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Why we introduced a step by step process for setting up a new charity

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The Charity Commission wants charities to inspire public trust and to thrive.

As the number of charities applying to register increases each year, it’s essential that we help people make an informed decision about whether to set up a charity in the first place – and when they do – to help ensure they get it right.

This is where our new Set up a charity: step by step comes in.

What we did

The DVLA is one of several government departments already effectively using a step by step approach in their ‘learn to drive a car’ tool.

We’ve had an increased number of applications to become a charity recently, but many were incomplete leading to their application being returned.

So we took this problem to the Government Digital Service (GDS), who helped the DVLA set up their step by step. Working together, we were able to publish the new online tool in August.

What we’ve seen so far

People who use some part of the step by step tend to view twice as many pages as people who don’t. This is encouraging, suggesting that the tool is helping people through more of the key guidance.

Users are also now regularly checking whether they are eligible as trustees and navigating to our ‘What makes a charity’ guidance at double the previous rate.

The way people use the tool has told us more about what people are interested in, informing our content for the future.

Where we want to get to

It’s early days but we’re hopeful that the tool will help to tie the key guidance together so people can make sure they have done what they need to and can make a more informed decision about whether to register as a charity.

There’s a lot to do to set up a charity but we hope the step by step will help make the process clear for users.

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