Hi.  Hope you can help.  I want to start raising funds for a local hospital and in particular directly for its Neonatal Unit. The unit does not have a charity number and usually accepts donations by cheque or cash.  This is used for training/equipment not funded by the HSE.   For this reason it is difficult to raise funds via a website like who require charity numbers.  Is there a way that I can set up some sort of foundation where individuals donate to my 'foundation' and I can then distribute the funds to the Neonatal Unit or other similar needy causes?  I am trying to avoid setting up my own charity as I'm not sure I have the time to administer this!  In summary I want to be able to enable people to donate online or via a bank account and then for me to hand the funds over to the deserving party!  All guidance appreciated! Thanks.  Brad.


deirdreg's picture

Brad, this is a tricky one,

Brad, this is a tricky one, but one of the most common issues that arise when people first start to get involved with a particular cause of charity. And - for now anyhow - it's all to do with trust as opposed to legalities.

The 'funding' area of will give you a whole plethora of information about how to get started in fundraising and the "dos" and "don'ts" of it (in the 'fundraising guidance' section), but it seems to me that your question is specifically related to enabling people to donate on line to a cause that doesn't have a charity number (be it the neonatal unit in the hospital, or some potential 'foundation' that you might set up). In that regard, I'd offer the following thoughts:

  1. It's just much easier if you could get an organisation with a charity number involved. So is there perhaps an organisation either locally or thematiclly suitably placed who would work with you on this? This could then be advertised on '' as a particular fund within the general work of that charity. A separate bank account could be set up for all donations under that "project name" and complete transparancy could be had for you, all donors as well as the partner charity and the neo natal unit. If you want to find out who you might partner with, you could check out the names of charities with the Revenue Comissioners (there are 7,500 nationally) and/or you could search for local groups on the 'Directory' section of
  2. Alternatively, you are then into the business of trying to set up a bank account for an organisation that doesn't actually exist or else asking people to donate to a pre-existing account in your name (for example). People do this all the time, but I know that banks can be quite sticky about setting up an account in the name of a cause or quasi organisation... but you could check this out yourself. If you progress in this way, I would strongly urge you to be as totally transparant as possible in terms of obeying the best possible practice in fundraising. There are esdtablished "principles of good practice" for charities to follow when they fundraise and I would urge you to adopt them for yourself, even if you are a "sole operator". These can be found at You could then decide how to implement this "best practice" advice in your own website e.g. listing all income received as well as all expenditure; listing PRECISELY who the beneficiary is and how and when they'll get the money; demonstrating that there is some level of independent scrutiny of all of the financial transactions (which will help to build trust with the pubic) etc.
  3. I also think that doing what you are doing is a good idea, i.e. reaching "out there" to find out how others have done it. This question is a good start and perhaps using the "Directory" you might find other groups in your area from whom you can get some tips.

I hope that this helps get you further. Bes of luck with it!


Deirdre Garvey (The Wheel)