NCVO and Social Enterprise UK
“BWB Get Legal brings you a range of top-quality, affordable legal documents, available to download and customise to your specifications. Every document has been drafted by our expert solicitors.”
Get Legal

Decision Tool

Step 1: Deciding on incorporation

Having considered the risks for your organisation in the light of the Get Legal information, do you want to incorporate?

Yes No

Step 2: You should incorporate

Do you want the majority of your surpluses or profit used for public or community benefit?

Yes No

Step 3: You should incorporate

Do you want all your profit/surplus used for public or community benefit (and therefore not to reward investors at all)?

Yes No

Step 4: You should incorporate

Do you want a significant number of board members to be paid or receive other benefits from your organisation?

Yes No

Step 5: You should incorporate

Do you envisage needing to take out any form of borrowing for your organisation at some stage in the future?

Yes No

You should consider becoming a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO).

For more information on the advantages and disadvantages of CIO status see Charitable Incorporated Organisation.

(a) If having read the notes below, you decide to adopt the CIO structure, do you want a large membership?

Yes No

(b) If having read the notes below, you decide to adopt the company limited by guarantee structure, do you want a large membership?

Yes No

You should consider becoming an Association CIO

Download Standard Documentation for this Legal Form

You should consider becoming a Foundation CIO

Download Standard Documentation for this Legal Form

You should consider becoming a community interest company (CIC) limited by shares. You should also consider becoming a co-operative society

Download Standard Documentation for this Legal Form

You should also consider becoming a cooperative society

Step 3: You should incorporate

Do you want to use your surplus/profit for the benefit of your staff or other organisations or individuals whom you would like to be members of your organisation?

Yes No

You should consider becoming a co-operative society

You should also consider becoming a Community Benefit Society with co-operative status

You are a commercial organisation

This indicates you wish to distribute profit to yourself and investors and that you are therefore a commercial organisation. You should consider seeking advice from lawyers or from a service such as Business Link. If you want to have social and/or environmental outcomes as part of your business mission consider registering as a Bcorp.

Step 2: Will your organisation have a membership?

Information on the role of members can be found in the Stakeholders and Introduction to governance structures pages.

Yes No

Step 3: Do you want all your surpluses & profit used for public or community benefit?

Yes No

You should consider being a non-charitable unincorporated association and seek further legal advice

Step 3: Do you want all your surpluses & profit used for public or community benefit?

Yes No

Step 4: Board Members

Do you want a significant number of board members to be paid or receive other benefits from your organisation?

Yes No

This is an unusual outcome

You should consider being a partnership or unincorporated association, or reconsider whether an incorporated form would be more appropriate. We would recommend seeking advice from lawyers or from a service such as Business Link

Get further advice

You do not appear to want to set up a charity, social enterprise or co-operative organisation and are beyond the remit of this website. You should consider seeking formal advice about setting up an organisation, from lawyers or from a service such as Business Link.