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Back to school – 5 checks for your charity to do at the start of the new academic year

4th September 2017 by Sam Freeman

Categories: Charity News
Tags: , , ,

As a child, the first few days of September always brought about mixed emotions. Whilst there was the obvious sadness of another summer holiday coming to an end (a sentiment I doubt my parents shared), a part of me was excited at the thought of starting a new term. With each new writing book came the opportunity to start afresh and improve upon the “old” me from the year before.

Whilst the majority of us may regrettably no longer have the benefits of six week holidays, we can still treat September as a chance to review and improve upon our habits as we enter a new academic year.

Here are five checks that your charity would be well advised to carry out:

  1. Review your governing document: Does you governing document still reflect the way in which your charity wants to operate? If your objects clause is not wide enough, or you struggle to get enough attendees to your meetings to ensure that they are quorate, then it might be time to update your constitution. Even if you do not need to make any changes, it is always useful to remind yourself of your charity’s obligations.
  2. Identify any upcoming changes in legislation, rules and best practice: Time waits for no man (or charity) and there are a number of changes to fundraising, data protection and accountancy rules and regulations. Make sure that you are aware of these changes in sufficient time to prepare for them.
  3. Review your skills and resource base: Consider whether you are making the most of the resources that are available to you and whether you have are missing any skill sets. Do you need to get training, or employ someone new? Are you doing all you should be to keep your assets safe and reduce the risk of liability?
  4. Review your structure: If your charity has changed dramatically over its lifespan, or you did not seek advice when you first set up your charity, then it might be worth reviewing the various structures that are available to you. Setting up a separate trading company might help to protect your charity’s assets for example, and incorporation might help to limit the liability of your trustees.
  5. Consider training: If it has been a while since your staff and volunteers were reminded of the way in which they should be looking after personal data, or handling fundraising money, then consider having a training session.

Embrace your inner geek at the start of this school year in order to help ensure that your charity is heading in the right direction.

If you have any questions about charity law then please contact Sam Freeman on 01202 557256 or at

Sam Freeman

Partner — Corporate and Commercial

Direct dial: 01202 205024 (please note no voicemail)


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Sam Freeman is head of our Corporate and Commercial team and is a vastly experienced corporate lawyer having advised a wide variety of businesses within a range of sectors.

Sam’s particular specialisms include share and assets acquisitions and disposals, company restructures, shareholder agreements and partnerships. Sam enjoys helping people succeed in business regardless of whether the client is a small local set up or a large national organisation. Whatever the concern, Sam provides a calm personable approach to his work ensuring clients are guided in a practical straightforward manner.

Away from work Sam has recently become a dad for the first time, although when the time permits he enjoys playing cricket and pursuing the never ending task of trying to lower his golf handicap.

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