FAQs

Benefacts 2019
About the data

About the data

Benefacts Database of Irish Nonprofits is the source of all of the data and analysis on this website. 

We compile the database from more than 10 public sources, including the Companies Registration Office and the Charities Regulator, as well as 27 Public Participation Networks. We clean and aggregate it and publish it here as a free service.

Information about individual nonprofits is updated regularly as they file fresh information with public regulators. Our 2019 analysis is a macro level snapshot of the whole sector, prepared with data that was available in Q1 in that year. We will publish the next annual analysis at the end of Q1 2020.

Variability in the way nonprofits provide information to their respective regulators, and in how these regulators make that data public, means that comparative analysis across the entire sector year-on-year is still generally not available. As the contents of the database stabilise in future years, we will be able to report on broad sectoral trends. Meanwhile if you are interested in more information about specific datasets or sub sectors, contact us.

Information about the data will be updated here as it becomes available, with earlier FAQ articles dated and archived on this site.

Data updates

In the twelve months since we prepared the 2018 report, we have updated data for about 11,500 locally-registered nonprofits, derived from the websites of Public Participation Networks in 27 local authority areas around Ireland. Before now, fewer than 20% of the nonprofits listed on these local networks were included in our database (because they are incorporated as companies or registered as charities) the rest are mostly local voluntary clubs and societies.

Also during 2018,

  • the number of registered charities grew in absolute terms by 1,321 (792 of them schools)
  • 524 charities were de-registered by Revenue under S.40 of the Charities Act
  • in addition, 55 charities were deregistered by the Charities Regulator, of which 6 are still to be found on the companies register
  • the number of charities availing of tax relief contracted from 7,505 to 7,131; 588 were removed from the list published by Revenue in the course of the year and 214 were added
  • the number of charities permitted to receive tax-efficient gifts grew from 2,440 to 2,462, with 73 removed from the list published by Revenue and 95 added in the course of the year
  • the number of sports bodies availing of tax relief grew from 2,497 to 2,548, with 27 removed from the list published by Revenue and 78 added in the course of the year

Where nonprofits have been deregistered as charities by the Charities Regulator but are still trading as companies, our policy is to keep their listing on Benefacts.ie and include them in our analysis.

Where nonprofit companies have been dissolved, we retain historic information in our database but remove their listing from Benefacts.ie.

Trends in disclosure

The data on nonprofits available from public sources is subject to some significant restrictions and exclusions. The three most material ones are summarised below.

Disclosure by regulators

Whereas a summary statement of reported income and expenditure is published on the public register of charities, the financial statements of some 5,000 unincorporated charities – 50% of all registered charities – are still not publicly available. These have been filed with the Charities Regulator since 2016 but are not yet published by the regulator

Regulatory disclosure by nonprofit companies including charities

The trend for nonprofits (including charities) to publish their financial statements in abridged form has grown steadily since this facility was introduced for companies limited by guarantee (CLGs) in the 2014 Companies Act. Abridgement of the published accounts of nonprofit companies grew from 36% (2016) to 44% (2017), and from 32% to 37% among incorporated charities. Read more about abridgement here.

In 2018, a small number (5%) of nonprofit companies including charities have elected to file their accounts using a very restricted form of reporting: FRS 105 instead of FRS102 – read more about this here.

Although the standards for disclosure by companies are set out in regulations under the Companies Act, 2014 – including standards to be followed in the annual report and financial statements – not all nonprofit companies comply with these. In financial statements filed in 2018,

  • 15% did not comply with the statutory requirement to report on payroll costs
  • 3% did not comply with the statutory requirement to report on numbers of full-time equivalent employees 
  • 57% did not report on the remuneration of higher paid employees in bands of €10,000 (this could be because no employees are higher paid)
     

 Voluntary disclosure by nonprofits including charities

The number of charities electing to file their accounts using the Statement of Recommended Practice for Charities (or Charities SORP) grew by 4% in 2018 over 2017, with 562 charities now using this voluntary standard. Read more about this here.

The number of nonprofits electing to adopt and comply with the Code of Practice for Good Governance of Community, Voluntary and Charitable Organisations in Ireland (the “CVC code”) has grown by 19% in 2018 over 2017, with 593 nonprofits now using this voluntary standard.
 

