Majority of charities report drop in donations following scandals

More than a third of charities say they have been forced to cut-back or suspend services

More than 60 per cent of charities operating in Ireland have reported often "detrimental" falls in donations since scandals involving the Central Remedial Clinic, Rehab and the wider sector took hold.

The Wheel, a national network of some 950 charities, report almost half of the 297 surveyed organisations have suffered drops in public funding of as much as 10 per cent since last November.

The considerable fall off in public confidence has hit the sector at a time when services are in increasing demand, the organisation said ahead of its national conference at Croke Park today.

Consequently, two thirds of the affected charities have had to take damage limitation measures to combat perceptions of donations being used to fund executive salaries, focusing on increasing transparency and have taken steps to show internal governance structures have been strengthened.


These measures include making details of executive pay publicly available, publishing accounts online and signing up to a governance code in place since 2012.

The need for a major sea-change in how the sector conducts itself is central to safeguarding the traditional charitable attitude of the Irish public, the organisation believes.

"In Ireland, charities have always been held in very high regard. They are among our most trusted institutions, and the Irish public rank among generous donors in the world," said Deirdre Garvey, chief executive of The Wheel.

"It is therefore reasonable to expect that charities meet the highest standards. The vast majority of charities are committed to good governance and transparency, and the introduction of the Charities Regulatory Authority will provide added assurance for both the public and the charity sector."

More than 200 organisations from around the country are due to attend today’s event, which is likely to focus heavily on the impact recent controversies have had on their image and the consequent damage to coffers.

Given the economic collapse of recent years, such erosion of the charity sector’s reputation and resultant financing has come at the worst possible time.

The survey found that while 59 per cent of charities report an overall drop in income within the last 12 months, 67 per cent say that demand for their services has simultaneously increased.

More than a third say they have had to curtail or even suspend services as a result.

The online survey was conducted between mid-April and early May with 297 charities taking part, a response rate of 31 per cent.

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times