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Tips for setting up a social enterprise or possibly charity?

(4 Posts)
ThisAintKansas Wed 13-Jun-12 21:17:56

Not sure of the ins ad outs of exactly how I'll set it up yet - researching it all as we speak.

But what would you advise me to do as preparation? A bit clueless, but a fast learner grin

Currently I am looking at 'competition' / similar businesses or charities, researching funding steams and what might be a 'gap in the market'. What else should I be doing before I take the plunge and set this thing up?

Sorry for being so vague.

watersign76 Wed 13-Jun-12 22:21:10


As you have suggested and like with any business (socially-minded or not) you need to access the demand/need for the services/product. So sounds like you are starting by looking at the right things.

I guess if I was your bank manager/funder I'd want to know:

* Why you are setting up x (ie they'll be testing if this is a personal crusade vs an actual need)
* What is the evidence of the demand/need (figures rather than ancedotal)
* What will you be doing that those competitors you mention aren't (there are nearly 200,000 charities in the UK etc)
* what is the longer term strategy past the initial funding? ie is this a sustainable model?

As you may know Gov cuts are resulting in charites/non-profits having to shut due to lack of funding. And non-stat funding pots cannot make up the shortfall...

However, in my humble (& vaguely informed) opinion 'Social Enterprise' is being held up as "the answer", so there does seem to be some resource/help/funding for those willing to establish social enterprises. Only today this was launched -

If you are planning to 'serve' a local community, your Local Authority might be able to offer help/support too. They might also be able to give a hint as to "who" in the community would attract the most funding, which you can then include in your plans.

If I was you, I might also be inclinded to visit/contact a non-competing small social enterprise/charity to see what it is like running a small not-for-profit. I have generally found the charity sector very willing to share learnings.

Then I'd try to find a successful version of what you want to do and try to learn from them, even if it is from afar.

On a personal finance note, the people I know that run small non-profits do it almost for the love. Not saying that all non-profit CEOs earn nothing, (or that you are doing this to enjoy a large salary!) but generally paying yourself seems to come after all the other stuff that needs paying for. Iknow a CEO of a charity that turnsover more than £1m and they only earn c£40k FT.

If you choose the CIC legal form, I think the Regulator can have a say in what you are paid (to ensure that you aren't creaming off too much etc).

Again, you may know but this is the main membership body for SEs in the Uk - they have resources etc.

Not sure if this is any help.

Good luck!


slipperandpjsmum Sun 24-Jun-12 21:44:26

Have you got any further with your idea This?

ceciliacrossley Mon 16-Sep-13 16:31:59

Hi there, I recently set up a social enterprise that has a registered charity as the parent company. Depending on the nature of what you're doing I think there are some good benefits to structuring this way. Are you still working on your plan? If so I'm happy to share more about my experience - I just won't write lots now as this thread is labelled as dormant! Cecilia

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