Learn more

Learn more about Benefacts Database of Irish Nonprofits, and how Benefacts classifies and organises it, by using the FAQs below.

These are updated regularly which means there may be discrepancies between the reported analysis for a given year – based on data available on 28th February in the following year – and the latest available data.

Sources of the data on benefacts.ie

Sources of the data on benefacts.ie

Where does Benefacts get its data on Irish nonprofits?

A. Benefacts re-uses public information under the terms of Re-Use of Public Information regulations

Sometimes, Benefacts gets data on individual nonprofits from more than one source - for example, a school may also be a registered company; a friendly society may also be a registered charity.

Here a list of the principal public sources of Irish nonprofit data, the format in which the data is published, the data acquired, and the frequency with which Benefacts accesses it. Benefacts does not ‘scrape’ data from the websites of individual nonprofits.

Not all of the data in Benefacts Database of Irish Nonprofits is republished on this website. In the case of most of the Public Participation Networks, Benefacts sources data from their websites for anonymised, aggregate analysis only. 

Local or community-based organisations that are listed exclusively on Public Participation Networks – not incorporated or registered as charities – constitute 34% of all nonprofit organisations in Ireland for which data is currently available, and their data is harvested for research purposes only.

Absent Data

When the 2019 analysis was being prepared, there was no data publicly available about Public Participation Networks (PPNs) in four local authority areas: Donegal, Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown, Limerick, Roscommon.

Overseas data

In addition to these public sources of data about Irish nonprofits, Benefacts has an agreement with a sister nonprofit for the acquisition of data from public sources internationally about the scale and profile of giving from philanthropic and government sources abroad.

Kinds of nonprofit

Data Source Data format Data content Accessed by Benefacts

Carlow-registered nonprofits

Carlow PPN Website content Names, PPN numbers where available Quarterly

Cavan-registered nonprofits

Cavan PPN  Website content Names, PPN numbers where available Quarterly

Charities eligible for relief from tax

Revenue Commissioners Open data file Charitable tax exemption (Taxes Consolidation Act S. 848a) Monthly

Charities eligible for relief on charitable donations 

Revenue Commissioners Open data file Charitable tax exemption (Taxes Consolidation Act S.207) Monthly

Clare-registered nonprofits

Clare PPN  Website content Names, PPN numbers where available Quarterly

Companies

Companies Registration Office Digital feed, image files Director appointments and resignations; company status; contents of annual returns, company constitutions, financial statements  Daily, via commercial re-seller

Cork City-registered nonprofits

Cork City PPN  Website content

Names, PPN numbers where available

Quarterly

Cork County-registered nonprofits

Cork County PPN  Website content Names, PPN numbers where available Quarterly

Dublin City-registered nonprofits

Dublin City PPN Website content Names, PPN numbers where available Quarterly

Fingal-registered nonprofits

Fingal PPN Website content Names, PPN numbers where available Quarterly

Friendly, Industrial & Provident Societies

Companies Registration Office Image files Trade union, cooperative, friendly society financial statements Annually, from files published by the Registrar

Galway City-registered nonprofits

Galway City PPN  Website content Names, PPN numbers where available Quarterly

Galway-registered nonprofits

Galway PPN  Website content Names, PPN numbers where available Quarterly

Kerry-registered nonprofits

Kerry PPN 

Website content

Names, PPN numbers where available

Quarterly

Kildare-registered nonprofits

Kildare PPN  Website content Names, PPN numbers where available Quarterly

Kilkenny-registered nonprofits

Kilkenny PPN  Website content Names, PPN numbers where available Quarterly

Laois-registered nonprofits

Laois PPN  Website content Names, PPN numbers where available Quarterly

Leitrim-registered nonprofits

Leitrim PPN  Website content Names, PPN numbers where available Quarterly

Longford-registered nonprofits

Longford PPN  Website content Names, PPN numbers where available Quarterly

Louth-registered nonprofits

Louth PPN  Website content Names, PPN numbers where available Quarterly

Mayo-registered nonprofits

Mayo PPN Website content Names, PPN numbers where available Quarterly

Meath-registered nonprofits

Meath PPN  Website content Names, PPN numbers where available Quarterly

Monaghan-registered nonprofits

Monaghan PPN  Website content Names, PPN numbers where available Quarterly

Nonprofits that have elected to comply with the Governance Code

The Governance Code* Online register of compliant entities Adherence to the Community and Voluntary Sector Governance Code Monthly

