In: Company Registration Sri Lanka, Company Secretary

Understanding Charitable Organizations

A charitable organization is dedicated to generosity and helpfulness, especially toward the needy or suffering. The main purpose of such organizations is to gather for a worthy cause, whether it’s promoting commerce, art, culture, science, religion, charity, or sports. In Sri Lanka, these associations can be registered under Section 34 of the Companies Act No. 07 of 2007, provided they use any surplus income to promote their cause without distributing dividends to members.

Charity Registration Sri Lanka by a company secretary

Registration of a not-for-profit organization in Sri Lanka is essential for several reasons:

  • It grants legal personality to the charity, similar to a limited liability company.
  • The registered charity can hold assets, operate a separate bank account, and manage liabilities in its name.
  • A registered charity is managed by a board of directors and can formally appoint office bearers such as President, Secretary, and Treasurer.

Steps to Register a Charity Foundation

1. Name of the Association

Choose a name for your association, which can end with terms like Foundation, Association, Chamber, or Movement. To omit the word “Limited,” you must satisfy the Registrar of Companies about the association’s objectives and obtain a license.

2. Constitution of the Association

Draft a constitution for your association, which needs pre-approval from the Registrar. After approval, publish the constitution in a daily newspaper for public objection. Any changes to the constitution must also be approved by the Registrar prior to the adoption.

3. Registration Timeline

  • Name Approval and Pre-Approval of the Articles: 1 to 3 business days.
  • Publication Period: 21 days from the date of publication for public objections.
  • Final Registration: 5 to 10 business days after the publication period.

4. Operations and Office Bearers

Upon incorporation, appoint the office bearers from among the directors. These positions typically include President, Secretary, and Treasurer.

5. Bank Account and Meetings

  • Bank Account: Open a bank account in the association’s name and authorize office bearers to sign cheques and handle banking transactions.
  • Meetings: Hold regular board meetings and annual general meetings (AGM), recording minutes for each. Annually submit the Annual returns to the Registrar General of Companies using the prescribed form, after the AGM

How ASAC Can Help

At ASAC, we assist in setting up your association, providing guidance on choosing a name, drafting the constitution, and ensuring smooth operation. Our expertise simplifies the registration of non-government organizations (NGOs) in Sri Lanka, making it easier for you to focus on your mission.

Registering your charity in Sri Lanka is a structured process that confers legal benefits and operational efficiency, ensuring your charitable efforts are recognized and effective. Contact us today to get started!

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Isura Sirisena

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