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Irish Red Cross hit by fall in fundraising

Irish Red Cross hit by fall in fundraising

A significant fall in donations has led to job losses at the Irish Red Cross, according to the

The Irish Red Cross’ General Secretary Liam O’Dwyer told the that he had to take “serious steps” in order to deal with financial pressures, including staff cuts and pulling out of long-term projects in Africa.

O’Dwyer said that by half-way through 2018 the charity had raised €800k, compared to €1.1 million in the same period last year. This represents a 27% drop in public donations. In 2016 the charity had achieved a total income of under €7 million, which represented a 10% reduction on 2015.

Three core support staff roles have been lost at head office in 2018, five staff have been redeployed, and four vacant positions will not be filled.

O’Dwyer added that the drop in fundraising income was accompanied by an increase in costs due to regulation and governance, which he welcomed, acknowledging that other charities were experiencing similar pressures implementing GDPR, safeguarding and accounting standards.

O’Dwyer said that when there is a major emergency “the Irish public donate extremely, extremely well and they respond very well”, but donations would have been affected by the fact there hasn’t been a major international emergency to donate to since 2015.

He noted that trust was a challenge for charities in general in Ireland. According to the Irish Charities Engagement Monitor, trust in charities has dropped by six per cent this year. In particular, overseas aid and development charities ranked second lowest amongst respondents when asked if they trusted the sector ‘a great deal’.

The Irish Red Cross has issued a statement on its restructuring plan, explaining:

“The restructuring of this very diverse organisation is being carried out in conjunction with the development of a new Irish Red Cross three-year strategy, the intention being to create a more cost-effective organisation to support its members.”

The Irish Red Cross has 28 area committees and 94 branches, together with its head office. Its annual report will be published in the late Autumn.



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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