Number of concerns expressed to Charities Regulator fell in 2020

Many charities missed out on revenue generating opportunities due to Covid - report

Over 400 concerns about charities or people purporting to represent one were expressed to to the Charities Regulator last year according to its annual report for 2020.

Three statutory investigations into registered charities were also commenced.

These involved Cabhrú Housing Association Services, ChildFund Ireland and Bóthar.

Over the course of last year, a total of 466 concerns were received by the regulator. This was a decrease of 28per cent when compared to 2019. The regulator believes this decrease is due to the Covid-19 pandemic.


Of those received, 177 concerns related to the legitimacy of a charity, mainly concerning bogus clothing collections.

“Concerns relating to clothing collections continue to make up a significant portion of the concerns that we receive,” said Helen Martin, Chief Executive of the Charities Regulator.

She urged members of the public to check the Register of Charities before donating clothes.

Governance issues, financial control and transparency were also common areas of concern raised.

A total of 510 concerns were closed by the end of last year, some of which related to 2019.

Some 1,063 charities had annual income of over €1 million, according to financial statements from 2019 which were submitted to the regulator.

A total of 2,623 charities reported an income of over €250,000 during the same year.

Just over half earned more than €100,000, 30 per cent had an income between €10,000 - €100,000, and 15 per cent had an income of less than €10,000.

An additional 912 organisations were added to the Register of Charities in 2020, bringing the total number in Ireland to 11,426.

However, 134 charities were deregistered, having lost their charitable tax status.

Over half of all charities were committed to benefiting the community in some way. A third of the total related to education. 7.5 percent aimed to relieve poverty or economic hardship, and 6.6 percent aimed to promote a religion.

Charities were also badly hit by the pandemic, with the regulator’s report noting that many charities lost income and fundraising opportunities.

During 2020, the regulator extended the statutory deadline for submitting annual reports twice.

By the final deadline of December 16th, 2020, 22 per cent of charities had still not submitted their annual reports.

However, the number of charities filing annual reports on time has increased year on year. In 2016, just 42 percent filed before year end.

Last year was also the first year that charities were expected to implement the Charities Governance Code, which sets out minimum standards to ensure charities are effectively managed and controlled.

Over 1,000 charity trustees attended a Charities Regulator training session on the Code.