WHILE I know many of us are busy in the run-up to Christmas, I would like to call on all charities in Northern Ireland to ensure they are prepared for compulsory charity registration.
The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland is managing the registration of the thousands of charities in Northern Ireland by calling organisations forward to apply for registration in tranches.
However, in order to be called forward, it is vital that all charities take a few minutes before the New Year to ensure the commission has their contact details.
They can check the online registration lists at www.charity commissionni.org.uk.
The website includes some short steps charities should take as appropriate to them.
For example, if your charity is not listed you must complete a short, online 'Expression of intent' form and submit it before the end of December. This will provide your contact details to the commission to be called forward in a future registration tranche.
Charities must, by law, apply to register with the commission and registration brings a number of benefits, including showing your supporters, funders and volunteers that your charity is open, accountable and transparent.
A few simple checks will ensure your charity is on track for registration, as well as supporting the commission's work to create the first, definitive register of all Northern Ireland charities.
Chief executive, Charity Commission for Northern Ireland