The cost of living crisis will affect every charity – whatever their size or cause. If you need support or guidance, we're here to help. Find out more
Use this page to understand what a charity’s governing document is and what it should include.
Your governing document sets out your charitable purposes and how they should be managed and run.
A charity’s ‘purposes’ are what it's set up to achieve. Your charitable purposes should:
Charities are legally required to follow what is set out in their governing document. This includes making sure that:
Find out more about charitable purposes.
Your governing document should include all the information you need to run your charity, such as:
The name of your governing document and the titles of the trustees are different depending on the legal structure of your charity.
For example, the legal structure of an unincorporated association has a constitution (governing document) and management committee members (title of the trustees).
For each charity legal structure, the table below links to the governing document template on the Charity Commission’s website.
Become a member
Last reviewed: 03 June 2021Help us improve this content
How NCVO's independent governance review is helping us live up to our values and the Charity Governance Code we helped create
Today we publish our annual report and financial accounts for the year ending 31 March 2022.
NCVO’s lead governance consultant Dan Francis shares our plans for Trustees’ Week and explores our wider support offer for trustees
The rules on the automatic disqualification of trustees and senior managers.
Learn what's included on trustee disqualification in the Charities Act 2016.
What the board, trustees and senior manages can do in the event of trustee disqualification.
Get regular updates on NCVO's help, support and services