Offaly-registered nonprofits

Offaly PPN  Website content Names, PPN numbers where available Quarterly

Political parties

Standards in Public Office Commission  Image files Political parties’ statements of accounts Annually

Registered charities

Charities Regulator Open data file and online public register of charities  Name, address and registration number;charitable purpose and activities, income and expenditure; trustee names and dates of appointment; average number of employees Weekly, from the public website of the Regulator

Schools - primary and post-primary 

Department of Education and Skills Open data file Name, roll number, address, local authority area Annually

Sligo-registered nonprofits

Sligo PPN Website content Names, PPN numbers where available Quarterly

Social housing providers

Housing Agency Online public register of registered entities Adherence to the Voluntary Code for social housing providers Monthly

South Dublin County-registered nonprofits

South Dublin County PPN  Website content Names, PPN numbers where available Quarterly

Sports bodies eligible for tax relief

Revenue Commissioners Open data file   Monthly

Statutory or charter bodies including higher education, healthcare providers

Library of the Houses of the Oireachtas Image files Constitutions, annual reports Monthly

Tipperary-registered nonprofits

Tipperary PPN  Website content Names, PPN numbers where available Quarterly

Waterford-registered nonprofits

Waterford PPN  Website content Names, PPN numbers where available Quarterly

Westmeath-registered nonprofits

Westmeath PPN Website content Names, PPN numbers where available Quarterly

Wexford-registered nonprofits

Wexford PPN  Website content Names, PPN numbers where available Quarterly

Wicklow-registered nonprofits

Wicklow PPN  Website content Names, PPN numbers where available Quarterly
         

* Not a public regulatory source – re-used with the permission of the monitoring group.

 

Last updated 31st March 2019

What does “open data” mean?

A. Open data is data that anyone can access, use and share. Under Irish law, Public Sector data is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence. This licence lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon data, even commercially, as long as they credit the originator for the original creation. CC-BY is recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials. Under the CC-BY Licence, users must acknowledge the source of the Information in their product or application. 

Only some of the public data sourced by Benefacts is ‘machine-readable’. In many cases, we have to convert it from image files into digital content. 

Usually the data has been licensed by its Public Sector publisher 'as is'. This means that the information provider and/or licensor in each case excludes all liabilities in relation to the data, is not liable for any errors or omissions, or for any loss, injury or damage of any kind caused by its use. Nor do public information providers guarantee the continued supply of the data. Benefacts makes it available on the same terms.

 

Last updated 31st March 2019

How does Benefacts process Open Data?

A

Where the open data is provided in the form of a digital file, we review the contents, check them against prior data from the same source and data about the same organisation from other sources, and import them to the database, archiving old data where relevant. 

Where the open data takes the form of a document (or image file), we analyse and re-key the contents. We redact all personal data before re-publishing such files on Benefacts.ie, and hash personal data such as directors’ dates of birth.

Only some of the data we acquire is re-published on Benefacts.ie. The rest is used to inform our annual sector analysis reports and other data services. 

In re-using data under open data license terms from multiple sources, Benefacts has taken all reasonable care in preparing and publishing information and analysis on www.benefacts.ie using documents retrieved from regulatory sources, including financial statements prepared by third parties. We cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information contained and accept no responsibility for errors and omissions.

Last updated 31st March 2019

How come the data on Benefacts is sometimes different to the data on the register of charities?

A. The public register of charities includes only charities that have been placed on the register either because 

a) they had charitable status from Revenue in October 2016 and automatically were deemed to be a charity under S.40 of the Charities Act – you can recognise them because their registered charity number (RCN) begins with 200 if they are on the register by virtue of S.40 of the Charities Act, 

b) they have subsequently applied successfully to the regulator to be included on the register of charities under Section 39 of the Act, in which case their registered number begins with 201

Charities are required by law to file certain information with the Charities Regulator, and to maintain it up to date.  The Regulator makes some of this information available to the public, and maintains a public register of charities which it publishes on its website.

