Difference between revisions of "Homelessness Through a Lens"

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Click the link for a copy of the governing document.
Click the link for a copy of the governing document.
[[Milestone_3_Deliverable1.pdf|Governing Document for Homelessness Through a Lens]]
[[File:Milestone_3_Deliverable1.pdf|Governing Document for Homelessness Through a Lens]]

Revision as of 20:05, 22 June 2017

Homelessness Through a Lens

by Grant Zahorsky

Homelessness Through a Lens
Milestone Image
Searching, photo by Grant Zahorsky


This article will analyze the process of creating and managing a charity in the United Kingdom. It will cover the different types of charities, tax benefits, etc.. The culmination of this project will be the foundation of a charity that I would start in the UK, including a mission statement, governing document, and all other requirements that are needed when creating a charity. Prior to this project, I had helped with homeless organizations but done little research into what it takes to make one. I have also been a freelance photographer professionally for multiple years. This article has background information on how to create and manage a charity, examining homelessness charities and organizations that have to do with art and their structures, and culminates in an example of a governing document for a UK version of a charity that I plan on creating back in America. If I were to create this charity in Britain, this document would serve as sufficient documentation to register the charity.


According to the Charity Commission for England and Wales, since the year 2000, the number of charities in the United Kingdom has gone up by 7,264. In 2013 alone, more that 6,000 charities were registered. [1]This means that more and more businesses and people have been taking action and taking the steps needed to do good for Britain and for the world. The Charity Commission answers directly to the UK Parliament rather than through Government ministers. Because of this, the Charity Commission is considered a non-minstrel department that regulates the registered charities in England and Wales while maintaining the Central Register of Charities which provides all of the information from each and every charity that exists in the UK. This article will provide insight on what goes into creating a charity, how a charity is run, and different organizations that seek to help the homeless and raise awareness of homelessness. This project will culminate in a governing document that will serve as an example of the sufficient documentation needed to register for a charity.

Section 1: Background

Step 1: Finding Trustees

Finding excellent trustees is one of the most important parts of creating a charity because they are the people who will run and manage the charity. Trustees serve as the governing body and can create a balanced and effective charity. For these reasons, the selection, recruitment, and induction of trustees can make or break a charity, but they are not the only processes that need to be made when creating such an organization. Before the search for trustees begins, a governing document must be created that outlines the rules and obligations of the trustees. These include how many trustees can be on the board, how they can be appointed, and how long they can stay in office. The other contents of such a document will be defined later in this article. After the document is created, the search for skilled and committed trustees can begin. The board of trustees should be diverse, as they play a pivotal role in the management and creation of a charity. A diverse board allows for a wide range of skills that will culminate in smarter decisions, knowledge, and experience. According to section 3.3 of the CC30 (the Charity Commission’s process of finding trustees for a charity) their goal is to reach “parts of the community which have traditionally not played a large part in charities, such as young people, people from minority and ethnic communities and people with disabilities.” [2] In addition to the rules and regulations of the governing document, a charity must comply with the legislation laid out by the British Government. For example, the Equality Act of 2010 states that discrimination of any kind must be eliminated. This allows for an equal opportunity for anyone that wishes to become appointed as a trustee of any charity and provides a fair, yet diverse, board of trustees.

Step 2: Charitable Purposes

To create a charity, one must first decide what the purpose will be and if it is truly beneficial to society. Once the purpose is defined, the charity must legally be managed in a way that is consistent with the purpose. This purpose, or goal the charity sets out to achieve, must be philanthropic, but the charity can have multiple purposes. The commission uses the charity’s purposes to decide if it can be considered and registered as a charity. They also help Revenue and Customs decide if the charity is qualified for tax relief. When outlining the purposes for the governing document, the organization must state what the outcomes are, where the outcomes will take place, how it will achieve its goals, and who will benefit from the outcomes. These outcomes help trustees, those running the charity, those supporting the charity, and those benefiting from the charity understand who and what is benefiting the society.

