This year’s report

Every year Benefacts publishes a sector analysis report using the most up to date data publicly available from a regulatory source for all of the nonprofit entities in its database. The financial data in this report relates to all incorporated nonprofits and charities with a financial year-end up to the end of December 2019.

This year was different, thanks to Covid-19.

Normally we use the first quarter of the year after the accounts have been filed to gather, check and analyse all of the data filed up until the end of the previous year, and publish this report at the beginning of Quarter 2.

In 2020, depending on the date of their annual return, some companies were given until 11th June 2021 to file their 2019 financial statements.

Accordingly, we deferred publication to the end of Q2 to make sure the dataset is comparable to those we have used in previous years’ reports.

In practice, most nonprofits filed their 2019 financial statements on time i.e. within eleven months of the end of their financial year. By 11th June, valid financial statements for 2019 had still not been received by Benefacts for 744 nonprofit companies or friendly societies that had been trading in 2018.



Data sources

Benefacts has accessed the available financial reports and other regulatory returns of 20,178 nonprofits (of which 11,342 are registered charities) in preparing this report. Data is frequently normalised and amalgamated from more than one source.

The data is derived from public disclosures to the Charities Regulator, the Companies Registration Office (CRO), the Library of the Oireachtas, the Registrar of Friendly Societies, Revenue, and the Standards in Public Office Commission. Published financial statements are the source for most of the financial and employment data in this report, and these are publicly available for 8,733 nonprofits (of which 4,598 are registered charities).

Still unavailable are the financial statements of 1,654 unincorporated charities whose combined turnover is about €1.79bn, despite the provisions of the Charities Act, S.54.

For the purpose of our analysis reports we also access the reported membership of local Public Participation Networks in 28 local authorities and the individual member entities of 2 Church bodies. These are not public regulatory sources which means the 14,153 local nonprofits in question are not given a listing on




Data currency – change of policy

The analysis is based on all of the data available for 2019 as at the first week of June 2021.

This year we have changed our policy in relation to estimating income in cases where this data is not available because the financial statements have been abridged or are not available for some other reason.

The 2014 reform of the Companies Act introduced a new provision for nonprofit companies to file abridged accounts. Each year since then, more of them have elected to do so, even in cases where they are also registered charities, although this trend is now levelling off. The Charities Regulator has sought to update the Charities Act to preclude this but this legislation has not yet been introduced.

Abridgement of accounts 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
All companies limited by guarantee 26.5% 36.8% 44.2% 45.8% 45.8%
All charities incorporated as companies 23.8% 31.8% 36.6% 36.7% 36.3%

Source: Benefacts

Since 2017, we used the financial statements of prior years to estimate income sources, in cases where the latest set of financial statements had been filed in abridged form and pending new reporting standards for charities. This was because we considered that on balance it was more important to provide an estimate based on recent data than to report that there was no income – which we knew not to be the case.

However, the interval since the last available set of full accounts is now up to 3 years (or more in a small number of cases), so we have decided to stop estimating to compensate for gaps in the data. In this and future reports we will analyse only the data that is publicly available for the year in question. This means that the profile of income for the entire sector and its component sub-sectors in this 2021 report cannot be directly compared with the analysis in our 2020 report.

The impact of this change is to create an apparent reduction of 5% in sector income at large with 2,091 organisations with previously reported income of €719,788,710 now excluded.


Employment and governance data

The number of reported employees in the nonprofit sector is derived from the published financial statements of 8,734 entities including 4,600 charities. This information is normally provided in the notes to the accounts.

In 189 cases where payroll costs have been reported but not numbers of employees, we have estimated employee numbers based on sector norms. We do not use the estimates of employee numbers reported on the public register of charities. There is no public source of data about employment numbers in primary and secondary schools (most of which are registered charities), so that is not included in this analysis.

The analysis of company directors including trustee-directors of charity companies is derived from compliance returns to the Companies Registration Office and information provided on the face of the register of charities but not published by the Charities Regulator as an open data file.


Classification change log



Registered name Benefacts ID Previous classification New classification

Source: Benefacts