Starting a charity

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#1 Feb 25th, 2005, 21:21
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#1
Has anyone any experience or knowledge of setting up a UK charity? I'm wanting to know the legal/financial stuff.

This is what we have in mind...on Boxing Day, Mr TQ and I visited the hospital where he was born - St Luke's Missionary hospital in Chubua near Dibrugarh. We gave a donation of course but were overwhelmed by the gratitude of the staff, for what was to us a smallish amount of money.

When we changed our plans and headed back to Assam for the end of our trip, we paid them another visit to see if there was something more meaningful we could do for them. The hospital cares for over 500 new-borns every year, as well as any other local emergencies. The people in this area are mainly tea estate workers - very poor and mostly illiterate. Those who work on good estates have medical care provided by their employers, but the most desparate people come to this under-funded and ill-equiped hospital. The staff are fantastic, and do their vitally needed work under very difficult conditions, sometimes being attacked by the very people they are trying to help. They have very little to work with, when we were shown the delivery room where Mr TQ entered the world, we were amazed by the complete lack of equipment - there was a bed, a light and a weighing machine. We spoke to the senior staff and asked what was most needed:

Doctors (not many qualified doctors want to work here, turn-over is rapid)

Untra-sonography machine

X-ray machine

ECG machine

Baby incubators

None of these are things we can readily lay our hands on (but if you can, let me know!). However, one thing they do need (and without which most of the above would be useless) is a good generator.

We asked around locally how much such a thing would cost, and we think that for us, with a little fundraising, this is a realistic objective for us to acheive.

So, we have a couple of ideas in the pipeline but what we need to know first of all is how to set the project up legally and fully accoutable financially. Obviously we want a clear separation from our own finances and be able to take advantage of the tax allowances/gift aid/etc that charities are entitled to. If anyone has experience of this sort of thing or knows where to get started, please let me know.

Cheers TQ
#2 Feb 25th, 2005, 23:02
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#2
I can't help you with British charities but maybe if it's just for the one generator it's easier to do it via an existing one to save you a lot of hassle? Just a thought.
#3 Feb 26th, 2005, 17:23
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Appologies to anyone who's already read this post, I'm just bumping it back to the top of the pile to see if anyone has the information I'm looking for. Just to add something, here's a picture of Mr TQ in that very delivery room, with some of the terrific nurses who work at St Luke's.

Cheers again TQ
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#4 Feb 28th, 2005, 06:26
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I suspect the best info for setting up a charitible foundation might be to ask a lawyer, Torryquine. Unless, of course, there's a legal press publishing self-help books as there is in the US.

An hour's consultation should get you a lot of information at a fairly reasonable price.
#5 Mar 16th, 2005, 01:41
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Hi TQ,

You've probably got things going by now but incase your still looking try:
http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/

I too am in the process of setting up a UK charity to support work in India: http://www.tong-len.org

We are registering in Scotland so the process is slightly different, but please email me if you think I can help

Good Luck!

Rachel
#6 Oct 15th, 2006, 14:37
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#6

Starting a charity

Hi all,
Has anyone attempted to set up a charity based in their home country to support a cause in India? I have a couple of ideas:
Having been inspired by the story of a girl who after teaching in Uganda, went home and raised enough money to set up new schools there. i would like to try and do a similar thing for India, namely a school for girls. Women's literacy needs a lot of help, my main concern would be getting an Indian connection who could assist in some of the practicalities.
My other idea is paying needy families directly, travelling to poor areas, asking what people need (a bicycle, a cow etc) and trying to raise money back home for them. Any experiences, help or advice?
#7 Oct 15th, 2006, 15:31
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I did some research on this just last week! The best place to look is the Charity Commissioner's website. It is rather complicated, and hard to find just what you want, but I have un-earthed a few documents that might be of use to you:

This page is probably the key one - it is called 'Registering as a Charity and explains everything you need to know about starting a charity':

http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk...tions/cc21.asp

This one tells you whether or not you need to register a charity, and explains some of the thinking behind it:

http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk...charregvol.pdf

This one is meant for a new Trustee to a charity, and explains the requirements of the job. In doing so, it mentions a lot of the legal requirements that you are interested in - look for the purple 'L' from time to time throughout the text:

http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk...ations/cc3.asp

Responsibilities of a trustee can be found on the sub-pages here:
http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk...s/index086.asp

I hope that's enough to be going along with...


Tim in England
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#8 Oct 16th, 2006, 01:29
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gr8 idea carolina..i know Shanti..I want to be a volunteer there but there is no vacancy now..why dont u start with it..they need no. of things..she is the only person i know..not personally..Sahnti the street kids Links r as follws

www.shanthistreekids.org

I hope u love it..

regards
manreet_16
#9 Oct 16th, 2006, 01:38
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I sure hope it's easier for you in the UK than it is in the US. I know people who have spent thousands of dollars trying to start non-profits in the US and it's a huge pain in the butt, with no guarantee of being "approved".
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#10 Oct 16th, 2006, 01:49
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carolina,

good ideas and good intentions. you might want to share more about what your experience is with india. have you travelled here a lot? have you lived here somewhere? are you already associated with any other groups back home? or here in India?

i am afraid if you dont have much experience, then i would suggest that first you get experience with some groups on the ground here in India.

