The Gift of Giving - 2023 Special Report
This year's Irish Times special report took a look across our sector to examine: the pressures on funding and fundraising currently facing charity and voluntary organisations; the beneficial impacts of buying seasonal gifts from charities; the evolution of digital giving; fundraising from the workplace; transparency in the sector; and the value of volunteering, and more.
It's been something of a tough year for the charity and voluntary sector in Ireland. In this year's Gift of Giving Report, The Irish Times spoke to several representatives from the Irish CV sector on a range of topics. Our own CEO, Ivan Cooper, spoke about the provision of public services and the difficulties faced by organisations who provide essential care and activities across the social spectrum:
"An independent review group, appointed by the Government to examine the role of voluntary organisations in publicly funded health and personal social services, found that these organisations deliver approximately one-quarter of publicly funded acute hospital care and about two-thirds of disability services, Cooper says. These organisations collectively account for more than one-quarter of the total health budget each year.
Despite their indispensable role, however, community and voluntary service providers are grappling with issues like rising operating costs and a staffing crisis that is blocking access to and affecting the quality of vital services. According to the Charities Regulator, 41 per cent of charities had to use some of their reserves in the last few years, and 3 per cent used all of their reserves.”
Amy Carr, director of fundraising and marketing at Focus Ireland, one of Ireland's charities provides services for people who are homeless, reported that, "Last year, approximately 16,000 engaged with our services, an increase of 30 per cent compared to 2021 (12,300 people). After several years during which the total number of people needing our support remained around 12,000, the increase to 16,000 people in 2022 is striking." The latest figures from Focus Ireland, as of September 2023, showed a total of 12,827 people homeless, of which 3,904 are children. Carr emphasised that, "This is an increase of 136 compared to the previous month and an annual increase of 17 per cent compared to September 2022."
In a second piece on gifting via charitable organisations and the importance of holiday fundraising for Irish charities, Ivan reminded readers that "This is a very important time of the year for charities, a time when many of them will raise the bullk of their funds."
We are also reminded that there are lots of ways you can help, including:
- buying from a local charity shop;
- buying from an ecommerce that helps connect consumers with purposeful gifts, like Thriftify.ie, which showcases goods from charities around the country, BuySocial.ie, which enables you to support social enterprises, and WeMakeGood.ie, which has a terrific range of homewares and gift items handmade by skilled makers facing social challenges, and;
- buying a gift directly from a charity, in the form of life-enhancing support.
There are lots more fascinating comments and observations throughout this year's special report. If you'd like to view it in it's entirety, you can access a PDF copy at the below link!