Step 3: Choosing a Structure

Once the goals and missions of the charity are determined, an organizational structure must then be selected and followed. There are four different types of charitable structures: charitable company limited by guarantee, charitable incorporated organization (CIO), charitable trust, unincorporated charitable association. A charitable company is perhaps the most known structure. Trustees in a charitable company have little to no liability to the charity for its debts or liabilities. This allows the board of trustees to run the charity more easily and at less risk. It is also required to register with the Companies House as a charitable company. A CIO is designed for charities and is created by registering with the Charity Commission. Similarly to a charitable company, trustees of a CIO have little to no liability to the CIO’s debts or liabilities. Contrastingly, they are not required to register with the Companies House because it is not technically a “company”. Trustees are able to manage different assets like money, investments, and buildings through a charitable trust. An unincorporated charitable association cannot employ staff or own buildings and are run by volunteers. [3]

Step 4: Name and Branding

The name is one of the most important parts of a charity. Not only does it represent the charity, but it represents the brand and creates an image for the charity. It is what people will remember when donating or looking to volunteer. When choosing a name, it is vital that it is not similar in any way to another charity. As of December 31, 2016, there were 167,109 charities registered in the Charity Commission’s register so finding a unique name is no easy task, yet it is one of the most important in creating a charity. [4] Trustees are the ones responsible for choosing the best name possible for a charity and if the name is misleading, the commission will order the trustees to change it.

Step 5: Governing Document

This document will act as the rulebook and proposal for the newly created charity. It will define the charity’s purpose (objects), who runs it and how it’s managed (powers), how trustees are appointed, rules about trustees’ expenses, rules about payments to trustees, whether trustees can change the document and purposes (amendment provisions), and how the charity will be dissolved if needed (dissolution provisions). Each trustee is required to own a copy of the governing document so that he or she can review it at any time. When writing the document, it is important to not that the document may vary depending on which structure is chosen. [5] Because the structures are handed different legally, different documentation must be done to accommodate. For example, when creating a document for a CIO, there are two different constitution types: foundation and association. If only members of the CIO can be trustees, a foundation constitution must be written. If the CIO has a wider membership, an association constitution is written. Smaller charities require less documentation as they are not necessarily required to register with the Companies House or Charity Commission and maybe be run by volunteers. An example of a governing document for a smaller charity can be viewed as part of the deliverable for this project.

Step 6: Registration

If the charity’s income is less than £5,000 per year or it is considered a CIO, it must be registered to the Charity Commission. It also must be registered if it is located in England or Wales as the rules are different for Northern Ireland and Scotland. Although the creation and registration processes are similar in Northern Ireland and Scotland as they are in England and Wales, they are not the same and require different documentation and different criteria. [6] When registering as a charity, information on trustees, such as birth dates, names, and contact details, are required. The charity’s name, bank or building society’s details, most recent accounts, contact details, and a copy of the governing document are also required.

Homeless Charities and Organizations in Britain

Homelessness in the United Kingdom is on the rise and every day, more and more charities are being created to attempt to slow and prevent the issue from growing any further. One company, called Shelter, is doing just that in a preventative way. They focus on helping all of those in need, regardless of color, class, or creed. In 2014 alone, 85,315 people joined their campaigns and fundraising and in just 2016, they helped over 5 million people. [7] Shelter is managed as a charitable incorporated organization so that it can conduct its own business, have a good legal personality, and in the event of financial loss, the trustees will not be affected if they choose not to be. By registering with the Charity Commission in this fashion, they have more flexibility in what they can do to help people. This flexibility helps Shelter reach out to as many as they can, while providing as much as they can to current accommodations, shelters, and people in need. In fact, 79% of the donations given to Shelter go back to the community in helping those in need. [8] Charities with this structure tend to do well financially and publicly because they have the freedom to do what it takes to help others and they have the support of the government and the Charity Commission. Other charities in the UK that do well with this structure are Crisis and Streets of London. Crisis focuses on those who are already homeless and strive to keep them out of homelessness for good. This is done through education, training, and support with housing, employment, and health. One of their main goals is finding homes that currently homeless people can rent by working with landlords to keep an open supply of homes while educating homeless people on renting and keeping homes. Another charity with this model, called Streets of London, provides specialist support for those who are homeless as well as raise awareness of homelessness to as many people as they can. They do this through live events such as concerts, which provide an interactive environment for all who attend. Artists such as Ellie Goulding, Bastille's Dan Smith and The Vaccines' Justin Young are ambassadors for the charity and strive to raise awareness of homelessness and the charity.

