According to the latest publicly available data, Ireland's nonprofit sector has at least 34,331 organisations.

The financial data in this report is limited to 8,733 organisations whose accounts are publicly available. 53% of these are registered charities.

Missing from our financial analysis of the sector are more than 23,997 local nonprofits. These are mostly schools, parishes, associations and clubs (including unincorporated charities) 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 2020 the number was 11,394 including 3,553 schools, an increase of 998 (of which 703 were schools) over 2019. Here is the list of charities that were added to the register during 2020. During 2020, 91 nonprofits were removed from the register of charities – click here for the list.

This represents a net increase of 907 in the number of charities on the register since Q1 2020. Benefacts analysis excludes registered charities that are also State bodies, since these do not fall into our definition of nonprofits, that is, organisations that are not part of the private sector or the public sector.

Institutional types in the nonprofit sector

About 10,225 of Ireland’s nonprofits are incorporated as companies and 3,965 are primary or secondary schools. 731 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.

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 2020, 465 new nonprofits were incorporated, and 214 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.

Irish nonprofits – breakdown by sector

Source: Benefacts