Nine out of 10 Irish Adults Donated to Charity Last Year

Posted on 9 May 2023

Nine out of ten adults in Ireland donated to a charity over the last year, according to new research from the Charities Regulator. 

The research also found that eight out of ten adults (80%) believed that having trust and confidence in a charity was very important when deciding to donate – which is up from 65% since 2020, when a similar study was undertaken. 

The survey, which was conducted for the Charities Regulator by Amárach Research, showed strong public support for greater enforcement, tighter controls on charities by the Regulator, and more checks on charities’ activities. 

While 89% of adults donated to a charity during the past year, the nature of those donations has changed quite significantly over the past two years, the survey found. The number of people who made financial contributions to charities declined from 74% to 59%, while the numbers donating goods increased from 43% to 57%. Dublin was the most generous location for those who donated money, followed by Connacht/Ulster, the rest of Leinster and Munster. 

“The results of this survey underscore the huge generosity of the Irish public when it comes to charitable giving,” said Helen Martin, Chief Executive of the Charities Regulator. 

There are currently over 11,500 registered charities in the State, ranging from very small, local volunteer-only charities to large, national or international organisations that employ thousands of people. 

The types of charities that were most strongly supported during the past 12 months include medical or health related (44%), homeless or refuge services (43%), local community organisations (41%), children or youth services (29%) and animal rescue or welfare (29%).More than 8 out of 10 people (84%) feel that charities and the work they do in Irish society is important, while three-quarters of respondents believe that the impact of charities is significant. The importance of charities and their impact was felt most strongly among women aged 55 and over, the study showed. 

A personal interest or a connection to a charity/issue remains the single largest influence (58%) for deciding which charity to support, while news and media reports about a charity (13%) is the second largest influencer. 

The survey found that a potential donor checking the bona fides of a charity before deciding to donate, would look at the charity’s website (38%), online media reports relating to the charity (33%) and check whether the organisation is on the Register of Charities on the Charities Regulator website (33%). The percentage of donors who do not check out a charity has declined from 23% to 17% over the past two years. 

The survey was conducted online among a sample of 2,000 adults. A combination of quotas and weighting ensured that the sample used was representative of the national population in terms of gender, age, social class, and region.

The questionnaire for the survey was based on a similar study conducted by Amárach in 2020, with some changes to reflect post-pandemic circumstances and to explore emerging topics of interest to the Charities Regulator.

Full report available on the Charities Regulator website.

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