Your friends or community growing group does not have to be a charity from the outset. Many exist as constituted groups or are even more informal than that. If you wish to look into becoming a charity or a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) there is a lot of help and guidance available.

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) provides guidance on setting up a charity

You can also phone the SCVO Information Service free of charge on the Freephone helpline: 0800 169 0022 or email: [email protected]

Here are some stages you should consider:

Get started - Information to help you think through some of the key issues around starting a voluntary organisation in Scotland

Make a plan - Developing a new voluntary organisation takes careful planning to map out your vision and pay attention to all the detail

Decide on membership - Membership organisations are common in the voluntary sector. You just have to choose the right kind for you. 

Decide on charitable status - How to understand the particular circumstances of your organisation and decide which option is right for you. 

Consider the risks - Consider the types of activity you will be involved in and the level of risk attached.

Decide on a structure - Choose the right legal structure for your organisation based on what you plan to do.

Write your constitution - Once you have decided on your legal structure and are ready to draft your constitution. There are models you can follow. 

Next steps - Register your new organisation with the appropriate body. Then get on with the business of running your organisation.