Recently I had written about how to register a trust and the process of registering a society in India. I have written several articles on the subject of NGOs in India. Today, I though that I should present a summary of differences between trust and society. These two are the main types of non profit organizations in India. Often people ask “Trust or Society, which is better?”. There is no universal answer to this question. Both society and trust have their own benefits and drawbacks. You should spend some time considering both these options. The following comparison table should help you in deciding which is better for your circumstances and objectives.
|Basis of Difference||Trust||Society|
|Statute/Legislation||Private trusts are governed by Indian Trust Act, 1882. Public charitable trusts do not have a national level governing law.||Societies Registration Act, 1860|
|Minimum number of members||Two||Seven|
|Geographical area of activities||All India (no need to mention this in the Trust Deed)||A separate registration for All India level is required (8 members from different states required)|
|Nature of control||One man control, i.e. Settler||Democratic system. Decisions are made by voting. Power struggle may ensue.|
|Amendments||Can easily be done via a supplementary trust deed||Relatively more difficult. Both Memorandum of Association and Rules and Regulations need to be changed|
|Names||Easily available||A bit difficult to get the desired name|
|Bank a/c operation||Controlled by one person, Settler||Two persons, either President or Secretary and Treasurer|
|Office holders’ tenure||Trustees generally hold office for the whole life||Members hold office for a period of time and may stand for re-election|
|Winding-up||Trust is generally irrevocable, Can not be wound-up.||Can be wound up if 3/5th of the members so desire|
|Family members||Can become trustees||Registrar objects on family members becoming part of the Governing Body|
|Governed by||Board of Trustees||Governing Body|
|Objectives||Can be general||Have to be specific|
Some people also gets confused about a trust and a foundation. I have written a separate article to answer this question.
I hope this table of differences would make several things clear in your mind about differences among Trust and Society. For more specific information you may read more articles as listed below. In case you still have any questions, please ask them in through the comments section. While asking questions, please write in details. Also, please do not ask questions without going through all my relevant articles. You will find most of your answers in one or the other articles. Thank you for using TechWelkin!