Benefacts.ie includes all nonprofits, using criteria first established by the Johns Hopkins comparative nonprofit sector project. These include sports bodies, business associations, political parties and other kinds of nonprofit entity excluded from the definition of a charity in Irish law. Charities are a subset of all nonprofits. Benefacts gets data about charities (and other kinds of nonprofits) from more than one regulatory source – sometimes from many. As a general rule, Benefacts does not receive any data directly from nonprofits.

About 4,750 charities are incorporated as companies or friendly societies and besides filing a return to the Charities Regulator these are also required by law to make returns to the Companies Registration Office. Click here to see the current list of these incorporated charities – they represent about half of all registered charities. 

 

Public bodies excluded from Benefacts analysis

The public register of charities includes a small number of public bodies thanks to the provisions of S.40 of the Charities Act 2009. They already had charitable status from Revenue on the day when the Charities Act was commenced.

However these public bodies are also listed on the register of public bodies which is maintained by the Central Statistics Office. Benefacts does not include public bodies on this website or in our analysis of the Third Sector, because the definition of a nonprofit which we follow excludes entities that are institutionally attached to Government.

 

Last updated 31st March 2019

Why does Benefacts have so little information about sports bodies?

A. Ireland has many thousands of local sports clubs and societies, but the only ones listed on this website are those that have filed a regulatory return with a public authority (e.g. Revenue, to avail of tax relief).

The Charities Act excludes sport from the definition of a charity. Benefacts gets information on sports bodies from Revenue, which lists those that have tax relief status, and from the Companies Registration Office in the case of those that are incorporated. Click here to see the list of nearly 3,000 sports bodies in Benefacts Database of Irish Nonprofits.

Many sports clubs are registered with their local Public Participation Network (PPN). These are included in Benefacts annual analysis of the sector, but not listed on Benefacts.ie, because the PPNs are not public bodies.

Where no data or limited data is provided on www.benefacts.ie it is because

  • the nonprofit in question is not regulated by any public body, and/or
  • the registrar/regulator of the nonprofit in question has not published the data or licensed it for re-use, and/or
  • the nonprofit has not provided it to the regulator

Last updated 31st March 2019

Why has Benefacts got so little information about religious organisations?

A. Religion is defined as a charitable purpose under the Charities Act and most religious organisations are registered charities, hence listed on Benefacts.ie.

Some religious bodies are incorporated as companies, and in general these file returns to the Companies Registration Office, including financial statements which are published by the Registrar of Companies. 

Unincorporated religious organisations – about 7% of all charities – file annual returns to the Charities Regulator, and extracts of these returns appear on the public register of charities. Their financial statements are not made publicly available by the Charities Regulator.

Many local religious organisations such as parishes are registered with their local Public Participation Network (PPN). These are included in Benefacts annual analysis of the sector, but not listed on Benefacts.ie, because PPNs are not public bodies.

 

Last updated 31st March 2019

Why has Benefacts got so little information about schools?

A. A small number of schools are incorporated as companies: detailed governance and financial data about these is available from the Companies Registration Office, and republished on Benefacts.ie. Education is defined as a charitable purpose under the Charities Act

Benefacts gets information on 3,176 primary, 736 post-primary and 138 special schools from the public website of the Department of Education and Skills, and in certain cases from the Public Register of Charities, where in Q1 2019, 2,220 schools were listed as registered charities. Limited data is available from both of these public sources.

 

Last updated 31st March 2019

What is a Public Participation Network?

A. Public Participation Networks (PPNs) were created in Ireland under Section 46 of the Local Government Act, 2014, although there are no regulations providing for their form and structure and in practice these vary from county to county. Environmental, social inclusion, community and voluntary groups register to join the PPN in their local area, as a means of facilitating greater engagement betweencitizens and their local authority.

The Department of Rural & Community Development publishes a PPN user guide, and provides public information and reports about PPNs on its website. This includes a list of the websites where each local network publishes the current list of its members. Benefacts has used the information on these websites to support its analysis of the Third Sector. Benefacts does not access any personal data, nor does it republish any data published from PPN websites, and stores it only for the purposes of research and analysis.

At the end of Q1 2019 when Benefacts prepared its sector analysis report, no data was available for PPNs in Donegal, Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown, Limerick or Roscommon. 

