bare minimum, but profits are either reinvested back into the business to fund everything from equipment to research, or it is given away to support those in need.

Starting a charity can be a challenge. Founders must motivate people to donate money, goods, or services, often without receiving a tangible return for their kindness.

How Can I Set Up My Own Charity?

Up for the challenge and keen to register a charity? Let’s start from the beginning.

If you are going to start a charity, you should make sure you have a genuine care and passion for the cause you are supporting. Setting up a charity takes a whole lot of hard work, determination, and sheer grit to get it off the ground. You might give up if the cause doesn’t sit in your heart day and night. In those early days, weeks, months and even years, your charity business will need intense focus and drive to succeed, so prepare to dig deep!

You can start by letting as many people as possible know it exists and getting your charity’s name out there.

A strong marketing plan will help you do this, both digitally and through traditional marketing such as leaflets and flyers. You can use these to tell your story and show people the face behind the organisation, the reasons the charity exists, and what it would mean to have their support.

You may even consider a magnetic vehicle sign for the side of your car, that way you are promoting your charity everywhere you go.

How Much Does It Cost to Set Up a Charity?

There is no fee to register a charity. Companies House will charge a small £13 fee* if you are starting an incorporated charity, but an unincorporated charity is free to register. ‘What is the difference between an incorporated charity and an unincorporated charity?’ we hear you ask! Simply put, if you run an unincorporated charity, legal documents and contracts will need to be signed under a trustee’s name who will then be personally liable for any debts or legal disputes. If you run an incorporated charity, contracts, property investment documents and contracts can be signed under the name of the charity which gives the trustees greater protection in the event of legal disputes, debts or claims. You may consider starting as an unincorporated charity and become incorporated when you have achieved growth. So, if you have been wondering ‘how do I start a charity with no money?’ the answer is – easily!

How to Fundraise for Your Charity

Here are some fantastic fundraising ideas to get you started:

Raffles are a fantastic way of getting people to donate their money to your charity. With the lure of a great prize, most people are happy to splash out a fiver or more on a bunch of raffle tickets. Additionally, you may not even need to pay for the prizes. Companies will often donate prizes to charities in exchange for mentions on social media and the opportunity of repeat business from the lucky winners, so it’s a win/win for everyone involved.

Sell your branded merchandise
Why not get some lovely coffee mugs printed and sell them for a profit? Alternatively, go for stationery items such as charity branded notepads, wall calendars or personalised planners – always a popular choice.

Charity Bingo
Much like a raffle, the lure of a cash prize is enough to get anyone throwing their loose change your way. Who doesn’t love Bingo? The anticipation, excitement and social aspect of a game or two has been drawing crowds for centuries (literally), and it is loved by people old and young the world over.

Collection tins
Ask local businesses if they are happy to pop your collection tin on their counter. If an event is being held, ask if you and your team can bring collection boxes. You could also contact your local supermarket and ask if you can pack bags in exchange for donations from shoppers.

Host a car boot sale
Encourage donations of good-quality clothes, toys, and household goods and get selling! Inform people of drop off points via your social channels or leaflets through doors. If you are not yet in a position to have your own charity binbags printed, how about printing charity stickers people can stick to regular bin liners and leave on the street in view of your collectors?

Approach big businesses
Many set aside a percentage of their profits each year under an initiative called Corporate Social Responsibility, its sole purpose is to support charitable concerns. Enquire if yours could become their nominated charity, many often invite their staff to raise funds on your behalf, thereby donating not just their money but also their time. They don’t just do this out of the goodness of their hearts, of course. The initiative is set by governments putting contracts out to tender to ensure their contractors do their bit to support charities and other good causes.

Other fundraising ideas include a charity car wash event, karaoke competition or the old favourite, a charity bake sale, for which you might want to invest in a branded cake and cupcake boxes.

And don’t forget to show the world how much money has been raised with a giant cheque – a fantastic photo opportunity for social media!

Can I Set Up a Charity and Get Paid?

Yes, you can. Charity owners do get paid a salary just like an employee of a commercial business. Commercial businesses work to make a company profitable. This means that once all employees have been paid their annual salary, the business account is in profit, whether by a small or large margin. Charities are not allowed to earn a profit; monies accrued after salary pay-outs must be used for charitable giving. So, if you have been wondering how to start a charity and make money, the answer is that you must invest a lot of time and effort into it. Similarly to marketing any new business, if you want to earn money as well as making a difference with your charity, you must be prepared to put in the work.

We hope our guide to starting a charity has helped you get started on your journey and remember to speak to WTTB for all your bespoke marketing materials including business cards, presentation folders, posters and so much more!

*amount correct at time of writing


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