Surprise as charities' fundraising rises by 4pc to hit €4.9bn
DEFYING expectations, a new report shows that the Irish non-profit sector raised almost 4pc more in 2011 than in the previous year.
Its authors say that fundraising grew despite the lack of major developing world catastrophes in the year. In 2010 the Haiti earthquake resulted in healthy levels of fundraising but an increase was not expected for 2011.
However, the cost of fundraising is increasing. In 2011 charities spent 50.3 cents for every €1 they earned.
These findings were calculated by consultants to the non-profit 2into3 and charity insurer Ecclesiastical, based on 1,000 organisations.
Their report values the Irish non-profit sector for the first time. It is thought to be worth at least €4.9bn annually, employing 400,000 people.
Salaries for the "third sector" were found to make up 46pc of total expenditure. This figure is in some ways misleading, since part-time employees, FAS Community Employment workers and overseas workers are generally excluded from accounts.
Despite the size of the sector, the report says that it remains poorly regulated.
According to 2into3 director Neil Pope: "Given the sensitivity of the projects and importance of fundraising to so many sectors it is vital that the Government acts now to bring further peace of mind to donors and recipients alike."
2into3 has called on Justice Minister Alan Shatter to enforce the 2009 Charities Act. The act provides a clear definition of what will earn charitable status and enjoy tax exemptions, and imposes requirements on eligible organisations.
The report also found that the vast majority of non-profits are small organisations with an average staff size of 20. Almost half employed five or fewer people.
Some 38pc of those surveyed had an income under €100,000 and almost 80pc had an income under €500,000. Just one in eight had an income over €1m.
Around 15pc went to international charities. Religious organisations raised only 0.6pc of total income.
The number of charities fundraising for the same purpose was also flagged as a problem.