In the case of Fingal Public Participation Network, Benefacts has reached a data sharing agreement which results in Fingal PPN members being identified as such on Benefacts.ie. We hope to reach similar agreements with other local PPNs in the future.

 

Last updated 31st March 2019

Ireland's third sector

Ireland's third sector

Who decides what gets counted as a “nonprofit”?

A. An international collaborative research project at Johns Hopkins University devised this way of defining civil society organisations, and it is now adopted for international statistical analysis purposes by bodies like the UN and Eurostat. 

We use “nonprofit” to signify that an organisation is

  1. organised: with some kind of formality and institutional reality;
  2. private: institutionally separate from government;
  3. non-profit distributing: not returning any surpluses generated to members or owners;
  4. self-governing: in a position to control their own activities and have their own internal procedures for governance
  5. voluntary: participation in these organisations must not be mandatory.

To be included in Benefacts Database of Irish Nonprofits, it must meet all of this criteria. This means that most registered charities are included in Benefacts Database of Irish Nonprofits (although not those that are institutionally connected to Government). The database also includes other kinds of civil society organisations such as – political parties, chambers of commerce, trades unions, professional associations, sports bodies.

 

Last updated 31st March 2019

Tell me more about nonprofit companies​

A. Benefacts generally uses "nonprofit companies" to mean Irish companies limited by guarantee without share capital (CLGs), incorporated under the Companies Act, 2014. A small number of nonprofit companies are established as designated activity companies ("DACs"). An even smaller number are established by share, where the shareholder is a charity.

Last updated 31st March 2019

Why are schools counted as “nonprofits”

A. According to Section 51 of the Education Act 1998, a school is body corporate which (a) provides primary education to its students and which may also provide early childhood education, or (b) provides post-primary education to its students and which may also provide courses in adult, continuing or vocational education or vocational training.

Although most school teachers are paid directly by the State, and are counted as public servant equivalents (and not included in Benefacts analysis of employment in the sector), most schools are owned by and operated independently of the State under the patronage of one or other religious denomination. See the website of the Department of Education and Skills for a list of patronage groups.

Last updated 31st March 2019

How come all nonprofits aren’t charities?

A. Benefacts provides information about the entire Third Sector –organisations that are not part of the Public or Private Sectors. Charities area subset of these. 

Nonprofits whose purposes are charitable (as defined in the Charities Act, 2009), and are for public benefit are required by law to register as charities, so long as they are not excluded from the defintition of a charity.

Last updated 31st March 2019

How does this website differ from the Charities Register?

A. Benefacts.ie provides information on 20,000 nonprofits for which data is publicly available under Open Data Regulations – this is more than twice the number of registered charities. 

Benefacts publishes additional information on charities that are incorporated as companies or friendly societies, including compliance with voluntary codes and a detailed analysis of financial income where full accounts have been filed. In the case of 4,150 companies and friendly societies that are not charities, Benefacts is the only public source of this aggregate data.

Benefacts is a CLG without regulatory powers or responsibilities. We aggregate, augment, structure, publish and analyse data on all nonprofits in a way that makes their work more accessible and transparent to the public, mainly by publishing it on this free public website.

 

Last updated 31st March 2019

How does Benefacts classify nonprofits into sectors and sub-sectors?

A. In consultation with sector leaders, Benefacts adapted the international classification standard for nonprofit organisations. The main value of classification into sectors and sub-sectors is that it supports comparative and trend analysis including transnational comparison.

The evidence for how an organisation should be classified usually comes from its constitution or its regulatory declarations. We classify each nonprofit into one of the sub-sectors listed below. 

Use our advanced search functionality to the learn more about the nonprofits in each of these sub-sectors.

Section Sub Sectors
1. Arts, culture, media 

heritage and visitor attractions

media, film

museums and libraries

2. Recreation, sports

sports organisations 

recreational clubs, societies

agricultural fairs

3.

Education, research

primary education

secondary education 

education support

research

adult and continuing education

pre-primary education

third-level education

vocational and technical education

4.

Health

health services and health promotion

mental health services

hospitals

addiction support

residential care centres

hospices

residential mental health services

5.

Social services

pre-school childcare

family support services

services for people with disabilities

services for older people

youth services

services for Travellers and ethnic minorities

emergency relief services

homelessness services

6.

