Governance

Benefacts 2019

Nonprofit company directors and charity trustees are responsible for governance standards, including compliance with mandatory regulation and voluntary codes, and disclosure standards. They are accountable to stakeholders rather than to owners or investors. For ten years, nonprofits have been developing and promoting compliance with a voluntary Governance Code. In November 2018, the Charities Regulator issued a new compliance standard for charity governance, which will come into force in 2020.  

You are welcome to use any of the material published in this report, so long as you acknowledge Benefacts as the source.

81,500 people currently serve in the governance of Irish nonprofits. More than 49,000 serve as the directors of 9,500 nonprofit companies

59,375 people serve on charity boards. About half of these are also directors - where the charity is incorporated - the rest are trustees of unincorporated charities. 

These numbers do not include the many thousands of people serving on the management committees of local unincorporated clubs and societies.

You are welcome to use any of the material published in this report, so long as you acknowledge Benefacts as the source.

ACCORDING TO THE LATEST DATA

593

nonprofits comply with the Governance Code (up 19% on 2018)

562

charities comply in 2017 with the Statement of Recommended Practice for Charities – a voluntary higher financial reporting standard (up 5% on 2016)

3,812

nonprofit companies (1,654 incorporated charities) have elected to publish abridged financial statements in 2017 – up 8% (5% in the case of charities) on 2016

Third Sector governance profile

More than 49,000 people serve as the directors of 9,500 nonprofit companies. They have the same responsibilities in law as directors of a for-profit business. 59,375 people serve on charity boards. About half of these are directors of incorporated charities.

Third Sector board size

Typically,  a nonprofit board has 6 members - the norm in charities is 7 and in non-charities 4. The largest boards are in education and research and the smallest in philanthropy and voluntarism. Limited governance data is available for sports and religious organisations and for most schools.

Third Sector governance service profile

On average, nonprofit directors/trustees serve for 4 consecutive years. The longest average term of service is in local development (average 7 years) and the shortest is in education, research (average 3 years).

Third Sector long service governance profile

24% of currently-serving directors/trustees have served for more than 9 years. The sectors with the greatest number of long-serving directors/charity trustees are Local Development & Housing, Recreation & Sports each 37%; the sector with the lowest is Education, Research at 10%.

Third Sector board gender balance

Across the sector at large, the gender balance is 42:58 females to males. In charities alone, the balance is 46:54 females to males.

Third Sector governance age profile

The average age of all nonprofit directors/charity trustees is 57.

Third Sector board service profile

Within the group of incorporated nonprofits, 117 people serve on 5 or more nonprofit boards, 201 people on 4, 707 on 3, 3,827 on 2. There is insufficient data on charity trustees to provide this analysis for unincorporated charities.