The future of Benefacts is uncertain. Find out more

According to the latest publicly available data, Ireland's nonprofit sector has at least 32,841 organisations.



The financial data in this report is limited to 10,357 organisations whose accounts are publicly available. 64% of these are registered charities.

Missing from our financial analysis of the sector are more than 22,484 local nonprofits. These are mostly schools, parishes, associations and clubs (including unincorporated charities) which don’t publish accounts or for which there is no regulatory source of publicly available financial data.

Regulation of Irish nonprofits

Some nonprofits are regulated as charities: at the end of 2019 the number was 10,470 including 2,850 schools, an increase of 845 (of which 454 were schools) over 2018. Here is the list of charities that were added to the register during 2019. During 2019, 133 nonprofits were removed from the register of charities – click here for the list.

This represents a net increase of 715 in the number of charities on the register since Q1 2019. This analysis excludes registered charities that are also State bodies, since these do not fall into Benefacts definition of the nonprofit sector.

Institutional types in the nonprofit sector

About 9,854 of Ireland’s nonprofits are incorporated as companies and 3,948 are primary or secondary schools. 787 more are incorporated as cooperatives, friendly or industrial societies, political parties or charter bodies. The rest – including thousands of local, religious or sports organisations – are unincorporated trusts or associations. Most nonprofits are not incorporated in any way.

Institutional types

Some incorporated nonprofits are long-established institutions – it’s less easy to discover the date of establishment of unincorporated organisations. Many were established between 2000 and 2010, often as special purpose vehicles to provide job creation, local development, social supports and other arms’ length services on behalf of the State. During 2019, 540 new nonprofits were incorporated, and 278 were wound up.

Incorporation dates of Irish nonprofit companies

Source: Benefacts

Geographic distribution of Irish nonprofits

Nonprofit organisations – NGOs, religious bodies including churches, social enterprises, clubs, societies, associations – are to be found in every part of Ireland.

Geographic distribution of Irish nonprofits

Source: Benefacts

Nonprofits – breakdown by sector

The greatest number of nonprofits are in the local development, recreation/sports, and education/research sectors. The smallest sectors are international and advocacy. These numbers have changed since the 2019 report thanks to the addition of more religious organisations and locally-registered entities.

Irish nonprofits – breakdown by sector

Source: Benefacts

Benefacts future is uncertain

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).