Are you clear on your charitable purpose?

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A charity’s purpose is what it’s set up to achieve; it’s the positive difference the charity is seeking to deliver. Whether existing to relieve poverty, advance education, or with a purpose that falls within another of the thirteen descriptions in the Charities Act, keeping your charity’s purpose front and centre is of vital importance.

At the heart of trustees’ legal duties is ensuring that their charity is carrying out its purpose(s) for public benefit. You should be confident that your activities are working towards this purpose and not deviating from this path.

At Burton Sweet, we want to support charities in making their vision for a better world a reality.

Your governing document – Know it inside-out

Your governing document, which may be called a constitution, trust deed or articles of association, outlines the purpose of your charity, who it’s there to benefit and how it must operate. 

As a trustee, it’s your duty to ensure your charity complies with every aspect of its governing document, so make sure you are familiar with it and understand what it contains. You should a refer to it regularly.

Can you describe your charity’s ‘public benefit’?

All charities must be run for the benefit of the public. To help ensure this, Trustees must have regard to the public benefit guidance issued by the Charity Commission.

You need to:

  • know who should benefit from your charity and what those benefits are
  • ensure any private benefits to individuals or organisations are ‘necessary, incidental and in the interests of the charity’
  • acknowledge and manage any risk of harm that might result from your activities, to your beneficiaries and the public

We understand that you’re focused on making the world a better place, but it’s important that you recognise the parameters you must work within.

Keeping your charity’s purpose(s) central will help ensure you don’t drift from your mission.  Be clear on what your purpose is and stick to it.

Need some support?

Burton Sweet has a longstanding commitment to charities and civil society organisations, offering practical, professional and passionate support. We want to assist you, so you can deliver effectively for the communities you serve and show the good you do.

If you want some guidance on how best to manage your finances, so they are utilised to achieve your purpose, please get in touch with our Head of Charity Development, Ed Marsh:

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