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Managing a charity guidance

Published: 06/07/2017
Updated: 21/02/2018


Read the range of guidance on running a charity and the legal duties of charity trustees.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is forcing many charities to change how they usually operate. This guidance brings together information charities need to know during this time and highlights other organisations who may be able to offer support.

Covid-19 Guidance for Charities


This guidance explains what the law says charity trustees must do or must not do. The charity trustee duties are set out in The Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005.

Guidance and Good Practice for Charity Trustees


This Guide sets out the key points charities need to know about the 2005 Act. It is not a detailed guide to all the requirements of charity law. Throughout the Guide there are links to specific guidance on our website and details of other organisations that can give help and advice to charities. 

Being A Charity In Scotland


This guidance is aimed at anyone who is considering setting up a charity, particularly those interested in becoming a SCIO, and those existing charities which are considering changing their legal form to a SCIO.
SCIOs: A Guide PDF

Comprehensive guidance on the charity test. To be a Scottish charity or a charity registered in Scotland your organisation must pass the charity test. 

Meeting the charity test guidance

Easy Read is a method of presenting written information to make it easier to understand for people with difficulty reading. Typically, Easy Read uses sentences that should be no more than ten to fifteen words, and each sentence should have just one idea and one verb. Active sentences are used instead of passive sentences. Easy read is closely edited, to express ideas in a small number of simple words. Any difficult word or idea is explained in a separate sentence. It also uses specific imagery to complement the text.

This Guide is for anyone who would benefit from Easy Read and who is a trustee of a charity in Scotland. Charity trustees are sometimes called Board Members, Directors or Committee Members. A charity trustee is anyone who controls and manages a charity.

An Easy Read Guide to being a Charity Trustee

We are no longer asking charities to use our Notifiable Events process to inform us when something serious has happened or is happening to the charity.

Read more about the end of the Notifiable Events process.

This guidance explains what is meant by safeguarding and highlights key steps charity trustees can take to make sure that it is considered in an appropriate way.  

Safeguarding Guidance: Keeping vulnerable beneficiaries safe

This guidance is aimed at charity trustees of cross-border charities and people working with or advising charity trustees.

Cross-border charity regulation in Scotland

In this Guide we look at the main ways a charity can trade and what charity trustees need to consider in terms of the charity test and charity trustee duties as set out in the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005.

Charities and Trading Guide

Understanding the risk of fraud in your charity and how to reduce it.

Fraud: how to reduce the risks in your charity



This guidance outlines the position under Scottish charity law for Social Enterprises thinking about becoming a charity and is based on our experience of applications from organisations who class themselves as Social Enterprises.
Social Enterprise FAQs


This guide sets out the key points grant giving charities need to consider to make sure they comply with the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 (the 2005 Act).

A Brief Guide To Grant Giving


Checklist for Charity Trustees – protecting charitable status sets out some of the key areas charity trustees should keep in mind to ensure in particular that their charity continues to meet the requirements of the charity test.

Checklist for Charity Trustees - Protecting Charitable Status PDF

This guidance sets out the key points charities and applicants to become a charity need to know about the rules around charity names, including the rules under charity law and company law - which apply to companies and Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisations (SCIOs).

Charity Names Guidance

Find out more about the rules around political campaigning for charities in Scotland.

Charities and campaigning on political issues guidance


This guidance is aimed at small and medium charities with paid employees. It is designed to improve awareness among charity trustees of their legal responsibilities in relation to auto-enrolment.

Charities and Auto-Enrolment


When it is unclear who is in charge of a charity, serious governance problems can develop and harm the charity. This guidance explains why clarity about who is in charge of a charity is crucial. You might also find this video useful: The role of the charity trustee.

Who's In Charge Guidance PDF


This guidance is a starting point to help those running charities understand what to consider when they are assessing if their charity is meeting equality law requirements.

Charities and the Equality Act 2010 PDF


This guide outlines 6 steps to successful charity trustee recruitment. Having a diverse board can help to make your charity more effective. The right mix of skills and experience will boost your charity’s ability to meet its aims.

Taking Steps To Successful Trustee Recruitment


Guidance from the British Banking Association, Banking for charities,  provides charity trustees with information on banking including choosing and opening the right bank account, understanding banking charges and fees.

Banking For Charities


This briefing note sets out the answers to some of the questions we are asked about the Scottish Governments Water Charges and Sewerage Exemption scheme for charities.

Scottish Government Water Charges and Sewerage Exemption Scheme PDF


Guidance to assist elected members in understanding the role of a charity trustee and the associated duties and responsibilities.

Checklist for Elected Members PDF


The guides take you through the basics of a social media strategy.

Ready, Set, Go! - Social Media Fundamentals PDF


This factsheet is split into sections that explain steps that charities can take to protect themselves and what to do if your charity has been the victim of cybercrime.


Cybercrime Factsheet