‘Sizeable cohort’ of charities not yet engaged with regulator

Some 72% of charities report increased demand despite economic recovery

 Munster rugby player Denis Hurley with  NCBI shop manager Teresa O’Brien at the opening of the charity’s new shop in Cork.

Munster rugby player Denis Hurley with NCBI shop manager Teresa O’Brien at the opening of the charity’s new shop in Cork.

 

The majority of registered charities have not yet engaged with the charity regulator, according to its chief executive.

Úna Ní Dhubhghaill, chief executive of the Charities Regulatory Authority said just short of 3,500 charities of the 8,500 on the register had engaged with her office to date.

Even excluding schools which will be dealt with at a later time, a “sizeable cohort” of charities who had not yet engaged with the regulator since the authority was set up last October, she said.

Of the 3,500 charities who have engaged with the process between 150 and 200 charities have supplied the regulator with all the necessary information.

Ms Ní Dhubhghaill was one of several speakers at a conference organised by The Wheel.

Earlier, the Minister of State for Rural Economic Development, Ann Phelantold the conference that good governance was key to rebuilding public confidence in the charity sector.

Ms Phelan said charity organisations play a “significant social role in all communities”.

However, she said “trust in the sector was undermined by a number of highly publicised issues in the media over recent years, all relating to poor governance”.

“Openness and transparency are the key to reviving the community support,” she said, encouraging all charities to fully adopt to the voluntary governance code for charities introduced in 2012.

Ms Phelan pointed to the challenges which would be posed by the winding down of the philanthropic organisations Atlantic Philanthropies and the One Foundation.

Ms Phelan said the Department of Environment was providing support for a social innovation fund.

She also pointed to the recommendations by the Forum on Philanthropy and Fundraising which has said there is an opportunity to significantly increase private sector investment by promoting a favourable environment for philanthropy in Ireland.

Separately, the conference heard that demand for charity services has increased despite the economic recovery.

The Wheel surveyed 262 charities earlier this month and 72 per cent reported that they had experienced an increased demand for their services in the past 12 months.

A third of charities reported having to cut back or suspend services within the past year due to a lack of funding while 42 per reported a drop in income over the same period.