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Do you have to be a charity to do good work and support veterans?

The reality is that there are many out there that seek to support veterans for a varied range of reasons, these may be:

  • Their family has served and not returned

  • Their friends have served and not returned

  • Their family has a link to the Armed Forces

  • Individuals have seen the many charitable overviews of individuals in distress and want to support

  • Many see the difficulties in their local area that has a high percentage of veterans and want to make a difference

  • Some may have served and been injured and want to make a change to those less fortunate

The negative reasons for supporting veterans:

  • Many see the sector as a bit of a cash cow, brining in £863M per annum and want a piece of the pie

Many within the sector are civilians but many also are former service personnel.

Many believe you have to be a charity to do good work? is this the case?

Well I want to break down the purpose of organisations and the belief that you have to be a charity to support veterans.

The answer is you don't!

You don't have to be a charity, as long as the reason you're doing what you do is for the right reasons.

I am not a legal professional, but I have carried out significant research before developing ExFor+ as a C.I.C. (Community Interest Company)


A charity is an organisation that has been recognised by the Charities Commission as Charitable, this means that they have a legal organisation structure where individuals are known as trustees, directors and Chair, they are receiving income from donations or other activities such as fund-raising once it is more than £5,000 per annum they are eligible to register with the commission. Below those at the top tier is the staff of the charities that are tasked with delivering on their charitable objectives.

Q: What are charitable objectives and why are they so important?


Charitable objectives exist because a charity has to be set up for a purpose and this purpose can be limiting or expansive but those who fall within the charitable objectives are called beneficiaries. Beneficiaries are individuals who receive benefit from the charity.

Q: Why have beneficiaries?

A: Beneficiaries are individuals entitled to a specific charities support, Charities limit it only to those that the charity supports.

Q: Can everyone receive help and support from a charity?

A: No

Q: Why Not?

A: (Charitable Exception) The charitable exception means that the charity that is set up for specific objectives can only support those who are known as beneficiaries meaning that some may not be eligible for support.

Q: So Why Charities?

A: Good Question, firstly Charities offer a good feeling to those who provide donations. (The Feel Good Factor) secondly Charities offer Tax benefits to Individuals who donate and have Tax benefits for the donations, this is great but what does it actually mean?

Q: Are Charities the best way to support a cause

A: Not always

Q: Why Not?

A: Charities often become big machines, meaning that they have significant administrative structures directed at; fundraising, beneficiary support, raising awareness of the cause, Grant making etc to be able to provide the support to their beneficiaries, and these staff can be sourced from anywhere and not be beneficiaries, because if a charity solely employed a specific cohort for staff, they would most likely be working against their objectives. This means that the money donated doesn't get to the frontline, which is the purpose for the donations in the first place. The donations are often utilised by charities to maintain the administrative workers in the background and charities often utilise those who provide support are known as volunteers.

Q: Is this right?

A: Depends on what you want you money to go on?

LTD by shares:

Are widely recognised as the for profit making organisations however their are some that work for the benefit of the community through being social enterprises however the end goal is to turn a profit.

LTD by Guarantee:

Many Charities adopt this legal frame work before becoming recognised by the charities commission, reason for this is that they want to most likely become a charity or they want to create benefit to their local area on a not for profit basis.

Q: Does Not For Profit Mean not paying wages?

A: No

Q: Does being a charity mean not paying wages?

A: No but they do have a number of roles that are not paid for example Trustees.

Community Interest Company:

Q: What is a Community Interest Company?

A: Well the legal structure of a (Community Interest Company) is a not for profit often established as a LTD by guarantee, I have been asked in the past what a C.I.C. is and what can it deliver? I have had comments like a community is small/local and that as a company you must be for profit. This is not the case a C.I.C. is based on that of a Not for Profit and has what is known as an asset lock which means any monies left over from winding down have to go to a similar charity with similar objectives.

Q: What is the community?

A: The definition of community is one that can be small we live in a local community, but it can also be very large, We live in a world wide community. There are many C.I.C's that are National and International in scale.

Q: As a Company what happens to generated income?

A: The income generated from business or company related activities is known in the not for profit world as a surplus, what does that mean, charities do not create an income from donations, they generate a surplus it is a different term for what would be in the for profit sector would be called income or profit. But in a Not for Profit sector is is know as surplus. In the NFP sector and in the CIC having a community focus any income generation is utilised for the benefit of the community, With ExFor+ our direction is to support veterans and their communities.

Q: OK so what is the benefit of a C.I.C.?

A: The benefit to ExFor+ being a C.I.C. is that we can employ Veterans as we do not have a charitable exception, meaning that if we receive donations or support funding, it can be wholly utilised for the support of a veteran and maintain them within employment.

If we have an administrative structure it will be staffed by veterans, not civilian staff which means again that all support funding goes directly to the veteran community.

In supporting ExFor+ C.I.C. with donations or support funding you enable veterans to utilise their skills and experiences to support the communities, generating a surplus to support the communities in which they live.

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