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1 Getting Started

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Starting a voluntary organisation can seem a daunting process, particularly if you’ve never been involved in the voluntary sector before. In its simplest form though, you and at least two others with a shared interest in addressing a particular need can establish a voluntary organisation through following the straightforward process below:

  1. Identifying a committee of at least three unrelated people, none of whom can be resident at the same address. Your committee will consist of a Chairperson, Treasurer, Secretary and any other members as deemed necessary.
  2. Developing a set of rules known as a ‘governing document’.
  3. Holding a minuted meeting in order to adopt the governing document and agree to open a bank account for the organisation.
  4. Taking the signed governing document, minutes of the meeting and various forms of identification to your chosen bank in order to open a treasurer’s account in the organisation’s name.


Contrary to popular belief, there is no need to then register the organisation with a local authority or any other organisation or agency. Once the governing document has been adopted and the bank account opened, you can seek funding and start delivering the intended activities.

​However, when establishing a voluntary organisation there is so much more than the above to take into consideration including what are the risks, what can and can’t you do and what if charitable status is desired? From writing your organisation’s purposes to understanding legal structures, the first section of our Resource Kit tells you all you need to know about getting started.

1.1 Legal Structures

1.2 Unincorporated Association

1.3 Trusts

1.4 Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation

1.5 Limited Company

1.6 Community Interest Companies

1.7 Developing a Governing Document

1.8 Writing your Organisations Purposes

1.9 Applying for Charitable Status

1.10 Applying for Company Status

1.11 Applying for CIC Status

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