Over half of charities have income of less than €250k

More than half of registered charities in Ireland have an income of less than €250,000 despite the sector reporting a total income of more than €14bn.

That’s according to a new report commissioned by the Charities Regulator on the social and economic impact of charities in Ireland.

Just 2.8% of charities reported income of more than €10m, but they account for 79.3% of the €14.5bn reported income of registered charities.

Hospitals and other health organisations (€3.1bn) and higher education and research organisations (just under €3bn) report the highest income.

By contrast, more than half of registered charities had an income of less than €250,000 and the majority of this group had an income of less than €50,000.

The report, carried out by Indecon, estimates that there are 188,714 people employed in charitable organisations.

The majority of these (79%) are employed by charities with reported income of more than €10m. More than 55,000 people 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 report estimates that the total household charitable donations in 2018 will be €350m while the average weekly household donation in 2015 was €3.75.

The Government and public bodies are the largest sources of income for registered charities, accounting for more than half the total funding (€7.7bn).

The report shows there are more than 300,000 people volunteering for registered charities, donating some 67.9 million hours of their time, equating to 226 hours annually per volunteer. Based on the minimum wage, this is worth €649m per year.

However, it also notes from a public policy perspective that volunteerism in charities is lower than in other not-for-profit areas and that the 15 to 34 age group has the lowest participation rate.

Charities Regulator chief executive, John Farrelly, said the report highlights the wide diversity of organisations which are registered as charities in Ireland.