Irish households donate more to charities than corporations - report

Personal giving represented more than 80 per cent of private charitable giving in 2020

Some 48 per cent of private charitable giving in Ireland in 2020 was by households, amounting to a total of €385 million. Photograph: iStock

Some 48 per cent of private charitable giving in Ireland in 2020 was by households, amounting to a total of €385 million. Photograph: iStock

 

Personal giving by households and from National Lottery proceeds outstrips corporate and philanthropic giving to charities in Ireland, a new report by the nonprofit data analysis company Benefacts shows.

Some 48 per cent of private charitable giving in Ireland in 2020 was by households, amounting to a total of €385 million.

The findings of the report, announced on Tuesday afternoon, were based on available data from a range of sources including the CSO’s household national budget survey and financial statements from Irish nonprofits from the past five years.

This was closely followed by donations through the proceeds of the National Lottery, which represented 34 per cent or €266 million.

A total of €79.4 million was donated through ‘philanthropic giving’ in 2020 in Ireland representing 10 per cent of private giving, while the lowest amounts were donated through legacies and bequests (€50 million or six per cent) and finally corporate giving (€13.5 million or two per cent).

Funding to “good causes” through the proceeds of the National Lottery goes to more than 2,000 nonprofits in Ireland and overseas – with details of funding levels, locations and grant sources published for the first time on Benefacts’ new National Lottery Directory, opened on Tuesday.

The findings should be seen as “indicative rather than absolute,” managing director of Benefacts Patricia Quinn said.

“We already know that the State puts about €7 billion into the nonprofit sector annually, but before now we have never had a clear picture of the profile of private giving which – at least three-quarters of a billion euro – is a substantial source of revenues,” she said.

The research by Benefacts was “a first step in building a comprehensive framework for analysing and reporting on private giving,” she said.

The report would be updated and augmented annually as new public data becomes available.

More “transparency about private giving” would promote trust, would allow policy-makers to make “better-informed decisions” and would allow people wanting to give to have “a better sense of who else has given before, and with what impact,” Ms Quinn added.

In 2020, voluntary donations generated by the proceeds of the National Lottery contributed €266m to the total of €350m allocated by the Irish Government to programmes that fund ‘good causes’.

These included sport and recreation; national culture and heritage; the arts; the health of the community; youth, welfare and amenities; and the natural environment.

State bodies administering these funds often did not themselves always know how much of their grant-in-aid is derived from Lottery and how much from Exchequer sources, and the beneficiaries usually don’t know this either, Ms Quinn said.

Benefacts created the new online directory to “help the public join the dots between their voluntary donations through National Lottery ticket purchases and real causes with real impacts.”

“Until now, the analysis of charitable and philanthropic giving has been served haphazardly by once-off surveys, which provide no way of understanding trends or comparisons with other jurisdictions. That’s what we have set out to change,” she concluded.