The Association of Charity Officers is set to play an active part in the charity tribunal's review of public benefit and benevolent funds.
The ACO, along with several individual benevolent associations, said it would apply to take part in the process, which was started when Dominic Grieve, the Attorney General, submitted a reference to the tribunal in January.
He asked the tribunal to consider whether a benevolent fund could have charitable status if it supported only those people linked to a certain individual, employer or unincorporated organisation. The tribunal's response will be legally binding.
The ACO, the umbrella body for benevolent funds, said it felt it was necessary to become "joined" to the reference because this would allow it to be a more active party in the proceedings and make sure that the views of its members could be properly heard.
"Our members are worried about the implications of this review," said Dominic Fox, chief executive of the ACO. "At present, we're not sure of its scope or how much effect it could have on benevolent funds.
"We will be consulting our members and issuing a fuller response in time."
At least two individual benevolent associations are also considering becoming joined to the reference, Third Sector understands.