The possibility was discussed at a preliminary meeting of the coalition's board on 2 October. Under the plan, the coalition would become a restricted fund of the DSC, which would act as the secretariat, provide a finance structure and a bank account and offer use of its offices for meetings.
Other options include setting up the organisation as an informal coalition, a company limited without guarantee (with or without charitable status), a social enterprise or a charity.
The coalition has secured a £50,000 launch fund from the Tudor Trust. It also has the backing of Cancer Research UK and Shelter (Third Sector Online, 9 October). It aims to help small and struggling charities support each other and learn from larger charities. Instead of paying membership fees, charities will be expected to repay the support they receive by helping each other.
"The coalition will build a bridge between large and small charities to provide the support needed by all small charities," said Patrick Cox, founder of the coalition and chief executive of the Male Cancer Awareness Campaign.
The launch comes as the Conservative Party continues to emphasise the importance of small, grass-roots organisations. Greg Clark, the party's charities spokesman, said: "I've been concerned that small charities are suffering a smaller proportion of voluntary income and public funds. My party wants to keep a strong collaboration from small charities, and this strikes me as a good thing."