Starting up a charity

(12 Posts)
Harper27 Thu 06-Mar-14 14:26:46

I've volunteered for various charities over the years whilst looking for a job, as I like to help people less fortunate than myself, but I often wonder how difficult would be to start up one myself. Does anyone have experience of this, i.e. Where do you start, after deciding on an idea? Also, I have no experience of acquiring funding, nor where to ask for it, and having only ever been a volunteer, do the initiators of charities pay themselves a wage? Apologies for my naivety, but any advice would be welcome.

Letitsnow9 Fri 07-Mar-14 20:35:41

My honest advice would be don't set one up. There are so many and I would only suggest it if you have a new idea and can see a gap in the the support out there. Just google wishes for children or caravan holidays for kids with cancer and see how many are all doing the same thing. You don't have to start a charity to make a massive difference

CharityCase Sat 08-Mar-14 09:03:58

I would also say not to do it unless you have identified a genuine unmet need/ niche. There is a lot of duplication and empire building in the sector. Legally, it's very easy to set up a charity. The difficulty is getting the funding because typically funders want evidence of impact. In reality, most new charities now that manage to achieve any decent scale get seed funding from one of a number of foundations that specialise in that, or are self-funded by a well heeled founder. To get seed funding though you need to be more than a one man band- it's almost a venture capital model where the funders are backing what may be a brilliant and easily scaleable solution to a big social issue. If you have a model where you're alleviating rather than solving, funding is increasingly difficult.

Harper27 Sat 08-Mar-14 11:10:13

Thank you for your informative replies, I wasn't sure if I'd get any. I guess it does sound complicated, I just wondered if I could do something to make a difference and maybe earn myself a basic wage in the process. There does seem to be a lot of charities out there, and I would only consider it if I thought I could make a real difference. Thank you again for your advice.

kevbags Sat 08-Mar-14 20:06:11

I'm in the process of doing it with a couple of friends but it happened by accident really. We don't regret it though :-) Definitely not Empire building for us. We raise what we can with everyone a volunteer. It's certainly not something we ever envisage being big enough to employ anyone. Just like minded people pulling together.

Harper27 Sun 09-Mar-14 15:24:53

Oh I wasn't thinking of empire building, just doing something good and maybe getting 'by' in the process. It would be easier if I had some like minded friends to join me, but that's always the stumbling block. Thanks for your comments, and all the best with your venture.

kentishgirl Mon 10-Mar-14 17:03:09

Instead of a charity, look at a social enterprise instead.

Harper27 Tue 11-Mar-14 09:33:39

Yes . . Social a Enterprise, I've heard of that before but again no experience of it. Does anyone have any experience of starting up such a venture? I'm a creative and caring person, but unfortunately, I have no-one to go into a partnership with.

CharityCase Tue 11-Mar-14 14:46:07

A social enterprise is just a business with social rather than financial returns as its objective. They typically have a high proportion of earned income ( sometimes 100%) vs. being funded by grants and donations but are usually run on a not for profit basis, so any profits are retained within the entity. In some ways they're simpler than a charity, but in many ways more complex, because your strategy needs to take into account the need to achieve certain social ends as well as being financially self- sustainable. Sometimes these aims are not compatible. So for example one I'm aware of is a business that provides employment to people with a history of severe MH problems. Their premises is in demand for private events in the evenings but the issue is that often the clients want to hire own staff rather than using the social enterprise's staff ( and also a lot of the usual employees can't cope with evening work). therefore, although venue hire is easy money it doesn't really advance the main objective of the business so they're conflicted about whether they shd do it.

Harper27 Tue 11-Mar-14 20:26:46

Thank you for that explanation, it was both useful and interesting. So now it seems I need a worthwhile idea, that will go the distance, and some like minded folk to take it up with me. Social enterprise may be the way to go. Thanks again.

Letitsnow9 Fri 14-Mar-14 07:27:05

If you want to run a charity and earn a wage then I would look out for jobs in big charities. As chairman or trustee you can't profit from a charity and you would have to raise so much before justifying paying yourself ie if you raised £20,000 in a year do you feel able to take £15,000 of that leaving only £5k for charitable use. It's a shame it's not easier to do, would be lovely to be able to do good, set up your own charity and get paid for it

Harper27 Sun 16-Mar-14 11:12:55

Thank you Letitsnow9, that's good advice. I keep volunteering in the hope it may lead somewhere, but I think you have to be with them for approx 3 years, but then if I apply to other jobs, I need the experience. It's that vicious circle situation. I really am grateful for all the replies, it helps to have some kind advice, Thank you to everyone.

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