Monday 22 May 2017

Charities feel pinch after 15pc decline in donations

Aideen Sheehan

Aideen Sheehan

DONATIONS to major charities have fallen by up to 15pc this year.

Agencies say they are feeling the pinch on how much people can give despite a recent report from the Charities Aid Foundation which found we were the second most charitable country in the world.

Concern Worldwide said emergency-linked donations to international disasters were down from about €12m in 2010 to €5m this year, while overall public donations were down about 15pc in the year.

Its director of public affairs Richard Dixon said this reflected the unprecedented response in 2010 to the Haiti earthquake and Pakistani floods. Donations in response to the Somali famine this year, though generous, were not on the same scale.

There were also significantly fewer corporate and major donations, with far fewer lucrative events such as golf classics.

"What we are seeing as well is that though the number of donors is constant, the amount they are giving is smaller," said Mr Dixon.

Gorta said they expected overall donations would be down again. They had noticed a drop in sales of lifetime gifts immediately after the Budget. Fundraising income had fallen by 11pc in 2009, and another 8pc in 2010 to €6.1m, a spokesperson said.

Oxfam said income had fallen with the exception of the tremendous response to their East Africa Emergency Appeal.

Donations of goods to their shops here have fallen 40pc.

"Oxfam's income has decreased during the year, with fewer people donating less money than previously as they themselves are affected by the economic downturn," said head of fundraising Peter Anderson.

The Jack and Jill Foundation, which supports critically ill children, came out slightly ahead on fundraising over the previous year but had to work harder for it, said its chief executive Jonathan Irwin.

They had raised about €2.5m in 2011, with state funding contributing another €500,000, but that was set to be cut further in the new year.

"We're looking down the barrel of another reduction in government funding of 4.5pc, which will mean total cuts of 15pc over the past three years," he said.

Trocaire said they had seen sales of Christmas Global Gifts plummet by 50pc over the past three years to €2m.

The agency expects funds raised through its appeal to decrease slightly on last year, but the number of gifts bought had actually increased by 7pc.

"It is a remarkable show of Irish people's generosity that more Trocaire Christmas gifts have been sold this year than last year," said director Justin Kilcullen.

"This is at a time when so many are unemployed or worried about the economy."

Massive

The Irish Red Cross said fundraising income was on a par with last year.

It tended to be reactive to emergencies, so there had been a massive response to Haiti last year, and also a big response to the Japan earthquake and to floods in Dublin in October, said spokesperson Rebecca Thorn.

The Irish Cancer Society said that 2011 had been a difficult year and they had seen some of their regular sources of income suffer, although campaigns such as Daffodil Day continued to perform well.

Fundraising was on a par with last year, but "both 2010 and 2011 have been extremely challenging years", a spokesperson said.

The Wheel, which represents hundreds of charities and local community groups, said a survey of 128 members found that almost half (47pc) experienced a drop in donations in the first six months of 2011.

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Irish Independent

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