What is a charitable association?

Charitable associations are an important part of the community in Vanuatu. They provide a number of services and benefits to the community. Charitable associations must be for ‘charitable purposes’. These include the following purposes:

  • religious
  • educational
  • cultural
  • scientific
  • sports
  • general social welfare, or
  • another non-profit purpose declared by Minister.

Recognising the public good that charitable associations do, there are special laws that enable charitable associations to incorporate their committees. Incorporating committees provides charities with many of the same benefits enjoyed by companies. In particular, when a committee is incorporated, the committee may:

  • hold assets (e.g. equipment or land)
  • hold and incur liabilities
  • enter into contracts (subject to certain restrictions).

There are a number of reasons why a charitable association may wish to incorporate its committee. Whether it is right for your charity will depend on your circumstances. You should seek legal advice before incorporating.