Name your charity

Your charity name must not:

  • be similar to the name of an existing charity (unless you can prove you need to use it)
  • use words you don’t have permission to use, for example a trade mark
  • use offensive words or acronyms
  • be misleading, for example suggest your charity does something it doesn’t

Search the charities register to check the names of registered charities. Unregistered charities won’t appear in the register.

Additional names

You can use:

  • abbreviations, for example National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children is known as NSPCC
  • alternative names, for example Comic Relief is a working name for Charity Projects

You must list any alternative or working names your charity uses when you apply to register.

Non-English names

You must include a translation of any non-English words in your charity’s name when you register.

Using ‘charity’ in a name

You can use the words ‘charity’, ‘charities’ or ‘charitable’ in your charity’s name but you need approval from the Charity Commission if you use them when you register a company name with Companies House.

  1. Step 1 Check if setting up a charity is right for you

  2. and Check you're eligible

  3. Step 2 Find trustees

    Trustees are responsible for the operation of your charity. They must show they understand their legal requirements.

    1. Check who's eligible to be a trustee and what skills they need to have
    2. Find and appoint trustees
    3. Read about your trustees' legal responsibilities
  4. Step 3 Find out how to choose a charity structure

  5. and Choose a name for your charity

    There are rules on what words you can use in your name.

    1. You are currently viewing: Check what you can call your charity

    You cannot register a name that's the same as or similar to another charity.

    1. Check the names of registered charities
  6. and Decide and write your charity's purposes

    Your ‘purposes’ describe what your charity is set up to achieve.

    1. Find out how to write your charity's purposes
  7. Step 4 Create a governing document

    The governing document is a set of rules that explains how your charity is run. It needs to include your charity's structure, name and purposes.

    1. Find out how to write your governing document
  8. Step 5 Make sure you meet the 'public benefit requirement'

    Your organisation must be able to show that it benefits the public.

    1. Check how your organisation must benefit the public
  9. Step 6 Register your charity

    You must apply to register your charity with the Charity Commission if either:

    • its income will be at least £5,000 per year
    • it’s a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO)
    1. Register with the Charity Commission

    You can register your charity’s details with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to get tax back on things like Gift Aid donations.

    1. Register with HMRC