Top tips for developing an organisational structure

By Seb Glazer, Managing Director and Boxing Coach at Vulcan Boxing Club

Vulcan Boxing Club is based in Hull. Over the last couple of years, the club has spent a significant amount of time developing their structure and governance in order to enhance their facilities and develop their services.

 

Initially Vulcan Boxing Club became a Community Interest Company, but it became apparent that this was not the most suitable vehicle to build upon the club’s success. Whilst they could deliver on their community objectives, they were unable to benefit from the financial incentives and efficiencies of being a charity, such as gift aid and Business Rate relief, as well as the recognition and endorsement that charity status provides.  The club subsequently changed its status to become a Charitable Incorporated organisation.

 

Having learned from their mistakes Seb Glazer, Managing Director and Boxing Coach at Vulcan Boxing Club, shares some of his tips on developing a suitable organisational structure.

 

Always ask other like-minded organisations in the area to find out what structure they chose and why they chose it

You will find a lot of people have been through the same process and have encountered the same problems you have. They may be able to talk you through some of the pitfalls and help you to understand why you should adopt a particular legal structure (i.e. Business Rate relief / ability to acquire grant funding / Gift Aid).

 

If you have the funding available, get some professional help creating the structure

Reputable accountants/solicitors with experience in that field may do the job a lot more efficiently than you and ensure your project has solid foundations (which can prevent problems from occurring further down the line). This can mean an initial outlay, but it will result in your organisation being established in a timely fashion. It is also important that you ask other trusted organisations to recommend professionals too (the cheapest is not always the best!).

 

Try to seek advice from your sport’s governing body

Most sports have regional development officers who can help signpost you in the right direction. Whilst they may not be able to advise you what your organisational structure should look like (they may not be willing to do this for legal reasons!), they will know a lot of organisations who have been through a similar process successfully.

 

Discuss the organisation’s proposed aims between yourselves (other volunteers, employees and members)

It is important to understand from the start what you are seeking to achieve. Whilst your aims may change in time (and it is hard to predict the future), you should be able to identify the structure that suits you the most (standalone company limited by guarantee, CIC / CIO / Charity or even share vehicles if community purchase is an option).

 

It may sound obvious but TAKE YOUR TIME!!!

Rushing to get an organisation established can create a lot of problems down the line (when it comes to acquiring grant funding/paying tax etc). Potential issues with a particular structure may not be immediately apparent either- so it is worth exploring all options first.

 

Finally…

Do not be intimidated by the wide range of advice and guidance out there. It can be daunting when trying to set up an organisation, especially if you have no experience whatsoever. Take your time, ask a range of people and look on the government website; www.gov.uk. You will find a lot of people willing to help as they have been through the same process and are keen to share their experiences. There are also often short courses run by local Community and Voluntary Services, designed to assist those wanting to establish organisations. Ask questions, write a plan, talk to friends/other groups and seek help if it’s all too much…. GOOD LUCK!!

 

For more information about Vulcan Boxing Club, please visit:

Website: http://www.vulcancentre.co.uk/vulcan-boxing-club.html