Charities rely on people’s generosity


Sir, – I was saddened and disappointed at Patsy McGarry’s attack on Christmas fund raising appeals from Irish charities (“In a word”, November 30th). The assertion that fundraising is done to benefit the staff of charities is just wrong and borders on being insulting to the great work done by Irish charities and their employees at all times of the year.

It would be wonderful if Irish society wasn’t so dependent on our charities. It would be wonderful if we had no people experiencing homelessness, poverty or at risk from suicide and self-harm. But these social problems are acute in our country at present. And our public services are not capable of meeting the needs of many vulnerable citizens. Instead the charities set up out of need and a desire to help solve these issues are doing their best to fill the gaps left by inadequate State services.

To do that work – whether it is feeding the hungry or providing shelter and homes for those experiencing homelessness – charities rely on the generosity of the Irish people. The various organisations that exist do so to support and improve situations and people with very diverse and complex needs. The number requiring support significantly outnumbers the reach of the organisations that are doing their best, often collaboratively to respond, to advocate and to prevent these issues.

Putting resources into marketing and fundraising is not an overhead which wastes donors’ money. Instead, it is an investment in growing the income base of charities to the ultimate benefit of those who most need our help. That also requires professional staff who dedicate their time to finding solutions to complex problems and to serving our society.

I’m sorry some ads may upset Mr McGarry’s sensibilities, but I hope he will reflect on the good that comes from the monies raised each year, that wouldn’t be possible without proactive fundraising and engagement of wonderful donors and supporters in the fight against illness, poverty, social issues, climate change and overseas development, to name but a few. – Yours, etc,



Charities Institute Ireland,

Dublin 2.