Charities and the necessity of raising funds
Sir, – A number of recent contributions have highlighted the role of charity fundraising in Irish society. However, all fail to touch on the very essence of why direct fundraising approaches are used.
Charities provide frontline services and supports for many of the most vulnerable in society. Across the country, community and voluntary groups, charities and social enterprises address the gaps in vital services and supports which remain under-resourced by the State.
Over 75 per cent of disability services are provided by the non-profit sector and there is simply no contingency plan if they were to shut up shop tomorrow.
The State, families and individuals across Ireland rely on the sector for services and supports in health, disability and social services.
Charities, in turn, rely on a combination of limited State funding and direct fundraising to meet that demand.
The sector ranges from large national organisations to small volunteer-run local community groups, as well as advocacy and campaigning groups. They all strive for transparency, efficiency and effectiveness, and are regulated in the public interest. Collectively they also generate half of the sector’s €14.5 billion economic value independently of any State funding. Most importantly, they have an invaluable impact on the day-to-day lives of individuals, families and communities.
People in these organisations work hard amid increasing cuts to funding, precarious working conditions and generally lower pay scales.
Charities also reflect the vibrancy which lies at the heart of community life. Over 300,000 Irish people volunteer their time to help their selected charity in community activities, ranging from community centres to sports clubs and community creches.
These organisations rely heavily on “shaking buckets” and supermarket checkout collections to survive. They dedicate their free time to collecting that money for the benefit of the entire community.
Working for a fairer society and safeguarding the most vulnerable is not easy or something that can be “sanitised”. The efforts that charities go to to raise vital funds should be complimented, not derided. – Yours, etc,