Charity essentials

Being a charity is not the same as being an organisation that does ‘good things’. Charity has an outward, inclusive nature: it is not inward-looking, for private benefit.  Only organisations with aims ('purposes') that are charitable for public benefit are accorded the charity label.

To be a charity is therefore a mixture of what you are, what you do and how you do it. In this section we will set out the essentials of what it means to be a well-run and effective charity today.

Running your charity

Trustees have the ultimate responsibility for running a charity, for its property, finances and the employment of any staff or volunteers. Our Running your charity guidance aims to support charity trustees on key aspects of running their charity effectively.

Hallmarks of an effective charity

Charities operate for many different purposes but share a common desire to do the best for their beneficiaries. We will publish guidance that sets out good practice 'hallmarks' that will help trustees to improve the effectiveness of their charity, and uphold the principles that our regulatory framework exists to support.

Charitable purposes and public benefit

Whilst the charitable sector is enormous and diverse, the aims of each and every charity, whatever their size, must be for the public benefit.  Public benefit is therefore central to the work of all charities. Find out more about the public benefit requirement here.

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