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How to run a charity

This guide offers practical support and advice to anyone involved in the management and administration of charities. Looks at the legal framework, finance and managing assets, the role and responsibility of charity boards and trustees in both theory and practice. Includes case studies of both good and bad practice. Updated to reflect the latest legislation including the 2015 Charities SORP and the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016.

How to run a charity

Cecile Gilliard, ICSA Publishing, 2017

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1. Legal and regulatory context

Chapter 1 looks at the standing of a charity in law as well as the regulatory framework in which they operate and the legal forms available to charities including the new charitable incorporated organisation (CIO) form.

2. Constitution: the governing document

Chapter 2 deals with the constitution of the charity, depending on the legal form of the charity.

3. Governance and management

Chapter 3 examines governance issues such as the role and liabilities of trustees, the effectiveness of charity governance and the Charity Governance Code.

4. Members and membership matters

Chapter 4 looks at membership matters such as matters reserved for the members, members rights, duties and liabilities, members meetings and annual general meetings.

5. Public accountability and reporting

Chapter 5 deals with the accountability to stakeholders and reporting issues such as Charity annual return and account filing, independent examination and audit.

6. Good stewardship; the correct application of funds and assets

Chapter 6 examines stewardship issues such as conflicts of interest, risk management and payment of benefits to and transactions with trustees.

7. Operating the charity

Chapter 7 looks at operational matters such staff and volunteers, record keeping, health & safety and safeguarding.

8. Resourcing the charity: funding and fundraising

As well as funding and fundraising, Chapter 8 deals with tax and VAT, trading and investments.

Appendix 1: Role description for charity trustee

Appendix 2: Role description for chairman

Appendix 3: Role description for treasurer

Appendix 4: Role description for secretary of a charitable company

Appendix 5: Role description for secretary

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All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission, in writing, from the publisher. This publication is a general guide and is correct at the time of writing.


The publication does not necessarily deal with every important topic or cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to provide legal advice and should not be treated as a substitute for legal advice. Legal advice should always be sought before taking action based on the information provided. The authors bear no responsibility for errors and omissions.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (as distributor) disclaims all liability for any errors or omissions.