This guide may be useful if you are planning to start a new charity in Guernsey.

Under the new Charity Law, a charity MUST:

-        have one of the defined charitable purposes set out in Schedule 4 to the Ordinance which can be found HERE

-        provide a benefit to the Public (this EXCLUDES providing benefit to people who are members of the charity)

Entities that do not take donations from the public do not have to register, and entities that are established purely for the non-financial benefit of members are not charities.

Charitable organisations are often set up to commemorate an event, and often to provide a service that is not otherwise provided.  Where there is already a service available (whether provided by the States of Guernsey, the private sector, or a charitable organisation), a decision should be made as to whether an existing organisation would be able to widen its remit to incorporate some additional objectives.

So the first thing to consider, therefore, is whether a new charity is really necessary.  A good place to start is the internet, where a search of this website may locate another local organisation with similar aims.

Invariably, it would seem preferable to enlarge the aims of an existing organisation, rather than start a new one, especially when considering areas such as fund-raising, and staffing the organisation.  Most charities would also benefit from a larger membership (rather than many small organisations, each with a few members).

If you decide that there is a clear need for a new charity (for example, to provide a new service to the island), then there are several areas that require consideration.

Types of Charity

There are three types of charitable organisation:

1.    A Charitable Trust

Normally applies to small groups, or groups that will not have a general membership.  A Trust is run by Trustees and is governed by a Trust Deed.

2.    A Charitable Company

A Company Limited by Guarantee may be desirable for organisations wishing to protect its members and officers (the Directors), as liability is limited to a nominal amount (as stipulated in the company Memorandum and Articles of Association).

3.    An Unincorporated Charitable Association

Most charities fall within this group (i.e. they are neither a Trust nor a Company) since it is easier to set up and administer.  Normally, an association has a membership who periodically elect members of a management committee to run the organisation and uphold the terms and conditions laid down in its constitution.  As an association is unincorporated, there is no protection afforded to the officers should the association not be able to meet its debts.

Once you have decided on the type of charitable organisation you wish to set up, you will need to plan and draw up a governing document.  This will not only be the terms of reference for your organisation and its members, it will be required to establish and describe the aims and objects to third parties.  What should be in a Governing Document is now prescribed under the charity regulations, together with specimen Governing Documents in another section of this part of the website.