Local development, housing

local development

job creation

social housing

social enterprise

sheltered housing

7.

Environment

group water schemes

animal welfare

environmental enhancement

environmental sustainability

8.

Advocacy, law, politics

advocacy

civil and human rights

legal services

politics

9.

Philanthropy, voluntarism

fund-raising

philanthropy

voluntarism

10.

International

international development

international affiliation

11.

Religion

religious associations

places of worship

dioceses, parishes

12.

Professional, vocational

professional or sector representative bodies

trade unions, employer organisations

chambers of commerce

Last updated 31st March 2019

Third's sector governance

Third's sector governance

Why does Benefacts talk about nonprofit directors or charity trustees, I thought they were the same thing?

A. The people who govern a company are called directors and their responsibilities are set out in company law. About half of all charities are incorporated as companies and the directors of these companies have responsibilities both under the Companies Act and under the Charities Act.

The people who govern charities are called charity trustees and their responsibilities are set out in charity law. They may also be company directors is the charity is incorporated as a company. The responsibilities of people who serve on the boards of management of schools are set out in the Education Act, 1998.

Last updated 31st March 2019

Where does Benefacts get its information about nonprofit company directors and charity trustees?

A. All company directors must disclose the dates of their appointment/resignation together with other information to the Companies Registration Office and this is public information. Benefacts acquires updates daily and publishes them in the listing of the nonprofit company or companies respectively on which they serve. 

The names and dates of appointment of charity trustees including some school trustees are published on the public register of charities maintained by the Charities Regulatory Authority. Benefacts uses this data for analysis purposes but does not republish it. 

Whereas there are registers that provide public information about company directors and charity trustees, there are no publicly-available registers of the trustees or officers of schools, charter bodies, sports bodies, political parties, trades unions or friendly societies.

Last updated 31st March 2019

What is the CVC Governance Code?

A. The Code of Practice for Good Governance of Community, Voluntary and Charitable Organisations in Ireland (“CVC Code”) is a self-reported nonprofit governance standard developed 2009 - 2011 following wide consultation within the nonprofit sector and its stakeholders.  The CVC Code allows nonprofits to adopt standards appropriate to voluntary, partially or fully professionalised organisations and to disclose their adherence to these on a comply or explain basis. 

Every month, Benefacts harvests the list of nonprofits whose Boards have stated that that they are compliant with the Code, and by agreement with the Code monitoring group, re-publish this information on the Benefacts.ie listings of respective nonprofits.

Go to the CVC Code’s own website to see the list of ~1,485 organisations that are “on the journey to adoption”.

 

Last updated 31st March 2019

What is the Charity Regulator’s governance compliance standard?

A. The Charities Governance Code will be mandatory for all charities from 2020.

Last updated 31st March 2019

What is the Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) for Charities?​

A. The Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) for Charities applicable in the UK and Republic of Ireland is an interpretation of the underlying financial reporting standards and gives guidance on financial accounting and reporting for charitable entities. It was developed by the Charity Regulators in England & Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in cooperation with the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) for the UK and Ireland. Pending the adoption of regulations setting the standard for financial reporting by charities here, the Irish Regulator of Charities has observer status in the work of this group. During 2018/19 the Charities SORP has been under review.

The use of Charities SORP is voluntary for charities in Ireland. On their listing on Benefacts.ie, we list those charities which have stated in their audited financial statements that they have prepared their accounts using Charities SORP.

There are also SORPs for Higher Education and for Social Housing organisations, which are used on a voluntary basis by a small number of large Irish charities – these are not yet flagged on Benefacts.ie.

Last updated 31st March 2019

How does Benefacts know about the age and gender of nonprofit directors and charity trustees? How does Benefacts manage the personal data element?

A. Benefacts acquires public data about directors and trustees from the Companies Registration Office and the public register of charities. 

The birth dates of directors are received in machine-readable form. They are hashed and stored for verification and research purposes only. 

No data about charity trustees other than their name and date of appointment is provided on the public register of charities. 

Benefacts uses census data to estimate the gender of directors and trustees based on their forename. 

Last updated 31st March 2019

Third sector people

Third Sector People

Which are the nonprofit organisations where people are paid as though they were public servants?

