What are charitable purposes?

To be a charity in Northern Ireland an organisation must be able to demonstrate that it has exclusively charitable purposes and is for the public benefit.

A charity’s purposes tell you what a charity seeks to achieve and are usually detailed in the governing document.

The Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2008 defines a charitable purpose as one that falls under one or more of the list of 12 descriptions of purposes in the Charities Act and is for the public benefit.

To support organisations applying to register as a charity in Northern Ireland, we have developed, and consulted on, guidance on each of the 12 charitable purposes. You can download or read each of these supporting documents online here.

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