Setting up a charity or a not-for-profit (NFP) organisation is an exciting step to take! But of course, like any other business, you need to consider how this will all work. What documents do you need? How will you be fundraising? How will you obtain the right resources?

One of the most important things you should think about is your Charity Constitution. This governing document sets out the rights and duties of members and other key details. 

Essentially, your Constitution needs to be compliant with certain requirements around NFPs in Australia. 

How Do You Write A Charity Constitution?

When it comes down to writing a Charity Constitution, the terms will depend on the nature of your charity. For example, a standard Charity Constitution should contain:

  • Your charitable purpose
  • A statement that you are operating on a not-for-profit basis
  • The rights and duties of members

These are all terms that could vary between different NFP organisations. So, it’s a good idea to chat with a lawyer who can make sure that your Charity Constitution is tailored to your business’ purpose, and that you are compliant with the relevant bodies. 

Do I Need A Charter Or A Constitution?

Each charity needs to have a governing document that sets out how things will be run. This governing document may be called different names depending on your charity structure. 

For example, if you’re a cooperative, this governing document will be known as your charity constitution. However, if you’re a charity that was set up in some other way (for example, through an Act of Parliament), it would be referred to as a Charter. 

Who Should Have Access To My Charity Constitution?

Usually, you’d have to give a copy of your constitution to the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission (ACNC) before you even apply to become a charity. Once you’ve given them a copy, they can decide whether you’re eligible for registration. 

If you are eligible, then your constitution should be visible on the public Charity Register

You do have the option of requesting that your constitution is not made public on the register, but you’d have to satisfy certain requirements. For example, you can only make this request if publishing your constitution would endanger public safety. 

Where Can I Get A Charity Constitution?

Having the right constitution drafted for your business is essential to ensuring a smooth business journey. So, it’s always a good idea to get quality legal help for your documents prior to registration. 

Sprintlaw offers a Not-For-Profit Constitution package to help you hit the ground running. It includes:

  • Drafting a constitution for your NFP organisation
  • Phone consultations with a Sprintlaw lawyer who can answer your legal questions 
  • Ensuring that your constitution includes your objectives and confirm its NFP status

Next Steps

Are you currently in the process of registering or setting up a not-for-profit organisation? Sprintlaw has a team of lawyers who can guide you through the process, and draft a constitution that is both suited to your organisation and compliant with the ACNC’s requirements. 

If you would like a consultation on your options going forward, you can reach us at 1800 730 617 or team@sprintlaw.com.au for a free, no-obligations chat.

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