As we prepare to add more content to this website, we're turning off the ability to sign in on ncvo.org.uk and knowhow.ncvo.org.uk. To ensure members can access what they need, member content is available to all users until the end of July. Visit our temporarily free-to-all tools and resources
Use this page to help you decide if you should set up a new charity, voluntary organisation or community group.
To understand the need for your new organisation and what others are already doing, you can do the following.
You may find that there are organisations already doing the work you’d like to do. You don’t want to duplicate effort unnecessarily. If this is the case, you may want to consider working with these organisations rather than creating a new organisation so that you:
It’s important to make sure you're setting up an organisation for the right reasons.
Here are some helpful questions to consider. If your answer to these questions is yes, then you can be more certain that you have the right motivations to set up your organisation.
Make sure you have the time and commitment needed to set up a new organisation. You’ll need to meet certain regulatory and legal requirements depending on the type of organisation you set up. These can be difficult to learn about and you’ll need time to understand new information and processes.
You're unlikely to have all the skills and knowledge needed to run an organisation. It's important to be clear about what skills and knowledge you have, what you'll need and how you'll address any gaps. Here are a few actions you can take.
A business plan is a formal, written document that sets out the goals of your organisation, how you're going to achieve them and a time frame for doing this. Having a detailed business plan at the start of setting up an organisation will help you:
NCVO members can read our business plan template as well as our step-by-step guidance to completing the business plan template.
Once you’ve developed your business plan, it may be useful to carry out a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (Swot) analysis of your proposed organisation. This can help you plan for the future and address any issues that come up.
The external environment will affect your organisation. By looking outside of your organisation as you set up, you can make sure that you:
A political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legal (Pestel) analysis can help you look at the external environment and spot opportunities and threats. Once you have set up your organisation, as an NCVO member you can access this Pestel analysis template to begin thinking about how this applies to your situation.
For further information read the Charity Commission’s guidance on checking if a new charity is the best option.
Last reviewed: 03 June 2021Help us improve this content
Get regular updates on NCVO's help, support and services