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your thoughts on choosing to create a not for profit, charity or some type of social entity?


i am presently looking at which form of structure to use for the project i am creating and am unclear on which is more appropriate, out of a charity, not-for-profit, a social enterprise, a regular company or another form.

i have looked at the structures at an overview level and as far as i am aware, they all have some benefits that suit me and some that would be limitations. (generally i sense all these type of structures to be a form of imposed, rigid control and am aware that generally the designers of these systems do not appreciate or value that the form needs to evolve to fit the individuals involved and not the other way around).

so that said, i would like to think that with so many involved in the evolving of these forms that at least one of them would be appropriate for me.. i am wondering if anyone here can provide evidence/advice that will assist me in choosing.

essentially i am creating a creative, energetic movement of inspired compassion, that includes intent to heal and balance. commonly we are pushed to define such activity in closed and rigid ways that limit the potential, yet i am doing the opposite, in that i am keeping the definitions here wide open and thus can include any type of activity (or potential service/trading) within the scope of the movement, provided there is alignment with the intentions of creating planetary and individual balance - along with associated healing on any and all levels.

for reference: 'balance' is defined as 'no aspect is overpowering any other aspect'.

as an example, i have created an online social network, similar in many ways to socialbusinessworld.org, where the focus is on balance and healing. i have much direct experience of software engineering/architecture and so have been able to create the network using very little 'money' (just many hours of my own time). this social network is intended to be a hub for the other activities that occur within the main project/entity.

i also intend to create media items myself, such as books and other forms of media.

initially i would like to fundraise by creating/selling t-shirts and other items (possibly using crowdfunding). initially, i need to use the proceeds from that to pay myself for use in simple activities like buying food, since i have been totally unpaid for several years.

while the objective of the entity here is not specifically to trade or to create revenue - that potential does exist.

i have thought about creating a charity, though i am unclear presently on what the exact requirements of a charity are here (in the area commonly known as england) - since most webpages i have seen are quite vague and include statements such as: "the requirement for a charity is that the activities are charitable and that the entity is controlled by the high court". i am not clear on what 'controlled by the high court' equates to, but based on experience and observation of the hierarchies of this planet, being under the control of ANY of them is not commonly a beneficial or desirable situation.

 so from all this, i am clear on:

  • i need to be able to pay myself as a first priority in the short term (although that is in no way the main priority of the entity i am creating).
  • the alignment of the entity is for social aims, rather than personal gain.
  • the activity of the entity should be classable as a charity, though in practise that may not be possible to achieve here - due to the definitions in use by the government agencies.
  • there is only me, an individual, involved in this presently, thus i cannot create a 'board' or 'steering committee' - which appears to be a requirement of some of the entity types.

so i am wondering if i even could create any of these 'uncommon' legal entities, and might be forced to initially create a limited company.

does anyone know of a great site or have great tips that can assist me here?

i used the decision making tool at http://getlegal.org.uk/ and the conclusion was along the lines of "oh, that's unusual.. you should speak to a business lawyer".

so.. erm.. well, i don't have any cash to 'hire a lawyer' and my research into the 'legalities' of this part of the planet have shown me that a high percentage of the 'lawyers' are highly ignorant of the full truth that underpins the justice approach here. my previous experiences of 'business advisers' have also been deeply poor. actually i encountered the definition that hiring a lawyer to represent you is akin to placing yourself in the same category as someone in a mental hospital who is identified as having 'diminished responsibility'. some food for your thoughts there at least. ;)


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