there are a lot of beaurocratic hurdles to set up a tax free aid group.. these days of charity money ending in the wrong places, governments are putting in new rules for auditing what not... not only that, how are you going find a genuine Indian connection that you can trust or have that relationship with to provide the service to your standards?

i have some friends supporting groups in Cambodia, Thailand/Burma mainly dealing with exploitation against kids/women.....and after a while, they decided to form their own group. things went dandy for six months but now i see the stress, constant fund raising, dealing from long distance...they still love doing it, dont get me wrong, but now they feel the weight, the weight of ownership for 20 or so lives that they are trying to change.....i think its a long term commitment if you get in it, sometimes full-time...and i am just saying that you be better prepared for it.

i would recommend CRY and RoomToRead...both who are associated with children and education in the subcontinent. search at IM threads from before for more links to Indian specific/local charity/aid group websites

good luck..
#11 Oct 16th, 2006, 02:14
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#11
Have to second GreenChutney on that one. Quite apart from the fact that doing almost anything in India is a beaurocratic nightmare --- you will immediately hit problems with visas, for a start: no, the fact that you want to do something good here is not an acceptable reason to be granted anything other than a tourist visa.
See IMer Shanthi's posts on some of the troubles she faces.

The other thing is that, unless you know India -- or at least the part of it that you intend to focus on, how will you know what is really needed? You might, for instance, be surprised at how many people speak English already.

You may know all this already, you may be way ahead of it. If so, don't mind us posting it, it may be useful to somebody else.
#12 Oct 17th, 2006, 09:14
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Setting up a charity in India... Blimey... If I'd known then what I know now... (Would I have started??? - Not too sure!)! - Myself and a friend first volunteered for a charity in Goa but left as we really didnt like how they did things (still not happy), so we thought (and were talked into by friends and family) to start our own... Neither of us had done anything like it before but how hard could t be?! - The UK side is pretty damn easy actually. The only thing you really need is a friend (unless you can afford to pay) who is an accountant (as you need to provide your accounts to the Charity Commision. The Charity commision makes it quite easy and there is help all the way, there's even basic deeds that you can use (easiest way).

Then... India... Hmmm... Not so straight forward. I have to say there's LOTS of NGO's in India that aren't registered (which really gets my back up!) as we have spent so much effort trying to get ours done 'the right way' hitting obsticle after obsticle when the ones that aren't registered just keep going without a care in the world... we actually started in Goa (which is probably the hardest place to start as there are the tightest controls and lots more issues... The reason we choose Goa was that we already knew the place and although it's far from the worst place in India, there was still lots of children that needed help and the lots of visitors also helped with volunteers and funding.

You REALLY need to know at least 1 (preferably 3) good, trustworthy Indians... I have been in India 3 years and have been 'done over' several times and find it very difficult (compared to the UK) to find people I can trust. Many times I've known people for 8 to 12 months and then, they do you over.. So be very careful. I am lucky to know a good handful that I trust completely know, but have definately found out the hard way.

For India you need to do lots of things like register as a Trust/Society (At least one Indian Trustee (preferably all Indian)), You would also need to register with the local Women and Child office. There are then other concerns about where funding is coming from. If you're expecting to get all funding from outside India then you will need to apply for the FCRA (Foreign contributions Regulations Act) - They're making this easier but at the moment they're expecting to be set up for 3 years in India before having money sent from abroad. We've been very lucky and have lots of locals supporting us. you can also apply for one of acceptance of funds (PRIOR) to receiving it..

Then there's Income Tax (80G)? - To get tax benefits.. And then finding someone to do your accounts/legal etc in India...

It is LOTS of hard work. If you have any specific questions then please get in touch (via the website) www.ChildrenWalkingTall.com

We're a reistereed trust, have a fantastic house "The Mango house" ready, had our inspection but have been waiting for our licence for nearly a year now...! - So the wheels can turn very slowly...

Good luck
#13 Jan 1st, 2008, 21:28
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#13
So has there been anyone recently thinking of starting a charity in India... Just curious....
#14 Jan 9th, 2008, 16:34
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Yes, actually! We're moving to Reis Magos pretty soon (yes, we found our heaven!) and through the persuasion of friends who have visited Goa over the past decade or so, is what we're probably going to do - amongst other things anyway. I have seen loads of charities as we have travelled through India this time, and also in times past and met some of their undesirable 'leaders' We have a lot of funders from the UK who have already put funds into an account over the past year and three very good Indian friends, one of whom is an accountant! SO, I don't know where you are in Goa poipleshadow, but we'll be setting up pretty soon - for abused, neglected and children like that. Got loads of volunteers lined up for next year too - SO it'll hopefully come about in the next 6 months or so.
As I grow older I don't listen much to what people say anymore, I look at what they do...
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#15 Jan 9th, 2008, 19:14
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Carolina

Hi from a fellow Londoner..

To be honest, the charity will have to have people on ground so that money goes direct to people and the Charity is managed by you in India. Setting up a charity may be the easiest step. Getting money to those who needs it will be the hardest.

Saying that, I came across a charity set up in the UK, run by Asian elders that is running a great project. They bought land in Gujarat, India, and people in the UK were sponsoring each home built on that land. Cost of building one house for a homeless family from what I understood is around £1,000. They are also employed to work on the site.
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