More than 10,000 charities registered in Ireland last year

Significant number of reported concerns related to issue of clothes collections

The most common charitable purpose of registered charities last year was to benefit the community. Photograph: Getty Images

The most common charitable purpose of registered charities last year was to benefit the community. Photograph: Getty Images

 

The number of charities registered in Ireland last year surpassed 10,000 for the first time, a new report by the Charities Regulator has said.

According to its 2019 annual report, there were 10,514 charities registered in Ireland last year, an increase of 715 – or 7 per cent – on the previous year. It is the highest number of charities registered in Ireland since the regulator was established in October 2014.

The most common charitable purpose of registered charities at the end of 2019 were purposes that were of benefit to the community (54 per cent), followed by the advancement of education (30 per cent), relief of poverty or economic hardship (9 per cent) and religion (7 per cent).

Some 52 per cent of charities on the register had income of more than €100,000, 32 per cent had an income of between € 10,000 and € 100,000 and 16 per cent had an income of less than € 10,000.

Some 2,165 charities reported an annual income of more than € 250,000 in 2019, and of these 875 reported an annual income in excess of € 1 million, up from 855 in 2018.

About 72 per cent of charities on the register had fewer than 20 volunteers, 43 per cent of charities had no employees and 42 per cent reported having between one and 19 employees.

A further 8 per cent of charities had 20-49 employees, 5 per cent had 50-249,while 2 per cent had 250-499.

There were a total of 649 concerns raised with the Charities Regulator during 2019, of which 166 related to the issue of bogus clothing collections. This represented a 5 per cent decrease on the number of concerns raised in 2018.

Of the concerns raised with the Charities Regulator in 2019, approximately 91 per cent related to issues in the combined categories of “legitimacy of charity”, “governance issues” and “financial control and transparency”.

Helen Martin, chief executive of the Charities Regulator, said concerns regarding clothing collections constituted a “significant number” of the concerns received in 2019, resulting in a national radio campaign.

“This particular campaign highlighted the importance of engaging with the wider public to tackle issues which have the potential to divert much needed donations from registered charities in Ireland,” she said.

Ms Martin said a particular focus for the regulator today was the “challenge that Covid-19 represents”.

“I would like to thank all those involved in the charity sector, from those working on the front line, to those supporting local communities across the country.

“We will continue to monitor its impact on the sector, and we will provide information and guidance to charities as they navigate this very difficult period.”