Government and public bodies largest source of income for charities, says report

Irish charities have income of €14.5 billion


Government and public bodies are the largest source of income for registered charities, accounting for more than half of total funding, according to a report commissioned by the Charities Regulator.

It says Irish charities have an income of €14.5 billion, directly employ 189,000 people and are supported by 300,000 volunteers.

The report, by Indecon Economic Consultants, estimates that household charitable donations for this year will be €350 million. The average weekly household donation in 2015 was €3.75.

Financial information regarding 5,746 charities was analysed as well as data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

Just 2.8 per cent of charities reported income of over €10 million, but they accounted for almost 80 per cent of the total income of registered charities. Hospitals and other health organisations (€3.1 billion) and higher education and research organisations (just under €3billion) reported the highest income. Over half of registered charities had an income of less than €250,000.

Charities Regulator chief executive John Farrelly said the report highlights the wide diversity of organisations which are registered as charities across the State.

“At one end of the scale there are large hospitals and universities with budgets funded by the Exchequer, extending to hundreds of millions of euro and hundreds of paid staff,” he said.

“Many of these are larger charities engaged in delivering critical health, education and social services. At the other end of the scale, there are completely volunteer-led organisations, providing services at community level, with small budgets.”

The majority of people (79 per cent) employed by charities belong to those with reported income of over €10 million. Over 55,000 are estimated to work in hospital and other healthcare organisations, with 38,000 in higher education and research organisations.

More than half (53 per cent) of charity employees are in registered charities supported by Government expenditure.

The Charities Regulator said volunteers remain an important resource for charities, with 300,000 volunteers donating 67.9 million hours (an average of 226 hours annually per volunteer). The report said based on the minimum wage, this is worth €648.8 million.