Step 3: Your governing document

Each legal structure has a governing document also known as a (Constitution, Trust Deed or Memorandum and Articles of Association or The Rules) relevant to it.

Your governing document is like a set of rules and includes things like:

  •  What the charity is set up to do (objects).
  • How the charity will do those things (powers).
  • Who will run it (charity trustees) - your charity trustees (also known as your management committee or board).
  • What happens if changes to the governing document need to be made (amendment provision).
  • What happens if the charity wishes to wind up/close down (dissolution provision).
  • How the charity trustees will run the charity.
  • Internal arrangements for meetings (such as your Annual General Meeting).
  • Voting procedures and financial procedures etc.

The following chart shows which governing document relates to each legal structure.

Types of charity

Governing document
Unincorporated Basic constitution
Registered charity Small charitable constitution or memorandum and articles of association
Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG) Memorandum and articles of association
co-operative or community benefit society The rules
Charitable incorporated organisation Constitution
Social enterprises and community interest companies (CIC) Memorandum and articles of association
Charitable trust or foundation Trust deed

Help is at hand!

We haven’t provided you with template constitutions to download and complete yourselves as we recommend you contact the Development Team to help you make sure you get the right legal form and constitution for your group. Please contact Email: or Tel: 0161 339 2345 

» Step 4: Taking your group to the next level