The main purpose of educational charities is to make learning possible for students of all ages and backgrounds, from pre-school to college and graduate school. These charities also offer educational services and provide opportunities that make schools more effective and easily accessible to all kinds of students.
When setting up a charity in the UK, the government sets out six key steps that you must follow. And since charities are also just like a business, there are also some risks involved. Therefore, you must do your research well and put in some effort when setting it up. You must take your time because cutting corners will only lead to issues, especially in matters concerning taxes.
Here are some tips for setting up an educational charity in the UK.
1. Have a Clear Mission Statement
The mission state is the foundation of your educational charity. It influences and shapes everything in your organisation, from marketing to communications. At the same time, your mission statement sends out a message to others about the kind of educational charity that you are.
But when coming up with a mission statement, make sure that it is clear and sends out the right message. The statement must describe your charity’s fundamental and unique purpose. It communicates the value you are trying to deliver and the type of people you are trying to help. Your mission statement should perfectly encapsulate why your charity exists, what you are trying to achieve, whom you are trying to serve, and how can you support them.
But remember that mission and vision statements are two different things. Although both statements capture the main essence of your educational charity’s values and beliefs, the vision statement will also explain your organisation’s overall goal while looking into the future. Meanwhile, the mission statement will merely outline your current plan in realising your vision.
2. Where is the Need
Next, think geographically about where educational help is needed the most and how you think you can help. There are various educational charities out there, and although the main goal is to help students, they focus on different things.
Educational charity is such a broad category. Some of the educational charities in the UK function as educational institutions, while others are focused on making education easily accessible for different communities.
The coverage of education charities is vast. Thus, you will have various avenues to offer support. Do your research to identify the group that you most want to support. For instance, you can set up a charity that offers school supplies for students from impoverished areas or perhaps provide scholarships to a certain group of students.
3. Think Carefully about Funding
When setting up an educational charity, the most important thing you need to consider is how to fund your charity. Will the money come from sponsors in the form of donations or through loan financing? Others would get help from grant funders or some other financial sources. There are different ways to get financial aid for your educational charity, and the best place to start is through the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisation’s website. Here, you will find out more information about different sources of funding to finance your educational charity.
If you plan on getting your funding from loan finance or grant-making body, make sure to consider this option only if it is for your charity’s best interests. In addition, you need to carefully consider to what extent your funder expects to influence how your charity operates or if it plans to implement certain conditions regarding how the funds must be spent or used.
4. Employee Training
Protecting vulnerable kids and adults should be a priority of every charity in the UK. In fact, the Charity Commission has announced that they will make safeguarding a priority. Therefore, when setting up an educational charity, you must provide safeguarding training, using a certified education training provider, designed for the charity workers, teachers, and all volunteers of the organisation.
Safeguarding refers to the various measures that organisations must put in place to protect the people within the organisation, including those that the staff come into contact with. For instance, as an educational charity, you may be dealing with young students. Part of the safeguarding policy is to ensure that they are protected from abuse and all kinds of maltreatment. Safeguarding must be considered in everything you do in the organisation, from writing the policies and procedures to safer recruitment and ethical fundraising.
Aside from training the staff on safeguarding policies, you must also train them in a range of relevant subjects. It’s also important to allow the staff to direct their own personal and professional development. You can send out a training request form asking employees to outline what they can personally gain from training, how they intend to use the skills they learned, and how these can benefit the organisation.
The charity training must also cover the current key issues that the organisation may be dealing with, such as remotely managing the team, working from home, and topic areas related to governance, finance, fundraising, personal development, and communication.
5. Think About Structure
The next important thing to consider when setting up an educational charity is the structure. There are four main structures for charity in the UK. These are unincorporated associations, trusts, charitable companies, and CIOs or Charitable Incorporated Organisations.
The unincorporated association is the easiest to set up, and it’s a great option if you plan to operate as a small charity. Meanwhile, if you already have a certain amount of money that you plan on giving to a charitable organization, you need to follow the trust structure. For this structure, you must regularly meet with the other trustees to decide how the funds must be best used.
Charitable companies have similar legal status as individuals who can enter into contracts, buy land, hire staff, etc. This is more suitable for setting up a large and complex educational charity with several employees, assets, and overhead. As for the CIO, it is a new legal structure for charities established only in 2012. It’s an incorporated version of charity with the same benefits as that of a limited company with less burden.