Section 2: Deliverable

The Charity

Homelessness Through a Lens is a project that aims to create awareness for the homeless and those in need through a series of photographical projects. One such project, entitled Rough Sleeping, by me, can be viewed here. For my deliverable, I chose to create an official governing document that is designed for a small charity that intakes less that £5,000 per year. In the document information on the name, purposes, trustees, outcomes, procedures, memberships, rules on the annual general meeting, trustee meetings, money and property, general meetings, and setting up the charity are covered. I chose the name "Homelessness Through a Lens" because I believe that it accurately describes the charity in its fullest. The citizens of London, including photographers, look at and photograph almost everything but the homeless because they are perceived as invisible. In choosing the name and purpose for this charity, I wanted to relate the name to the charity's purposes: to create awareness for the homeless and shed their lives in a new light, not done previously by other photographers. Thus, the name "Homelessness Through a Lens" was chosen. The trustees of this charity are to be appointed at each year's annual general meeting (AGM). In order to carry out the charitable purposes, the trustees have the power to raise funds, receive grants and donations, apply funds to carry out the work of the charity, co-operate with and support other charities with similar purposes, and do anything which is lawful and necessary to achieve the purposes. Membership to the charity is open to anyone aged 18 years or older. Those wishing to join must apply to the trustees, and once accepted, will be considered for 3 years, until the membership period is over and must be renewed. The AGM is held every year with 14 days notice given to each member and trustee and there must be a majority of the membership at the meeting. The trustees will present the annual report and accounts. After the presentation of accounts, an election will be held for trustees. Every member is eligible for election and each member has one vote. The charity must elect 3-10 trustees to serve on the board for the following year. The board of trustees must have at least 3 meetings every year, the first at which they will elect a chair, treasurer and secretary. All of the rules, as covered in the governing document, must be followed and obeyed so that the charity can run as efficiently and smoothly as possible so that the purposes can be upheld.

The Governing Document

Click the link for a copy of the governing document. File:Milestone 3 Deliverable1.pdf


When I had begun this project, I knew that I wanted to do something to help those in need. The only problem was that I didn't know how to accomplish this. Researching the requirements and processes for creating a charity in the UK, England and Wales specifically, was interesting and provided me with insight that I previously had not had. This research allowed me to have much more appreciation for the currently registered charities that are doing well and succeeding in helping the homeless. Shelter, Crisis, and Streets of London are 3 charities that have made their mark on the society of the UK and successfully helped people across Britain get out of homelessness for good. Providing support financially is not the only success they have had either. A lot of work has been done to help educate the homeless as well. This work has helped get people off of the streets and in homes, accommodations, and shelters. All of this progress means that there are people willing to help and actually help. Since the year 2000, the number of charities in the United Kingdom has gone up by 7,264. In 2013 alone, more that 6,000 charities were registered. This article provided insight on what goes into creating a charity, how a charity is run, and different organizations that seek to help the homeless and raise awareness of homelessness and culminated in the documentation needed to create a charity. One avenue of research that was not investigated much is BLNK which could be the subject for further research material for others wishing to learn more.


  1. Charity register statistics for previous years: Charity Commission. (n.d.). Retrieved June 21, 2017, from
  2. Finding new trustees. (n.d.). Retrieved June 19, 2017, from
  3. Set up a charity. (n.d.). Retrieved June 21, 2017, from
  4. Recent charity register statistics: Charity Commission. (n.d.). Retrieved June 21, 2017, from
  5. Setting up a charity: model governing documents. (n.d.). Retrieved June 21, 2017, from
  6. Set up a charity. (n.d.). Retrieved June 21, 2017, from
  7. Our work. (n.d.). Retrieved June 22, 2017, from
  8. Our work. (n.d.). Retrieved June 22, 2017, from