This page answers frequent questions about the One Click Orgs platform for UK Associations. If your question isn’t answered here please write to us.
What is One Click Orgs?
The One Click Orgs UK Associations service makes it easy for UK community groups to set up as an Association and provide a simple voting system for their members.
What’s an Association?
An Association (technically an “Unincorporated Association”) is a simple legal structure that’s typically used for clubs, societies, community groups and small non-profits. An Association has an official name, a set of objectives and a constitution that the members agree to follow. An Association isn’t a legal “person” like a Limited Company, it’s just a group of people who have agreed to join forces in a particular way.
What are the benefits of forming an Association?
There are several reasons a group might want to form an Association:
- Opening a bank account Banks often ask for a copy of a group’s constitution before providing an account
- Shared group assets The Association can own things shared by the group
- Working with local government Forming an Association enables public sector bodies to work with the group
- Member participation in decisions Forming an Association on One Click Orgs makes it easy to keep members involved in important decisions
- Applying for grants Most grant-makers will only accept applications from groups that have a formal structure and a constitution
Is an Association right for my group?
An Association is the simplest formal structure a group can take. It’s frequently adopted by people involved in sports clubs, reading groups, community organisations, emerging non-profits and so forth. An Association is probably not an appropriate structure for groups which take on heavy responsibilities or have an annual turnover greater than £50,000. Forms like a Company Limited by Guarantee in (the UK form of a Non Profit Corporation), Community Benefit Society.
Limitations of One Click Orgs Associations
- The Association has no independent legal existence – it is just a shorthand for the members – so it cannot be used to engage in any complex contracts
- Any property “owned” by the association, including the money in any bank accounts, is owned by all the current members in equal shares
- In particular One Click Orgs Associations are not particularly suitable for leasing premises
- The Association will not be able to borrow money
- An unincorporated association is not suitable for any purpose which intends to make a profit (which would mean the members were a partnership), for example a One Click Orgs Association should not be used to organise a lottery syndicate
- A One Click Orgs Association is not suitable for forming exempt gambling clubs under the Gambling Act 2005 or for obtaining club premises certificates under the Licensing Act 2003; if you are interested in either option, please get in touch with us
Warnings for founders
If you are founding a society you should read the following warnings.
- DO make sure you understand what you are letting yourself in for. There is some subtle law associated with unincorporated associations. Make sure you take legal advice.
- DO keep one or more backups of your society’s constitution, resolutions it has passed and contact details for your members. That way if the site is unavailable you will still be able to contact your membership and carry out urgent business.
- DO understand data protection law. We will be processing the contact details of your membership on your behalf. Those details will constitute “personal data” within the meaning of the Data Protection Act 1998. You may be exempt from notifying the Information Commissioner that you are processing personal data (for guidance download pdf “Data Protection Good Practice Note:The exemption from notification for ‘not-for-profit’ organisations”) but you must still comply with data protection law.
- DO contact us if there is anything you don’t understand or if you need something our site doesn’t offer (we make no promises).
- DON’T rely on this site for anything crucial to your life or business. We cannot guarantee that the One Click Orgs site will run 24/7. No computer service can achieve that. There will be times when the site is unavailable.
- DON’T rely on this site lasting for ever. Though we hope to run this site for the foreseeable future and encourage other people to run the One Click Orgs software too, we cannot promise to do so. All things come to an end and one day we may have to stop. We will try to give you reasonable notice if we do and inform you of any equivalent services we know of.
My group is small now but we expect to have bigger turnover in the future?
Groups that start out forming an Association on One Click Orgs are free to progress to a different legal structure in the future as their needs change. One Click Orgs aims to provide an automated route for Associations to upgrade to Non Profit Corporations in the future.
What countries does One Click Orgs support?
At this point One Click Orgs only officially supports UK Associations. Groups can have members outside the UK but a majority of members should be based in the UK.
Can I use the platform outside the UK?
The existing platform has only been designed with UK law in mind. If you, your society or your members are based outside the UK, the Association platform may be entirely wrong for you. If you have taken legal advice in your own jurisdiction and know what you are doing, you’re welcome to create an Association on One Click Orgs and use it to hold votes with other members. We aim to support other countries very soon. If you’re interested to help us provide One Click Orgs for your country please see the notes on the Get Involved page.
What kind of decisions should we vote on?
That’s entirely up to you. In practice the majority of decisions are made by consensus in a small group without any need for a formal vote. But for choices that are either contentious or particularly important it can be helpful to go through a formal process where someone makes a proposal and everyone has a chance to vote on it. This also has the advantage of creating an official record of the decision.
Do I need to install any software?
No. One Click Orgs is a hosted service running on servers provided by the Open Knowledge Foundation. You and your members can access everything via a website and email.