TWO-THIRDS OF CHARITIES HAVE TAKEN STEPS TO INCREASE TRANSPARENCY & STRENGTHEN GOVERNANCE, CONFERENCE HEARS

“Survey reveals charity services under threat as donations fall and need soars”
 
15 May 2014 - Two-thirds of Irish charities have taken steps in the past six months to increase transparency and strengthen their governance, a conference at Croke Park heard today. The Wheel’s National Conference for the Charity Sector also heard that a survey of 297 charities conducted in April shows that the recent negative publicity surrounding the CRC and Rehab is having a detrimental impact on other charities already struggling with falling incomes and a growing demand for their services.
 
The survey conducted by The Wheel, a national network of 950 charities, found that 61% the charities surveyed claim that their fundraising has been affected by the negative publicity. Of these, nearly half (47%) say that since November 2013 their fundraising has fallen by up to 10%.
 
Steps taken by the surveyed charities to increase transparency and strengthen their governance, include: publishing their annual accounts online, publishing information about the remuneration of senior staff and adopting the Code of Practice for Good Governance of Community, Voluntary and Charitable Organisations.
 
These findings come against a wider backdrop of falling incomes and growing demand for services in the charity sector. According to the survey:
•   59% of the charities surveyed say their overall income has fallen over the past year,
•    while more than two-thirds (67%) say demand for their services has increased over the same period,
•   and over a third (36%) of charities have cut back or suspended services in the past year.
 
Commenting on these findings, Deirdre Garvey, Chief Executive of The Wheel said: “In Ireland, charities have always been held in very high regard; they are among our most trusted institutions, and the Irish public rank among generous donors in the world. It is therefore reasonable to expect that charities meet the highest standards. The vast majority of charities are committed to good governance and transparency, and the introduction of the Charities Regulatory Authority will provide added assurance for both the public and the charity sector. We look forward to working with the recently appointed board of the Charities Regulatory Authority as it commences work on the register of charities and agrees the format of annual reporting by charities,” said Ms Garvey.
 
Over 200 charities from across Ireland attended the conference, hosted by The Wheel and sponsored by Ulster Bank. Doug Munro, Head of Funding, Products and Propositions at Ulster Bank said: “We are delighted to be the principle sponsor of this event. Through our partnership with The Wheel we are demonstrating our commitment to valuing and supporting Charities to grow. At Ulster Bank, we are happy to step forward and to add value to help meet these challenges. We believe that events like these empower community and voluntary organisations to make the greatest possible impact in the communities and in the lives of the people they serve”
 
ENDS
 
Deirdre Garvey, Chief Executive of The Wheel is now available for interview. Contact Gert Ackermann on Tel: 086 176 9287, or email gert@wheel.ie.
 
Notes for Editor
 
About the survey:
 
•               The Wheel conducted the survey between 14 April and 7 May 2014.
•               297 charities completed in the online survey (response rate = 31%).
 
About The Wheel:
 
The Wheel is a national organisation that represents and supports community, voluntary and charitable organisations in Ireland. Founded in 1999, we currently have over 950 members across Ireland, reflecting the enormous scope and scale of this vibrant and diverse sector. The Wheel exists to help change people’s lives for the better. We do this by helping non-profit organisations get things done, more efficiently and more effectively. The Wheel is registered charity (no. 13288) and a company limited by guarantee. See www.wheel.ie.
 
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