The benefits of transferring a charitable trust

After working with many local Charitable Trusts and Foundations to support them to increase their impact, our Development Director Grant Robson discusses the benefits of transferring a charitable trust.

Grant Robson 11th December 2018

The benefits of transferring a charitable trust

Charitable trusts make a huge difference locally supporting many individuals and groups, however some face uncertain future when it comes to:

  • succession planning for their trustees
  • outdated objectives
  • little investment income, not enough to run regular funding programmes
  • narrow beneficiary criteria
  • narrow area of benefit

Because of the difficulties discussed above some trusts may become dormant (or moribund) or struggle to find beneficiaries which may cause them to become ineffective (Charity Commission classes trusts struggling to spend more than 30% of income over 5 years as ineffective).

In the summer, Community Foundations were announced as key partners of the Government’s Civil Society strategy which incorporates a trust transfer initiative aiming to raise up to £20 million from inactive existing trusts. Community Foundations such as ourselves, here in Dorset, were chosen because we have an established experience of working with the Charity Commission and local charitable trusts and collectively over the last decade have transferred 3,400 charitable trusts with assets in excess of £60 million.

So, what are the benefits of transferring your dormant and/or ineffective trust to Dorset Community Foundation:

  • DCF provides a home for funds within an established infrastructure endorsed by the Charity Commission. Since our inception in 2000, we have transferred 14 dormant and/or ineffective charitable trusts (such as Graham Burrough Charitable Trust, Bridport Educational Trust, Davidson & Evans Legacies and The Marras Prize) and these are currently making a difference locally by supporting good causes through our active grant-making programmes.


  • We can easily continue the original aims of the charitable trust because we have wide charitable objectives as we already support numerous causes such as poverty, disadvantage and education. If need be, we can work with the Charity Commission to update original objectives or widen them.


  • We also cover the whole of Dorset and can easily, with other community foundations, set up regional and even national partnerships. Alternatively, DCF can ringfence funds to the original area of support.


  • All administration, Charity Commission reporting, fund management and grant-making are taken care of by us, however, if some of the Trustees would like to stay involved in the grant-making, they can take part in the grant-making panel.


  • We may be able to continue the development of the trust and grow its original size, therefore have more money for charitable causes.


Not Ready for a Trust Transfer Yet? We can run a funding programme for you!

As part of our offering, we also assist trusts in running funding programmes for them to help distribute charitable income (with no obligation for a later trust transfer). Our 18-year grant making expertise has enabled us to create valuable networks and we can guarantee reaching potential beneficiaries if you are struggling to.

We fund a variety of beneficiaries – registered charities, community groups and individuals which give us the flexibility to work with different types of charitable trusts supporting difference organisations and individuals.

If you would like an informal chat about trust transfers or managing funding programmes for local, regional and national charitable trusts get in touch at or on 01202 670815.

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