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Benefacts Analysis 2021

  • 34,331 Organisations
  • 164,922 Employees
  • 93,451 Directors/charity trustees
  • €13.9bn Turnover
  • €6.2bn State funding

Ireland’s nonprofit sector has many very small organisations and relatively few larger ones.

This is the fifth annual Nonprofit Sector analysis prepared by Benefacts, using currently available data derived from more than 40 sources.

Use the report to learn more about Ireland’s Nonprofit Sector, its governance, people and funding.

Nonprofit sector

Ireland’s nonprofit sector has 34,331 organisations. About 10,225 nonprofits are incorporated as companies, 3,965 are primary or secondary schools, 731 more are incorporated as friendly societies, cooperatives, industrial societies, political parties or charter bodies. The rest – including thousands of local, religious or sports organisations – are unincorporated associations.

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93,451 people serve in the governance of Irish nonprofits and charities.

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The Nonprofit Sector in Ireland has at least 164,922 paid employees. This number doesn’t include teachers – who are paid directly by Government – or unpaid volunteers.

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At €6.2bn, Government was the biggest single source of funding to the Nonprofit Sector in 2019. This was 8.1% of all current Government spending that year – but the profile varies a lot from sector to sector.

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Since our last report

In the twelve months since we prepared the 2020 report,

  • the number of registered charities grew by 998 (703 of these were schools)
  • 91 charities were de-registered by the Charities Regulator under S.40 of the Charities Act. 6 of these are still to be found on the Companies Register
  • the number of charities availing of tax relief increased from 7,184 to 7,314; 52 were removed from the list published by Revenue in the course of the year and 182 were added
  • the number of charities permitted to receive tax-efficient gifts shrunk from 2,438 to 2,422, with 149 removed from the list published by Revenue and 133 added in the course of the year
  • the number of sports bodies availing of tax relief grew from 2,597 to 2,668, with 1 removed from the list published by Revenue and 72 added in the course of the year
  • the number of nonprofit companies grew with 465 new incorporations and 214 wind-ups

This report

Benefacts Database of Irish Nonprofits is the source of all of the data and analysis on this website. We compile the database from more than 10 public sources, including the Companies Registration Office and the Charities Regulator, and the records of 27 Public Participation Networks. We clean and aggregate it and re-publish the public data here as a free service.


Information about individual nonprofits is updated regularly as they file fresh information with public regulators. Our 2021 analysis is a macro level snapshot of the whole sector, prepared with data that was available at the end of Q2.