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Two thirds of charities report increase in demand for services

The past three years have seen a surge in demand for the service of charities – but also a significant drop in income – according to a new report.

More people are searching for a helping hand, according to the report.
More people are searching for a helping hand, according to the report.
Image: GrowWear via Creative Commons/Flickr

TWO THIRDS OF Irish charities have experienced an increase in demand for their services over the past three years, according to a new research report published today.

However, despite the apparent increase in need, the report shows that almost 60 per cent of charities have seen a reduction in their income over the same period. A third (34 per cent) reported both a drop in income and an increase in service users.

In response to the increase in demand coupled reduced income, many charities are attempting to secure efficiencies by collaborating and reducing the scale of their activities – but almost one fifth say they have been forced to cut services.

The largest savings been made on staff, with 36 per cent of nonprofits having introduced pay freezes and a quarter having reduced pay.

“Charities are responding to deep cuts in statutory funding, a decline in public donations and an increasing demand for their services by cutting costs, but many organisations are now stretched to the limit, and it is very likely that we will see a further cuts in areas such as disability services, social housing and youth services,” Deirdre Garvey of Chief Executive of The Wheel.

Other key findings

The study found that just one third of charities believe it’s possible to develop a new approach to earning income to make up for fall-offs in traditional funding.

Organisations also pointed out that while the number of volunteers has increased over the last three years, the recruiting, training and supervising volunteers still present major challenges.

The report also found that:

  • Almost 30 per cent of Irish nonprofits do not fundraise from members of the public
  • The sector’s workforce is three-quarters female and growing
  • Twenty per cent of nonprofits are still unaware of the Charities Act 2009, and of those that are aware, only 60 per cent are prepared for the requirements

The study, A Portrait of Ireland’s Nonprofit Sector, included 506 charities and was conducted by RSM McClure Watters in association with the Northern Irish Council of Voluntary Action (NICVA) and Whitebarn Consulting.

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