Friday 23 February 2018

Q. So charities are feeling the pinch?

Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

Q. So, charities are feeling the pinch?

A. Most definitely. Irish charities have been particularly badly affected by the recession. With donations and state funding tumbling, cuts have had to be made to wages, staff numbers and services in many of our main charitable organisations.

Q. How has state funding been affected?

A. The Wheel, an umbrella body for more than 900 charities, says state funding has fallen by between 8-10pc since 2009.

Q. Donations are also struggling, I suppose?

A. Irish people are still giving – just not as much as before. The National Council for the Blind has seen donations slump by 26pc to their lowest point in a decade. Plan Ireland has had a 10pc drop in donations.

Q. That's a worry. Are any charities in danger of going under?

A. That could well happen. Ireland has 8,342 registered charities. The argument could be made that there are too many different organisations, with some duplicating the work of others.

Q. How can some charities still afford to pay high salaries to their bosses?

A. Many charities have clearly decided they can't continue to pay as well as in the past, with pay freezes the norm and large cuts in executive salaries. Realistically, though, large charities will still have to shell out decent salaries if they are to attract the best candidates.

Q. How confident can I be that my donation will go to charitable works rather than to keeping a charity afloat?

A. The 40 charities surveyed by the Irish Independent spent an average of 84.5pc of their outlay on "charitable activities". This is down on figures from a similar survey of 30 leading Irish charities last year, which found 87pc on average went on charitable activities.

Q. So, on average, 15.5 cent from every euro I donate doesn't go to those in need. Where does it go?

A. This is the amount charities spend on things such and fundraising, administration and governance costs. Every charity is different, with varying fundraising and governance models.

Q. How does that compare internationally?

A. Its not too bad when compared to the top charities in Britain, where 21p in every pound goes on administration, governance and fundraising.

Irish Independent

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