New Charity Classification Standard Launched

Posted on 7 Dec 2022 Last updated on 18 Dec 2022

Following extensive consultation, the new charity classification standard was launched in November, in time for Charity Trustees’ Week. Being able to group charities with similar activities will help guide funders and policy makers in assessing the charity sector and facilitate collaboration and knowledge-sharing among registered charities in Ireland. 

It will also provide clarity for research and comparison purposes. The Charities Regulator is asking all charities to discuss and select their classification so that a comprehensive classification of Ireland’s charity sector will be available during early 2023. The process of selecting a charity’s classification couldn’t be simpler so all registered charities are encouraged to check it out.

The classification has been kept simple with 10 primary groups that are broad enough to enable every charity to select a ‘best fit’. Charities are asked to decide their classification based on what best fits their organisation according to their purpose and activities. 

Primary groups:

  1. Social and community services
  2. Health and care services
  3. Community development and housing
  4. Environment and animals
  5. Community relations, reconciliation, advocacy and civic responsibility
  6. Funding, philanthropy, benevolence and volunteering
  7. Education and research
  8. Religion
  9. Arts and culture
  10. International activities.

A charity can choose up to two primary groups. Each primary groups has secondary groups and charities can select up to two of these. While charities are limited in the number of categories they can choose, this does not limit the types of activities which a charity can undertake to further its charitable purpose(s). The activities section of the annual report filed by charities will continue to provide an opportunity for charities to elaborate on the diversity of their operations.

A dedicated section on the CR website provides full details, along with the classification form and guidance for charity trustees on how to complete it including examples of ‘best fit’ selections. Additionally you can view a recording of a recent CR webinar on the classification standard that took place during Charity Trustees Week, which takes you through the short online form demonstrating how straight-forward it is to fill out.

Full details

Classification is not an exact science and there is no perfect standard so some charities will not neatly fit into the classification.  There will be compromises to be made by these charities when determining the most appropriate categories. However, a comprehensive classification of Ireland’s charities offers important benefits to the sector, as well as all those interested in it such as funding bodies and philanthropic organisations.