Some key findings

Nonprofits generate more than €10.9b in turnover annually, including government funding of €5.3b which amounts to 8% of all current expenditure by the Exchequer.

More and more of this public funding is by way of service contracts rather than grants, and a sizeable proportion of it is paid to a few hundred organisations whose employees are remunerated as though they were public servants, even though they are employed by independently-governed voluntary organisations.

Only a tiny proportion of the people professionally employed in nonprofit organisations are paid more than €70,000 per annum and two-thirds of these work for quasi-public bodies where their remuneration is governed by public sector norms.

Reported income from fundraising and donations increased on average year-on-year by 15% between 2013 and 2015, although the picture varies dramatically by subsector. Philanthropies contribute at least €83m in donations to the sector annually.

Notwithstanding the public demand for transparency, more than a quarter of the nonprofits chose in 2015 to publish abridged financial statements. This is a disclosure standard that provides no information about their current income and expenditure.

Introduction

Nonprofits constitute about 10% of all organisations active in Ireland today. Despite their reach into every part of Irish life, very little is understood about the sector at large. This is because of the sheer diversity of the organisations involved, and the voluntary nature of much of their work. Indeed, the word "sector" is a kind of misnomer, because many nonprofits operate in sectors where there are also commercial providers - for example the arts, healthcare, education.

Benefacts has set out to make all Irish nonprofits more accessible and more transparent. We have built the Database of Irish Nonprofits. to put reliable, comprehensive trend data at the service of nonprofits and their stakeholders and we plan to make this an annual report, with regular updates and more extensive data on our website benefacts.ie.

This report

We have prepared this analysis based on all of the information available from regulatory sources about Ireland’s 19,505 registered nonprofit organisations – about 40% of them are registered charities. For more details on how we compiled this report, read our scope and approach.