Our charities team understands the complex dynamics of running and maintaining a charity. To that end, our service is tailored to meet your individual requirements, particularly as regards costs and expenses.
We are deeply committed to your sector. We run a free Charity Forum, plus many of our team are trustees of charities or school governors and are familiar with the governance issues and pressures that the sector faces. Our extensive network of contacts enables us to offer a holistic approach to the operation of a charity or not for profit organisation. We also offer training sessions for charities on various topics from governance to funding.
Governance & Structures
Effective governance and structures are crucial in the success of your charity; they need to be modern, agile, compliant and limit risk and liabilities. We understand the complexities and difficulties in developing high standards of governance; everything needs to work together so that your charity can fulfil its vision.
Our experts can advise using their extensive experience and networks, on:
- Purpose: are your aims being delivered effectively?
- Leadership and integrity: do the board and trustees have a clear sense of strategy?
- Openness and communication: do you have genuine, open communication processes when you succeed and when you fail?
- Decision making, risk and control: how effective are your management systems?
- Board effectiveness and diversity: are there an appropriate balance of skills, experiences and backgrounds to allow for effective decision making?
Useful link: Charity Governance Code
Fundraising, grants & contracts
The financial security of your charity needs solid legal underpinning and there is a careful balance to be had between mission and values, and commercial necessities. We help you comply and protect yourselves commercially. In uncertain circumstances, or if your charity is thriving, all of your fundraising and income streams need robust protections in place.
Our charity law experts work with you and can advise on a range of complex issues:
- Working with financial advisors to comply with tax regulations.
- Setting up charity trading subsidiaries.
- Commercial relationships and corporate partnerships .
- Grants and government funding.
Mergers & Collaboration
Successful mergers are commercially sound; they will allow you to expand your services, motivate your team and volunteers and be in line with your vision and values. But how do you even know if a merger is right for you? Merging with another charity is a complex decision and is not one that should be taken lightly.
Whether you want to explore a partnership with a similar organisation, our experience and networks mean you really understand the process; we can advise on:
- the process of merging from start to finish;
- strategic planning and aligning of values;
- risk assessments;
- acquiring work or assets;
- forming a new charity;
- managing a new, separate entity;
- any limitations of a merger or collaboration;
- employment issues such as TUPE and staff; and
- communication policies and procedures.
Property expansion, development or sale require expert advice. With specialist expertise, particularly with village halls and community centres, we have teams across the firm to help you with:
- selling or leasing your charity property;
- applying for and securing planning permission;
- change of use;
- mortgages and loans against your charity’s property;
- land and titles;
- getting commission approval should you need it;
- providing correct statements and certificates in sale processes; and
- communication procedures for boards and trustees
Data protection & GDPR
Running a charity that is truly innovative in its marketing, fundraising and communications to supporters and beneficiaries means that you need adequate, robust data protection policies. When you’re doing 100 things at once, policies like GDPR and data protection can get overlooked.
Our compliance experts have the knowledge to help you whether you’re starting out, enhancing your data, or when things go wrong. It’s all about continuous improvement to make sure you’re protected and not at risk of a data breach.
How we work with you
Whilst based in the South of England, Paris Smith acts for businesses and families throughout the UK. Technology has enabled us to provide a high level of service to our clients whether they are local to our offices or not. Our advice can be given in many ways:
- Over the telephone
- Via video conferencing
- In face to face meetings
We will talk through how you would like to be contacted and the best ways for us to meet in our early conversations with you.
Meet the Team
Our Charities team is made up of 1 consultant, 12 partners, 2 associates and 1 trainee solicitor. You can find contact details for them below.
How we’ve helped our clients
“I would like to say how well we have been served by Paris Smith in our incorporation process. You have all been extremely helpful and have given timely and wise advice throughout. It is a relief to have it all finished now. Our former trustees are especially pleased to have shed their responsibilities for the club. So very many thanks to all of you for helping us through the process so effectively. ”
Tom Bembridge – Hockley Golf Club
“Peter and Helen have advised us through a complex legal claim. We have always found them to be very approachable, with very relevant and supportive advice. I would not hesitate to recommend them.”
Andrew Ryde, Chief Executive
“Thank you so much for your support, advice and guidance delivered promptly and efficiently with patience and good humour which was very much appreciated.”
Jo Ash, Chief Executive – Southampton Voluntary Services
Southampton Voluntary Services
“Paris Smith has helped us with regard to the protection and exploitation of our intellectual property along with giving us a lot of help and advice in becoming GDPR compliant. We were really happy with the service we received and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to anyone.”
Karen Read, Director – Wetwheels Solent
Legal 500 – 2023 Edition
Paris Smith LLP’s charities and education practice is led by senior partner Nick Vaughan, who has more than 25 years’ experience in the sector. He advises charities clients on a wide range of issues, but has particular expertise with regards to property matters. The Southampton-led team also includes practitioners who focus on intellectual property, commercial and employment.
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