Nonprofit company directors and charity trustees are accountable to stakeholders rather than to owners or investors. They are responsible for governance standards - including compliance with mandatory regulation and voluntary codes - and disclosure standards. Read more about where Benefacts gets data on nonprofit directors and charity trustees.

  • 93,451 people currently serve in the governance of Ireland’s regulated nonprofits (up by 8% on the number reported in 2020). At least 4,800 of them serve on multiple boards, more than 2,000 of whom serve on the board of a company and a charity.
  • 50,774 directors serve on 10,100 nonprofit company Boards,  4,955 of which are registered charities. This means there are 31,812 people who are director/trustees of incorporated charities.
  • 42,678 people serve on the boards of 6,100 charities that are not incorporated.

Number of directors and trustees on nonprofit boardsSource: Benefacts 2021

Governance profile of Irish nonprofits

While a nonprofit board typically has six members, the number is slightly higher for charities (seven) than non-charities (four). These averages are unchanged since our 2020 report. The largest boards are in education and research and the smallest in philanthropy and voluntarism, environment and international. Limited governance data is available for sports and religious organisations.

Board size

Average number of nonprofit board membersSource: Benefacts 2021

Profile of nonprofit board service

On average, nonprofit directors/charity trustees serve for 6 consecutive years. The longest average term of service is in local development, and philanthropy and voluntarism (average 7 years) and the shortest is in health, and advocacy (average 4 years)


23% of the directors/charity trustees of Irish nonprofits have served for more than 9 years – considered the maximum appropriate term for good governance.

The sectors with the greatest number of long-serving directors/charity trustees are Local Development & Housing (38%) and Recreation & Sports (36%); the sector with the lowest is Education, Research at 10%

Gender balance on the boards of Irish nonprofits

Drill down menu click on a sector for a further breakdown.

Gender balance of nonprofit boards by sector

Source: Benefacts

Our analysis of the gender profile of nonprofit boards indicates men outnumber women, with men making up 57% of nonprofit board seats. The profile of charities is slightly different with women making up 47% and men 53% of all board seats.

Age Profile

The average age of all nonprofit directors/charity trustees is 58.

Average age of nonprofit directors/charity trustees by sector

Source: Benefacts