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Irish voluntary sector 2018 report published

Irish voluntary sector 2018 report published

Giving by Irish philanthropies such as foundations and non-government grant bodies exceeded giving from overseas sources for the first time in 2016, according to third sector survey body Benefacts.

Largely reflecting the wind down of the Atlantic Philanthropies’ grant making in Ireland, and the completion of a major giving campaign by the Ireland Funds in 2015, the aggregate trend for international philanthropy over the last three years shows a contraction each year from 2014 (€79m), 2015 (€70m) 2016 (€41m).

At about €103m, giving by Irish and international philanthropic institutions to Irish nonprofits represents a small portion of the sector’s €12.1 billion turnover. However in 2016 for the first time, giving by Irish philanthropies exceeded giving from overseas sources by 52%, with most institutional donors giving to nonprofits already supported by Government.

SEE ALSO: Irish fundraising totals €725m, Benefacts survey finds (30 April 2017)

Public fundraising is an important source of revenue for many nonprofits, according to Benefacts.  At least 545 nonprofits – most of them charities – engage in fundraising of some kind. Over €700 million is raised annually with religion the largest category of fundraising income.

Donations are a more significant proportion of the income profile of certain sub‑sectors than others such as health charities.

Government still largest source of funding

Government is the single greatest source of funding for nonprofits. However, of all government funding of €5.7b, 63% is delivered under the terms of contracts or service level agreements. The value of government grant (non‑fee) income is exceeded by income earned from other sources and fundraising by the sector.

A small number of charities are established solely to raise funds for other charities. An analysis of the expenditure of these dedicated fundraising organisations shows that fundraising has a disproportionate number of higher paid employees relative to the sector as a whole, and that in this segment, fundraising costs about 14% of the value of funds raised, using payroll as an indicator of fundraising costs.

This is Benefacts‘ second annual report on Irish nonprofits. The organisation sees its role as promoting transparency and accessibility of Ireland’s nonprofit sector.


Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of Research massive growth in giving.

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