Step by step guide to setting up a new voluntary group
So you have found a ‘gap in the market’ which you can see how to fill. You need a voluntary group to do this.
First find your committee! Many good ideas fail because not enough adult volunteers can be found to make the organisation legal. By law you need people over 18 if financial decisions need to be taken, although that does not stop younger people getting involved with the committee work.
When you have enough people available (at least 3 who will be the officers, plus some more to help get things moving), you will need some rules to work by. VANL Development Workers can help you write your constitution (set of rules).
You will need to call a General Meeting of interested people to approve the constitution. These people will be the members of the organisation, and they can elect the first committee at this meeting too.
One of the first acts of the committee will be to open a bank account in the name of the organisation. This should have three signatories, none of whom should be related. You will need your constitution and minutes of the General Meeting to do this. Money must not be kept in a personal account, as this is open to allegations of fraud.
Most groups will also need a policy or two (see below).
And now you’re ready to go!
How VANL can help with the policies you need
- Equality policy – best practice, and demanded by most funders. The Equality Policy details the rules under which your organisation will work to avoid discrimination in any form.
- Child Protection Policy – Absolutely essential if your organisation has any contact with children. It is very important that trustees, staff and volunteers understand this policy well.
- Protection of Vulnerable Adults Policy – Essential for any organisation which may come into contact with vulnerable adults, e.g. people with learning difficulties, severe health problems, advanced age.
- Health & Safety Policy - everybody is responsible for health and safety, and a voluntary organisation is not exempt.
- ICT Policy – information and communications technology (i.e. computers, phones, etc.) – this policy is required if your staff or volunteers will be using technology.
- Complaints Policy – a good idea if your organisation provides a service to the public.
- Lone Working Policy – required if your staff or volunteers may work alone.
VANL Development Workers can also advise on writing other policies for your organisational needs.
A Development Worker will support your organisation to develop the policies you require. It is sensible to arrange a meeting at which staff, volunteers and trustees can all learn about how to work with their new policy.