Hallmarks of an Effective Charity

Charities operate for many different purposes but share a common desire to do the best for their beneficiaries. To do this, it’s vital that trustees keep asking the questions:

  • What have we achieved?; and 
  • What can we do to improve?

Having clear goals against which to measure performance, being well run, making the most of resources and being open and accountable, is key to finding the answer.

CC10 - Hallmarks of an Effective Charity (a Charity Commission publication) sets out the standards that will help trustees to improve the effectiveness of their charity, and the principles that the regulatory framework exists to support. These are divided into six Hallmarks or principles. For each of these, they have listed a number of ways in which the Hallmarks might be demonstrated, but not every example will apply to every charity. Whilst a few of these are legal requirements, most are matters of good practice.

Although these Hallmarks will be relevant for all charities, the way in which they can be demonstrated or achieved will vary depending on the size, income, complexity and activities of each charity, although some charities may find different routes to the same end. Our experience shows that, whatever its size and activities, trustees can use these Hallmarks as a means of reviewing how their charity is performing and to identify the areas in which the charity is strong and those areas which need further development.

What about other codes and standards?

There are a number of other codes and standards of good practice that charities may choose to follow, or may be expected to follow because they deliver particular types of services, or as a condition of membership of an umbrella body. Some of the other codes and standards that charities may follow can be found on the Charity Commission web site.  The Code of Governance (Good Governance: a code for the voluntary and community sector) is one of these and is endorsed by the Commission.

If your charity follows another code or standard, it may already be demonstrating some or all of the Hallmarks. However, you may wish to consider whether there are aspects of the Hallmarks that could supplement or strengthen your charity’s approach to effective governance, management and operation.  To discuss this further contact our Charity Team.