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Benefacts derives the data in its analysis reports from the full population of available data, not from estimates or surveys.

Because there are as yet no regulations specifying the form in which Irish charities (including philanthropies) are to report, and because the targets of some philanthropic giving (for example sports organisations) are not regulated as charities, the numbers reported by Benefacts are still understatements.

Philanthropic giving data is derived from two sources:

The reported receipts of nonprofits

Donations from philanthropic sources are often listed in the financial statements of nonprofits receiving them. This is not yet a mandatory disclosure: although the Charities Act 2009 has been in force since 2014, including provision for the Minister to set regulations specifying the form in which charities will prepare their financial statements, these have not yet been introduced.

The disclosures of philanthropies

As a matter of policy, some philanthropies publish exhaustive information about the targets of their giving. Others have provided this to Benefacts on request.

In addition, Benefacts acquires data on reported philanthropic donations to Irish nonprofits from Candid. – a New York-based nonprofit that aggregates data on philanthropies and nonprofits in the US and around the world.

Benefacts is preparing to add further sources of public disclosure to its analysis of philanthropic giving – forthcoming in Q4 2020.

Fundraising nonprofits

While many nonprofits engage in fundraising as part of their routine work and report fund-raised income (as distinct from philanthropic gifts) in their accounts, about 64 nonprofits are set up solely as fundraising vehicles in support of a particular charity or purpose. In the main, these are the fundraising foundations of universities, hospitals and social care organisations.

Pending the introduction new financial reporting standards for charities (which will require them to report on the cost of raising funds), there is no readily available comparative data about fundraising costs across the sector. Benefacts uses the payroll expenditure of dedicated fundraising charities as a proxy for fundraising costs, and reports on this in its annual sector analysis reports.


Last updated 21 May 2020