7 April, 2020

People have been asking about the potential scale of Covid-19 impacts on fundraising charities.
Here are some benchmark figures which show how things stood at the start of this year, using currently available data.
More analysis follows in our annual review of the sector, due for release in May.

Fundraising is an important source of revenue for Irish nonprofits

At least 1,719 Irish nonprofits rely on fundraising and donations (including one-off donations, regular giving, legacies & bequests, charity shop revenues) for a portion of their income. 1,383 of these are registered charities.

With aggregate total income from all sources of €3.7bn, this group of nonprofits generate nearly €1bn in revenues from donations and fundraising – that’s more than 24% of their income.

Two thirds of this income is concentrated in the largest 50 charities, mainly in international development, family support services, philanthropy, and health services/health promotion.

For 800 nonprofits, fundraising accounts for more than 25% of their revenues

The profile of reliance on donations varies by sector. In 800 nonprofits, employing 14,039 people, fundraising and donations account for more than 25% of their revenues.


Nonprofit sectors Total Income – all sources Fundraising Fundraising as % of income
Philanthropy, Voluntarism €164.0m €129.6m 79.00%
Religion* €97.2m €70.4m 72.40%
Environment €36.8m €21.2m 57.70%
International €498.1m €232.1m 46.60%
Education, Research* €126.8m €40.1m 31.60%
Advocacy, Law, Politics €90.1m €26.4m 29.20%
Health €742.6m €121.8m 16.40%
Recreation, Sports* €95.7m €13.6m 14.20%
Social Services €1,443.3m €204.6m 14.20%
Arts, Culture, Media €82.4m €11.6m 14.10%
Professional, Vocational €51.5m €4.0m 7.80%
Local Development, Housing €260.6m €17.4m 6.70%
Grand Total €3,689.0m €892.7m 24.20%

Source: Benefacts

* Limited data available – Source: Benefacts April 2020

Better disclosures = better data

We know that 1,719 is an understatement of the full population of nonprofits that depend on fundraised income and donations. This is because

  • In November 2019 (the last time Revenue updated their figures) 2,438 charities were eligible for tax relief on qualifying donations
  • When they filed their latest set of accounts, many nonprofit companies (37% of them charities) chose not to disclose their income and expenditure – which means we have no way of analysing their revenue from fundraising or donations
  • The financial statements of unincorporated charities – mainly religious institutions, philanthropies and unincorporated trusts – submitted since 2015 to the Charities Regulatory Authority are not available to the public because the Regulator doesn’t publish them

Benefacts uses open data to build and maintain a detailed picture of Ireland’s 30,000+ nonprofits – incorporated and unincorporated, regulated and unregulated. Contact us if you’d like to know more.

About a third of these file financial statements annually with one or more public regulatory source including the Companies Registration Office, the Standards in Public Office Commission, the Houses of the Oireachtas. These public disclosures form the basis of our analysis. Our numbers are drawn from this population, not from survey data.