Charity structures - overview

Date last reviewed

Friday, September 15, 2017

This video by law firm Russell-Cooke explains the different types of structures available for charities and community groups and highlights the advantages and disadvantages of each one.



Who should watch this?

Watch this if you are thinking about setting up a charity and are deciding what legal structure to use.

The content of this video is accurate as at September 2017 (but see 'Update' section below).

What does the video cover?

The video will cover questions such as:

  • What are the different structures available for charities?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of charitable trusts, unincorporated associations, companies limited by guarantee and charitable incorporated organisations (CIOs)?
  • Which structures best protect trustees from personal liability?
  • What is the difference between a company limited by guarantee and a CIO?
  • What structures might a social enterprise use?

Running time: 18mins

  • Title page (0.23)
  • Introduction (0.25)
  • Main structures (1.36)
  • Charitable trusts (2.21)
  • Unincorporated associations (2.33)
  • Company limited by guarantee (5.38)
  • Charitable incorporated organisation (CIO) (4.19)
  • Summary (0.55)  


Since this video was filmed, the Charity Commission's approach to CIOs appears to have become more flexible, in that it appears to be allowing more changes to the Charity Commission model constitutions where the changes follow good governance principles.

Special thanks to:

Russell-Cooke and Nabarro (now CMS).


LawWorks, the presenters, and the organisations involved in producing these resources cannot accept any responsibility or liability for the use of the materials and they are not a substitute for taking appropriate legal advice.

Date last reviewed

September 2017

Date of publication

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Area of law

Type of Resource

Year of Publication