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Running a charity – where to begin?

Running a charity is a huge responsibility and with so many things to juggle, it can be a real struggle to find the right balance between getting everything done and making sure it’s all being done right.  Where do you even begin?

Regulations are the foundations upon which any charity runs.  Which regulations apply to your charity will be dependent upon the legal form you have adopted, whether you work with protected groups etc. but if you are a registered charity in Scotland you will at the very least be regulated by OSCR, the Scottish Charity Regulator.  The regulations are written as Charity Law and there is a wealth of advice and guidance on their website to help you.

Compliance with regulations applicable to your charity is your protection from external complaints / threats.  The policies and procedures you put in place to protect your staff, volunteers, service users and financial stability.  Again, the policies and procedures you need will be dependent on a number of factors, the Good Governance Award can help you identify what you need.

Effective Leadership will ensure that appropriate controls are in place to ensure that the regulations are adhered to in everything your charity does.  When people are confident that you are compliant they are more likely to trust in the work you do and in turn more likely to lend their support to your vision, be it by working or volunteering for you, granting a funding application, buying your products or services or making a singular or regular donation.  With sections in managing staff and volunteers, strategic planning and delivery as a couple of examples, the Good Governance Award can guide you to focus on the areas you need to develop to ensure you are leading your people and managing your operations effectively.

Trust is built over a period of time but can be extinguished in the flickering of an eye.  One bad headline can undo years of relationship building and public trust.  But if you have the correct controls and procedures in place, you have a strong position from which to respond to any complaints / allegations.

Public Money and Grant Funding are two of, if not the largest sources of income for most Charities, without which, most would cease to exist and the fantastic work that is being done would be no more.  In order to get these precious pounds though, you must, now more than ever, ensure that your public and your funders have the trust in the organisation to deliver what it promises before they will part with their cash to support you instead of another cause.  By demonstrating that you lead your people and manage your operations well, demonstrating best practice in governing your organisation can only improve your chances.  “89% of people said that knowing a charity is well run would improve their trust in that charity” (OSCR: Charity, Public Trust & Regulation Survey 2018).  The Good Governance Award is a standard of agreed best practice to be met and maintained.  By achieving the award you show you have met this standard.

But…… as you can see from the diagram above, removing any one of these key elements to running your organisation will upset the balance and put it at risk of falling away.  The Good Governance Award can help you systematically work through all of the elements required to ensure you are demonstrating best practice in the running of your charity and give you the recognition you deserve for achieving the award.

Start your journey to best practice in governance at