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Saturday 30 September 2023 Dublin: 12°C
# charities regulator
Irish charities have an annual income of €14.5 billion and employ 189,000 people
Some 300,000 volunteers donate 67.9 million hours per year.

Graphic Indecon Indecon

REGISTERED IRISH CHARITIES have an annual income of €14.5 billion, figures released today show.

These organisations directly employ 189,000 people and are supported by 300,000 volunteers, according to research on the social and economic impact of charities in Ireland.

A report by Indecon International Economic Consultants, commissioned by the Charities Regulator, shows that registered Irish charities have a direct, indirect and induced expenditure of €24.98 billion and support 289,000 employees.

Induced expenditure relates to the income of households whose members are employed in, or whose jobs are supported by, the expenditure of charitable organisations in Ireland.

Indecon’s analysis uses data from the Register of Charities at the end of 2017, including information from annual reports provided to the Charities Regulator. Financial information regarding 5,746 charities was analysed as well as data from the Central Statistics Office.

Charities Regulator Chief Executive John Farrelly said the report “highlights the wide diversity of organisations which are registered as charities in Ireland”.

“At one end of the scale there are large hospitals and universities with budgets funded by the Exchequer, extending to hundreds of millions of euro, and hundreds of paid staff. Many of these are large charities engaged in delivering critical health, education and social services.

At the other end of the scale, there are completely volunteer-led organisations, providing services at community level, with small budgets.

The report is due to be launched later today by the Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development, Seán Kyne.

It shows that government and public bodies are the largest source of income for registered charities, accounting for more than half the total funding (€7.7 billion).

The report also shows that some 300,000 volunteers donate 67.9 million hours (an average of 226 hours annually per volunteer). Based on the minimum wage, this is worth €649 million per year.

Some of the report’s main findings are as follows:


  • €14.5 billion of income was reported by organisations on the Register of Charities. Indecon estimates that if account is taken of organisations that did not report their financial data, this figure could rise to €16 billion (equal to 5.8% of GDP)
  • Just 2.8% of charities reported income of over €10 million, but they accounted for 79.3% of the total income of registered charities
  • Hospitals and other health organisations (€3.1 billion) and higher education and research organisations (just under €3 billion) reported the highest income within the sub-sectors used in the report
  • In contrast, over half of registered charities had an income of less than €250,000


  • It is estimated that there are 188,714 people employed in charitable organisations
  • The majority of these (79%) are employed by charities with reported income of over €10 million. Over 55,000 are estimated to work in hospitals and other healthcare organisations, with 38,000 in higher education and research organisations
  • More than half (53%) of charity employees are in registered charities supported by government expenditure


  • The estimate for household charitable donations in 2018 is €350 million
  • The average weekly household donation in 2015 was €3.75

This report is the first piece of research commissioned by the Charities Regulator as part of its function to publish information concerning charities.

Farrelly said the report’s findings will assist the Regulator in its work to monitor and regulate charities as well as helping donors, beneficiaries and the public to “broaden and deepen their understanding of the role of charities in modern Ireland”.

The report’s findings highlight the need for the following:

  • Infrastructure to support volunteering in registered Irish charities, particularly in the 18-34 age groups
  • Infrastructure to increase and support philanthropy and donations to Irish charities
  • Regulation which recognises the diversity of registered Irish charities; it needs to be particularly sensitive to the large number of volunteer-led, low-income and grassroots charities

The full report can be read on the Charities Regulator website.

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