Dormant or inactive charities

27 August, 2019

Has your charity received an email from the Revitalising Trusts programme?


Back in 2018 the government’s Civil Society Strategy identified that £20m is being held in dormant charities and the Revitalising Trusts programme [1] (’the programme’) was set up in response to this in an effort to redirect this money back into the sector.


So typically a charity will receive an email from the programme if it has:

  • Not spent any money in the past 5 years
  • Spent less than 30% of its income in the past 5 years


If your charity receives an email from the programme, you will be asked to take action within four weeks to prevent an investigation by the Charity Commission.


Next steps will of course depend on why the charity in question is failing to spend its income but it could:

  • Transfer its assets to another charity
  • Change its purposes to make them more relevant
  • Close down altogether


One option suggested by the programme is to transfer assets to a local Community Foundation which sometimes allows donors to remain involved in decisions over how the money transferred is spent without the legal responsibility of being a trustee.


So far the Revitalising Trusts programme has written to just over 1000 trusts as a result of which £10m has been redirected back into the sector.


For more information on the programme and the help that is available for inactive/ ineffective charities see this Charity Commission guidance here; or contact Clare Savory in our Charities & Not-for-Profit team and we would be happy to discuss your options.


[1] A joint partnership between the Charity Commission, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and UK Community Foundations