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Supporting Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations is the membership organisation for Scotland's charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. Charity registered in Scotland SC003558. Registered office Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh EH3 6BB.

Setting up a charity

If you’re thinking of setting up a charity, our information is here to guide you through the important decisions you’ll need to make. You might already have a group or organisation supporting your community, or you might have an idea of a way to help and want to turn it into a reality.

Here’s an overview of what you need to think about when you’re setting up a charity, and what we’re going to talk you through in this guide.

1. Get started

Information to help you think through some of the key issues around starting a voluntary sector organisation in Scotland

2. Make a plan

Developing a new voluntary sector organisation takes careful planning to map out your vision and pay attention to all the detail

3. Decide on membership

Membership organisations are common in the voluntary sector. You just have to choose the right kind for you

4. Decide on charitable status

How to understand the particular circumstances of your organisation and decide which option is right for you

5. Consider the risks

Consider the types of activity you will be involved in and the level of risk attached

6. Decide on structure

Choose the right legal structure for your organisation based on what you plan to do

7. Write your constitution

Once you have decided on your legal structure and are ready to draft your constitution. We’ve got models you can follow

8. Next steps

Register your new organisation with the appropriate body. Then get on with the business of running your organisation

If we’re serious about achieving better outcomes for people and communities, we must reach a place where our collective focus is on those people and communities, and we trust one another to deliver.

Anna Fowlie,
SCVO Chief Executive

If you have questions or want to know about something that isn’t covered here,
you can contact our Information Service.
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