Benefacts re-publishes extracts from the latest public domain filings of all nonprofits in scope. Updates to the data in Benefacts Database of Irish Nonprofits are made daily, and normally data has been added to the database no later than four weeks following receipt.
If there is no data or limited data on our website it is for one of three reasons.
Not all nonprofits – even big ones – are required to make publicly-disclosed returns. For example, sport is excluded in law from the definition of a charity. This means that some amateur sports governing bodies (like the GAA) that are constituted as unincorporated associations don’t file returns either to the Companies Registration Office (because they’re not companies) or to the Charities Regulator (because they’re not charities).
Many many small nonprofits likewise are neither incorporated nor regulated as charities. Some of these register with the Public Participation Network in the county where they are based, but there is no provision in law for these Networks to make their memberships available to the public in the form of open data.
For research or analysis purposes – including our sector analysis reports – Benefacts accesses data published by nonprofits themselves, but this is not republished on benefacts.ie because its re-use is not covered by open data regulations.
Micro companies including nonprofit companies are permitted (since 2017) to file their accounts using FRS 105. Small nonprofit companies are permitted since 2015 to file their accounts in abridged form. These accounts usually don’t provide information about income and expenditure.
Micro or small nonprofit companies – including charities – receiving Government funding are required to provide full accounts to their funders but these documents are not in the public domain.
Under the Charities Act 2009, the Charities Regulator has no power to direct charity companies as to the form in which they return financial statements to the Companies Registration Office.
The Charities Act 2009 provides for the Regulator to provide the public with access to the annual report and all filings attached to it (excluded from this provision are the filings of charities that are companies – since they file a set of accounts to the Companies Registration Office – and private charitable trusts).
The Regulator considers that this obligation is qualified by the requirement for regulations to be introduced governing the form in which such accounts are to be prepared. The Minister for Rural and Community Development is empowered to set such regulations but has not yet done so.
As a result, such financial statements as may have been filed since 2015 by unincorporated charities – mainly dioceses, congregations and orders of the Roman Catholic Church, philanthropies and charitable trusts and associations of various kinds – are unavailable to the public and their data is not included in Benefacts analysis.
Last updated 21 May 2020
At the end of July the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) wrote to say that they would provide no further funding for Benefacts after our current funding agreement expires on 31st December.
According to Minister Michael McGrath’s officials, the project “has met its initial policy rationale of assisting the development of a market for data on the nonprofit sector by stimulating demand from public bodies for such data”.
Despite our strenuous representations, DPER officials reconfirmed earlier this week that “this Department will not be providing further grants to Benefacts in 2021 following the expiration of the current Funding Agreement”. Accordingly the Board had no choice but to commence arrangements for winding up the company and terminating contracts including those with our 20 staff (15 full-time equivalents).