How to start a charity

There are several steps you should follow in setting up a charity:

1. Attend one of the How to Start a Charity seminars held by the Centre on Philanthropy.

2. Find trustees who will be willing to take responsibility for administering the charity.

3. Make sure the charity has charitable purposes for public benefit.

4. Choose a name for your charity.

5. Choose a structure for your charity (unincorporated association, company limited by guarantee, trust, etc.).

6. Create a governing document (constitution, bye laws, trust deed etc.) which includes:

  • a dissolution clause stating that if the charity is wound up, its net funds and other property will be given to another registered charity with similar aims and purposes;
  • a bank mandate requiring financial transactions to be approved by two independent directors, one of whom should be the Treasurer.

7. Ensure you are familiar with the additional requirements for charities:

  • Annual reporting requirements;
  • Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorist Financing requirements;
  • Vulnerable Persons Policy for charities that work with youth, seniors, or disabled persons.

8. Apply to register a charity.


There are many laws and regulations involved with starting and running a charity. If you are thinking about starting a charity, you need to be familiar with everything that will be expected of you if you do.