A. 28 Higher education institutions receiving block grants from the Higher Education Authority, and 38 hospitals or social care providers are referred to as “Section 38” providers because Section 38 of the 2004 Health Act permits the Health Services Executive to enter into binding contractual agreements with bodies to provide services to the public on its behalf.  

Benefacts acquires detailed data on 25 S.38 bodies from the Companies Registration Office. In addition, data for seven "charter bodies" is acquired from the Library of the Houses of the Oireachtas - where it is filed because these organisations were established by statute. There is no regulatory or other public source of financial statements for five unicorporated charities which file accounts each year with the Charities Regulator, who does not publish them; and one is a subsidiary of a higher education institution.

Not all nonprofits – even the very largest – provide data about the remuneration of higher-paid employees even though this is a mandatory disclosure for companies.

Last updated 31st March 2019

Are teachers included in Benefacts analysis of Third Sector employment?

A. No, most teachers are directly remunerated by the State, and (except in the case of schools that are incorporated as companies) there are no publicly-available financial statements or employment data about teachers.

Last updated 31st March 2019

What does “highly paid” mean?

A. Benefacts uses the threshold of €70,000 to signify higher pay because this is how it is defined in Financial Reporting Standard (FRS) 102. Under this reporting standard, all companies (not just CLGs) are required to publish details of the number of people whose total remuneration is €70,000 or more, in bands of €10,000. This is a statutory disclosure requirement whether or not the accounts have been filed in abridged form. 

Reporting of higher pay is not required under financial reporting standards for micro-entities (FRS 105) .  This came into effect in June 2017 for any company which meets two of the following requirements, turnover < €700k, balance sheet < €350k, employees <10.

Last updated 31st March 2019

How can Benefacts compare the pay of people working in nonprofits with people working in the rest of the economy?

A. Benefacts collects all available data on employee numbers, payroll costs and remuneration from the financial statements of nonprofit companies. Data on remuneration trends in the economy at large is published by Revenue

Last updated 31st March 2019

Third sector funding

Third Sector Funding

Are these the same as the ‘quasi-public’ employees mentioned in the 2018 report?

A. They are a subset.

 

Last updated 31st March 2019

Where does Benefacts get its detailed financial data?

A. By law, nonprofits are required to file a set of financial statements with various regulators and registrars including respectively the Companies Registration Office (companies, friendly and industrial societies, cooperatives), the Charities Regulator (charities), the Houses of the Oireachtas (charter bodies) and the Standards in Public Office Commission (political parties). 

All save the Charities Regulator publish these accounts on their public websites.

Benefacts reviews and manually extracts financial, governance and narrative data from these documents and stores it in its database. The source documents are republished on benefacts.ie and a summary regulatory, governance and financial analysis is provided in the listing for each nonprofit. 

Last updated 31st March 2019

Is this all the State funding for nonprofits?

A. Benefacts analyses the reported financial receipts of nonprofit companies from all sources – public and private, earned and donated. However, some major entities (including 6 hospitals or social care organisations funded under S.38 of the Health Act) are not incorporated as companies or charter bodies, and their accounts are not available from any public regulatory source.

The trend for nonprofits (including charities) to file abridged accounts, means that there is no income data available for 3,812 nonprofits: based on prior years’ data, we estimate that means an understatement of State funding to nonprofits in the order of at least €.05bn. 

Last updated 31st March 2019

What’s a “Section 38” body?

A. Under Section 38 of the Health Act, 2004 the State has entered into contractual arrangements with 38 service providers for the provision of services in health and social care.  The employees of these voluntary organisations are remunerated on terms set by the State.  

Last updated 31st March 2019

What’s the problem with abridged financial statements?

A. Directors and auditors are required under both company law and the reporting standards applicable in the UK & Ireland to state that the financial statements provide a true and fair view of the assets, liabilities of the company and of its surplus or deficit for that year. 

In order to ensure that directors and auditors can be in a position to state that the position is a true and fair view, a full set of accounts is always prepared and presented to the board which in turn recommends their adoption to the members at the annual general meeting. 

Revisions to the Companies Act in 2014 introduced a new provision that allows smaller companies (with two of the following condition, turnover <€12m, balance sheet total < €6m, employees <50) to file their financial statements in abridged form following the adoption of full accounts by the company – that is, without an income and expenditure statement. 

