Napthens has a strong reputation for work with charities and not-for-profit organisations with clients ranging from small, local charities to larger publicly funded organisations. Our team of specialists are experienced in the sector which means they understand the real, day to day issues facing charitable organisations. They also appreciate that like any business, a charity requires commercially focused advice.
Our team approach means clients benefit from an all-round legal service covering such areas as:
I am a trustee of a small charity which may be losing part of its funding and I can see us having to make redundancies or even close down. What do I do?
Call a Trustees Meeting and ask the accountants to help you with an up to date set of management accounts and a cashflow so that you can all see what is really going on. Have a realistic look at your actual and potential funding and whether it is going to be sufficient for the charity to continue. Do not take on any liabilities or expenses you cannot be sure you can afford. Take legal advice as to initial redundancy steps so you are prepared in case that becomes necessary. Consider whether you might transfer your charities activities to another charity. But take action now - it is not the end of the world if a charity has to cease operations and pass on any surplus assets to another charity.
Our charity has been running for 20 years and during that time the need for our services has changed, and in some cases disappeared, but we see new areas of need opening up. What can we do?
A charity’s ‘objects’ (which are the specific activities it is authorised to carry out and to which donors contribute) cannot be changed without the consent of the Charity Commission. However the Commission recognise that times change and so do the types of need society has. They will usually look favourably on a proposal to alter objects by updating and adapting them - for example by extending care for the elderly into possibly respite care to assist families of dementia sufferers - especially if the changes have the support of supporters and members of the charity.
Our charity was formed as a trust 15 years ago to provide club facilities for children, but we are concerned about the risk of being held liable as trustees if anything goes wrong. What can we do?
First check that the charity and trustees have all necessary insurance. Then consider incorporating the charity as a limited company (or one of the new Charitable Incorporated Organisations). That would allow the operations of the charity to be conducted by the company or CIO rather than by the Trustees themselves, and will proved a measure of protection. The process involves some legal steps but as trustees you serve for no reward and are entitled to have some peace of mind about possible liabilities.
We have had changes of charity trustees at meetings over the years but now none of them have their names on the charity’s property Title Deeds and some of those shown on the deeds are dead. What do we do?
It is important to take advice to record and formalise appointments and resignations so that property titles can be updated, and then make sure that you record them properly in future. Fortunately the dead ones should be the easiest to sort out!