We use cookies to help us provide you with the best experience, improve and tailor our services, and carry out our marketing activities. For more information, including how to manage your cookie settings, see our privacy notice.


Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

As we prepare to move content to our new website this summer, we're temporarily turning off authentication on and To ensure members can still access everything they need, member content will be available to all users until the end of July. Please note: changes made to your profile won't be reflected in our system.

Community-made content which you can improve Case study from our community

Governing document

This page is free to all
Information on governing documents for charities, and sample documents.

Contents of a governing document

When an organisation is formally established, it adopts a governing document or set of rules. The governing document is the legal structure of the organisation. It should set out:

      • the name of the organisation
      • its purposes or ‘objects’: the statement of what the organisation is set up to do
      • its powers: how it carries out its purposes 
      • rules about membership of the organisation, if relevant
      • rules about who can be a trustee and how they are elected or appointed
      • procedures for calling general meetings (of members) and trustee board meetings
      • rules about changing the governing document or closing the organisation.

Different types of governing document

The form of your governing document will depend on the legal structure of your charity.

Type of organisation Governing document
Trust Trust deed
Charitable incorporated organisation (CIO) Constitution
Unincorporated association Constitution
Company limited by guarantee Memorandum and articles of association

Sample governing documents

Sample governing documents on the Charity Commission website

Page last edited May 19, 2022

Help us to improve this page – give us feedback.