'Tough' year as charities close doors and cut back on services
CHARITIES described 2012 as a "tough" year for fundraising as many cut their pay bills, consolidated services and some closed their doors for a period to save money.
Umbrella group The Wheel, which represents 900 Irish charities, including Concern, Irish Cancer Society and Special Olympics Ireland, said it had been "very difficult" for those trying to raise money.
"In fact, it has been four difficult years because there is less and less money in people's pockets," said The Wheel chief executive Deirdre Garvey.
"It has moved beyond cutting costs – that was done two years ago. Charities are now cutting services."
The income of the entire charity sector amounted to around €5.7bn in 2009 – with around 50pc of the monies coming from the State. Around 100,000 people are employed in the sector, with around 560,000 volunteers.
Ms Garvey forecast that a major source of monies for charities in 2013 would be text donations.
Children's charity Barnardos has confirmed it will close its offices for a week next August to save money – it will be the second time in 12 months. It has already cut staff pay and made 14 people redundant as it faces into a deficit of around €600,000 this year.
Ashley Balbirnie, chief executive of the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children ( ISPCC), said it raises just under 90pc of its own funding.
"Our income is down between 6pc and 7pc this year," he said.
The charity – which runs the Childline helpline – expects its income will be around €5.6m to €5.7m by year end, with a deficit of around €500,000.
Homeless charity Focus Ireland's fundraising director Lisa-Nicole Dunne said it had been challenging in terms of raising cash, whilst demand for their services was surging.
"People have less to give. The Budget has hit people," she said.
The charity was a couple of hundred thousand euro short of its fundraising target from voluntary contributions of €5.5m but hoped to break even by year end.
Lisa O'Shea, from overseas international aid charity Goal, said it has been "tough" with so many people in Ireland hit by the economic conditions.
"For the overseas aid agencies it has been difficult," Ms O'Shea said. "But the public still put their hands in their pockets and turn up at events."