About Charitable Purposes

Image result for Charitable Purposes CC4To be a charity your organisation must have charitable purposes only. It cannot have some purposes that are charitable and some that are not (legal requirement)

The Charities Act 2011 defines a charitable purpose, explicitly, as one that falls within 13 descriptions of purposes and is for the public benefit.

There is no automatic presumption that an organisation with a stated aim that falls within one of the descriptions of purposes is charitable. This has to be demonstrated in each case.

Purposes that cannot be charitable purposes

Your organisation’s purpose cannot be a charitable purpose if it does not fall within the descriptions of purposes and is not for the public benefit, including if it is:

  • a political purpose
  • unlawful or against public policy
  • intended to serve a non-charitable purpose

The 13 descriptions and more detailed information can be found here

Reporting on the Public Benefit of your charity

Image result for charity public benefitIt is a legal requirement that trustees of registered charities must report each year in their trustees’ annual report on how they have carried out their charity’s purposes for the public benefit.  Trustees of smaller registered charities (where gross income does not exceed £500,000) must report on public benefit by:

• including a brief summary setting out the main activities undertaken by the charity to carry out its charitable purposes for the public benefit

• including a statement as to whether they have complied with their duty to have due regard to the commission’s public benefit guidance when exercising any powers or duties to which the guidance is relevant

Public benefit reporting, when done well, can be an effective tool for trustees as it helps a charity to

• stay focused on what their charity is there to achieve (its purposes) when planning activities

• demonstrate what their charity does and the value of its work, particularly when applying for grant funding or fundraising

• link with impact reporting and demonstrating the charity’s transparency and accountability

• improve the overall quality of reporting on the charity’s work

More details can be found here