Here at Good Finance, we often get questions and queries relating to legal structures and, specifically, what type of legal structure lends itself to securing social investment. Having the right legal structure for you is vital to ensure your organisation functions to the best of its ability and delivers the social impact you want to create in the community you serve. 

Whilst there's no one-size-fits-all solution, the tools and resources listed below should help you to better understand legal structures and how they can affect your funding opportunities further down the line. 

If your organisation offers free tools and resources on getting started with legal structures, please email with a link to the webpage and, if relevant, we will add to this page. 

UnLtd - Determining the right legal structure for your social enterprise

This guide explores the typical legal structures that are used in the social enterprise sector, the core advantages and disadvantages of the respective structures, and the key issues for consideration when deciding on the right legal structure for your organisation.

Good Finance - Legal Structures for Social Enterprise at a Glance

This is a short guide to the legal structures most commonly associated with charities and social enterprise. 

School for Social Entrepreneurs - Selecting a Legal Structure

This resource shares a quick overview of different legal structures to consider when you are starting up a social enterprise, charity, or another type of project whose purpose is social or environmental impact

DLA Piper + UnLtd

When setting up your social enterprise it is important to have the right legal structure.
From this flowchart, comparison table and detailed guidance you will be able to assess which is the right legal structure
for your social enterprise. 

Social Enterprise Mark CIC

Accessing advice on social enterprise legal structures. 

Godfrey Wilson

This guide introduces the different structures available to a social enterprise and includes a table which summarises the key points of each.


Having the right legal and governance structure for your charity, or social enterprise, is vital to help ensure the organisation functions effectively and delivers social impact.

Bates Wells

Bates Wells is a truly purpose-driven law firm and the first UK law firm to be a B Corp, which means we consider the impact of our decisions on our people, clients, suppliers, community, and the environment. 


Purposely is for founders who are using or considering the company limited by shares legal structure and who want to embed their purpose. This tool guides you through the steps necessary to create your company articles, and embed purpose into the DNA of your business.

A Guide to Legal Forms for Social Enterprises

The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills share a guide on legal forms specifically for social enterprises (2011). 

Social Ventures - which legal structure should I choose?

The Thomson Reuters Foundation has partnered with Morrison & Foerster and UnLtd to produce an update to our guide on legal structures for social ventures in England and Wales.

Plunkett Foundation - A Guide to the Essential Steps for Setting Up a Rural Community Business

This guide aims to help you from the initial contact with your community, to the moment you cut the ribbon.