Charity constitution models
Charity constitution models

The following Private Client guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Charity constitution models
  • Flat model
  • Membership model
  • Hybrid model
  • Members
  • Governing document checklist

In the context of how a charity is to be governed, its constitution is of fundamental importance. After the structural format of the charity has been decided, it is necessary to adopt the appropriate governing document.

From the trustees' perspective, whatever governance structure is initially adopted it is necessary to review its operation periodically. This is particularly so as the way a charity is governed reflects the relationship between its trustees and its members. Members in this context can mean, inter alia:

  1. donors to the charity

  2. volunteer workers

  3. on occasions, the trustees themselves in a dual role

  4. other linked charities

However, not all charity structures will have members—a charitable trust almost certainly will not. Equally, the rights and powers that the members will have will vary from charity to charity. For instance, members of a charity may have the substantial right to alter the constitution of that charity.

Where there are members, a governance structure will set out the rights and powers applicable in the relationship. The question is then what model structure is the best?

In essence the available possibilities that should be considered are:

  1. a flat model

  2. a membership model

  3. a hybrid model

Flat model

The distinguishing feature of this model is that the members are the same as the trustees. Its purpose is to give the trustees the ability to control