Non-Profit Business or Charity?

Mohit Baheti | Debitam By Mohit Baheti |

A non-profit organisation refers to businesses that have been established to achieve a good cause, there are different types of non-profit organisations and their structure is commonly mistaken with charities. Unlike the common concept, non-profit organisations actually make a profit but they are distributed to the cause that the business was established for instead of shareholders.

To set up a non-profit organisation, you will need to first identify your core cause or mission and determine the type of structure that best suits your needs. You may also need to register with local or national regulators, depending on the type of organisation you are establishing. Some common considerations include securing funding, managing and overseeing operations, and developing strategic plans to achieve your goals.

What types of Non-profit Business are there?

Community interest companies (CIC)

A community interest company (CIC) is a type of non-profit organisation that is focused on positively impacting the local community. CICs are typically structured as for-profit businesses, with a specific mission to generate social value rather than profit for shareholders. Some common activities pursued by CICs include providing support services to disadvantaged groups in the community, developing affordable housing, and supporting social entrepreneurship.

To set up a CIC, you will typically need to register with the UK government and complete certain legal requirements. This may include

  • Demonstrating that your proposed activities are for the public benefit,
  • Outlining how any profits or surpluses generated by the business will be used for social purposes, and
  • Appointing at least one community representative on your board of directors.


Another type of non-profit organisation is a cooperative, which refers to businesses that are owned and controlled by the people they serve. Cooperatives can be set up in a number of different ways, such as

  • Worker cooperatives,
  • Consumer cooperatives,
  • Housing cooperatives, and
  • Credit unions.

They typically operate with a focus on community development, social justice, or environmental sustainability.

To set up a cooperative, you will need to follow the established legal requirements for your specific type of organisation. This may include

  • Obtaining a charter from your state government and
  • Filing articles of incorporation with the state or national regulator.
  • You will also need to develop a business plan that outlines your mission, strategies for achieving social impact, and financial goals for the organisation.

Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP)

A limited liability partnership (LLP) is another type of non-profit organisation that is focused on providing services to the community. Unlike other types of non-profits, LLPs are structured as businesses rather than charities, and they generally do not receive funding from external sources. Some common activities pursued by LLPs include supporting economic growth and development in the community, providing legal services to low-income individuals, and assisting small business owners with financial planning.

To set up an LLP, you will typically need to register your organisation with the government and file certain documents with your state or national regulator. This may include

What is the difference between a charity and a non-profit business?

The difference between a charity and a non-profit organisation in the UK means that a charity is referred to as an organisation that has been legally established for charitable purposes and receives funding from external sources. In contrast, a non-profit organisation is generally set up by members of the community and does not receive any government funding.

To set up a non-profit business, you need documents as follows:

  1. Articles of Incorporation: This is a legal document that outlines the basic information about your organisation, including its name, mission, and governing structure. You will need to file these articles with your state or national regulator in order to formally establish your business.
  2. Business Plan: In order to secure funding and investment for your non-profit, you will need to develop a detailed business plan outlining your mission, strategies for achieving social impact, and financial goals for the organisation. This plan should be well-researched and include quantitative data that supports your proposed activities.
  3. Funding Sources: Securing funding is one of the most challenging aspects of establishing and running a non-profit organisation. Some potential sources of funding include grants from foundations, government programs, or individual donors. You may also need to seek investment from partners or investors in order to cover the costs associated with starting and running your business.
  4. Community Engagement: In order to be successful, it is essential to establish strong relationships within your community and build a network of supporters who can help promote your organisation's mission and activities. This may involve hosting events or workshops, collaborating with other local organisations, or leveraging social media to reach potential donors and partners. By focusing on these key steps, you can set up a successful non-profit organisation that helps to promote economic growth, legal services, and other positive community impacts.
Mohit Baheti | Debitam By Mohit Baheti |
Note: Please note that the content of the above blog and the aforementioned information are solely for the purpose of awareness and are informative in nature. The content is designed with intent to ease the understanding while preserving the essence and importance of the compliance rules and shall not be considered as an ultimate replication of the rules. Debitam does not own any responsibility whatsoever for any unpleasant event that may arise due to the misinterpretation of a specific part or whole of the information.

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