If a unanimous decision is made at the AGM to file accounts in an abridged format to the Companies Registration Office (CRO), the accountant or auditor will simply choose that option in the software package to print an alternative format for filing. There is no difference in preparation or audit costs.

Since then, more and more nonprofits including charities have availed of the provision to file abridged accounts – read about this here.

Last updated 31st March 2019

What is FRS102?

A. The Financial Reporting Council sets financial reporting standards for the UK and Ireland. These are reporting frameworks that apply to companies of varying sizes and kinds, proportionate to the size of the entity. Financial Reporting Standard (FRS) 102 is the standard that applies to companies in the UK and Ireland and its use became mandatory on 1 January 2015.

FRS 102 specifies that besides providing the auditor’s report to the company, the financial statements of every company in scope – whether or not it is a CLG - must report on the following among other requirements

• give a true and fair view of the financial affairs of the company including the basis for the directors’ assumptions that it can continue to trade as a going concern

• provide a narrative report by the directors linking the company’s performance with its plans and with its financial outcome

• provide a balance sheet, income and expenditure account and notes to the accounts

• report on the directors’ policy on the maintenance of reserves

• report on transactions with related parties

• report on the average number of full-time employees employed on average over the course of the year, the total cost of payroll, and the numbers of employees paid in excess of €70,000, reported in bands of €10,000

Last updated 31st March 2019

What is FRS105?

A. When the Companies (Accounting) Act 2017 commenced on 9th June 2017, it introduced the concept of the Micro Companies Regime which is provided for in S.280 of the Companies Act 2014. This allows smaller companies (with two of the following conditions: turnover <€750K, balance sheet <€350K, employees <10)) to prepare financial statements under FRS105 instead of FRS102 by applying the requirements of the micro companies regime. FRS105 provides for minimum disclosures: no directors report, no requirement to disclose directors remuneration, no disclosure of salary costs or employee numbers. 

In 2017, 5% of nonprofit companies reported using this standard, including some that receive funding from the public or from the State. 

In the UK charities are not permitted to report using FRS105 but there is no such regulation in Ireland.

Last updated 31st March 2019

What is a “dedicated fund-raising charity”?

A. A small number of charities are established solely to raise funds for specified other charities – for example, hospital or university fund-raising foundations.

Last updated 31st March 2019

What is meant by “institutional philanthropy”?

A. Following international precedents, and consultation with sector interests Benefacts has classified philanthropies active in Ireland as follows:

• Community foundations - nonprofits that make grants for charitable purposes in a specific country, community or region. Funds are usually derived from multiple donors and held in independently administered endowment or current funds. Income earned from this endowment, as well as targeted gifts, or “donor-advised funds” is then used to make grants.

• Corporate or company-sponsored foundations - independent foundations associated with, and whose funds are derived primarily from a for-profit corporation.

• Endowed funds and memorial trusts – which take a variety of forms. Many have been established using a legacy from a person who has died, or in the name of a dead person. Some have been established to provide funds for scholarship or education, or to relieve poverty among a particular cohort or community.

• Family foundations - independent foundations whose funds are derived from members of a single family. Family members often serve as officers or board members of the foundation and usually have a significant role in grant-making decisions.

• Independent foundations – nonprofits with funds and programmes managed by their own trustees or directors, that generally set out to promote public goods by making grants. Some are exclusively voluntary in their operations and a small number operate in Ireland with professional staff. Their funds are derived from various sources: legacies, donor-directed funds, and fund-raising.

• Operating foundations - their primary purpose is to conduct research, support innovation or promote other social goods as determined by their governing body or establishment charter. Operating foundations may make some grants, but they also engage in direct programme activities as well.

 Payroll/employee giving schemes - distinguished from corporate giving because they are under the direct control of employees, who take a role in governance and decision-making.

• Philanthropy intermediaries - professionally-run firms or programmes — secular or religious — established to manage the assets of philanthropists or philanthropies or to provide advice or professional supports for philanthropic giving.

Last updated 31st March 2019

Where does Benefacts get the data on international sources of philanthropic giving?

A. In various countries around the world, foundations and corporations that claim tax relief for philanthropic gifts are required to file returns whose contents are public information. Benefacts acquires data on international sources of donations to Irish nonprofits from the Foundation Center, a programme of Candid.org.