Figures show 90% of people donated to charity in last year

Four in 10 respondents to survey said they donated more than €100 in 12 months

Ninety per cent of Irish people have donated to a charity in the past year, according to a survey from the Charities Regulator.

Forty per cent of respondents said they donated more than €100 to charities with the most popular way of donation buying a raffle or lottery ticket, sponsoring someone and donating through a charity’s website.

Of those donating, over half (52 per cent) are doing so at least every two months.

A total of 2,001 people responded to the survey carried out by Amárach on behalf of the Regulator.


In terms of the charitable causes people donated to, homeless or refuge services were the most prominent (56 per cent), followed by medical/health related causes (46 per cent), local community organisations (43 per cent), children or youth groups (37 per cent) and animal rescue or welfare services (36 per cent).

Other charitable causes people donated to were physical or intellectual disabilities (28 per cent), overseas aid or disaster relief (21 per cent), school, colleges or other education (20 per cent), senior citizens (17 per cent), religious organisations (15 per cent), environment and conservation (9 per cent) and arts, culture or heritage (6 per cent).

The survey also found that the vast majority of respondents (88 per cent) said they had not changed the type of charity they support as a result of Covid-19.

A total of 91 per cent of respondents reported a reasonable level of trust and confidence in the charity sector with 36 per cent rating their level of trust highly. Two-thirds said their trust and confidence in the sector had increased or stayed the same over the past two years.

Helen Martin, chief executive of the Charities Regulator, said the level of trust and confidence in the charity sector is an important indicator of the overall health of the sector.

“Of those respondents to the survey who said that they felt their level of trust had decreased over the past two years, the majority, 65 per cent, cited lack of openness and transparency about how donations are used as the reason for their concern,” she said.

“There is a simple solution to this and the power to reassure the public and potential donors lies with charities themselves. The Charities Regulator encourages all registered charities to publish their full accounts and provide information about their activities and what they have achieved on their websites – the more transparent a charity is, the more trust it will instil in the public.”

Ms Martin said registered charities are not required to submit their accounts to the Charities Regulator at present and that a charity's accounts will only appear on the Register of Charities if they are already filed with the Companies Registration Office.

“However, new amendments which have been proposed to the Charities Act 2009 if enacted will pave the way for a requirement on all registered charities to submit accounts to the Charities Regulator, which in turn will mean that those accounts can be made available to the public through the Register of Charities,” she added.

“This will mean greater transparency for the public in relation to the finances of registered charities and ultimately further enhance public trust and confidence in the sector.”

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times